Thursday, June 10, 2010

Long week

Last weekend I was tired and sat and stitched quite a bit. I finished this little pincushion, based on a Japanese Yubenuki (thimble) design. The wonderful kit came from Chloe Patricia.I've been thinking about making beads using this technique so I tried a spur-of-the-moment (I-really-should-be-doing-other-things) bead. I used paper, fabric and sewing thread that were handy for the base and a hand-dyed thread from Art Fabrik.

It doesn't show a pattern. Partly because I only used one thread so there was no contrast. And partly because the triangles patterns traditional in yubenuki are based on the angle of the thread and there was little angle to this thread because of the bead shape. I figured that would happen (which is why I used a gorgeous thread), but I also suspected I'd learn a lot from doing it. I think I did. I'm not sure how to do a bead with a triangle pattern, but I have some ideas.

Mostly this week's been a bummer, on top of being very busy at work. I've now added acid reflux to my fun bag of issues I'm dealing with. Mostly, though, I feel bombarded by sad news. On Monday I learned a friend's mother had died. On Tuesday that a good friend died. On Wednesday that another friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. And because my friends and their families are sad, I'm feeling sad, too.

The string was broken today. Today I learned a friend was honored as the Swedish American Woman of the Year. I'm not sure if it's just for the Chicago area or for all of the U.S. (she'd deserve it, if it is). And, of course, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. We did not watch the game. We did hear the fireworks and tune in to the immediate post-game hoopla and replays and soaked in all of the good and happy feelings.

For many years I've likened my friend Mary Frances to the energizer bunny. Or one of those bop-ems from my childhood--a weighted shape that you could "bop" and they'd pop back up. I thought she'd come back once again from her most recent medical challenge, but I learned on Tuesday that she didn't.

She was one of the most individual people I knew. Mary Frances moved at her own speed (slow and steady) and she just kept going and going and going. At times I marveled at how she could be so slow--she'd often take twice as long as everyone else to get settled and set up for a needlework workshop. She'd contemplate and think and read the instructions and ask questions and then once she really grasped it, she'd begin to stitch. Meticulously. She never seemed to try to hurry to fit in. She taught me that you do your best when you pay attention and do what you need to do--no matter what everyone else is doing. (And she taught me patience when we were partnered.)

Mary Frances paid attention and was generous. She was interested in everything and would share her interests. She would bring books, embroideries, or threads to show me that she thought I would like, based on what she'd seen me doing or heard me discussing. She taught me to try and be more generous and really listen to others.

She didn't finish many projects, especially in later years, but when she did it was cause for joy. She got so much pleasure out of doing needlework. She taught me to persevere.

A rather quiet person, Mary Frances was the backbone of several of the embroidery groups I've belonged to. Always there, always helpful and knowledgeable and generous. I wish I'd learned her lessons better and that I'd slowed down more and listened more to her wisdom.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It sounds like she was a wonderfuls lady.

On a happier note, I love the pin cushion. The colors are great.