Thursday, November 19, 2020

Where is Flat Mary?

Since I've been asked that question a few times this week, I thought I better update you. Okay, they didn't ask where "flat Mary" was, but that's the best word I can come up with to describe my current state of mind.  I'm not unhappy or sad, but I am flat -- unmotivated by the things that usually motivate me.  I have to say thanks to those who have come looking for me this week!

I really admire the folks who've managed to stay completely absorbed by their avocations during these unique times.  I have hardly been near my sewing machine for over five weeks but I have been happily busy most days.  It's that time of year in this area where the garden needs to be prepped for winter and so that's been accomplished with the exception of a couple little tasks that need to happen today just in case this is the last mild day.

I've been knitting everyday -- working a few Christmas gifts that I won't share but I did finish this sock test knit for Sandra C Designs -- it's her newest pattern and you can find it on her website or Ravelry.  That trim above and below the stars is a Latvian braid and much easier to create than I imagined!

I am focusing on using yarn that is "in stock" in my stash (which thankfully isn't as overwhelming as my fabric stash) and it feels good!  The socks are made with a self-stripping yarn and happy coincidence, the longer dark gray sections were just enough to get all the way through the star sections.  I also made three sets of thumb-less mitts on strings for guess who??
We had a bit of cold, slightly snowy weather so they tried them out already.
I have finished two quilts recently -- my black and white rainbow version of Mississippi Mud is ready to bind.  I kept the quilting very simple!  If you missed my posts about this new color version, you can check it out HERE.
My proudest finish is the temperature quilt I pieced in 2017 that documents the beginning of the eighth decade of my life.  I hand quilted it using pearl cotton in several colors (so I didn't have to go shopping!?!) with "big stitch".  
The backing is a fabric I loved so much that I had to have a big hunk but could not cut it up for piecing.
It's a large lap robe size and it doesn't go with anything in my house but I'm keeping it just the same!
I did a ZOOM lecture for a guild in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago and it went really well.  I was a bit reluctant at first since it's been two years since I stepped away from teaching. Maybe if I get energized this winter, I'll organize Power Points and update a couple of my lectures and get back out on the circuit?!?

The activity that has almost totally absorbed me for the past six weeks is my husband's family history!
I sit here at my desk several hours every day (until my brain can't unravel on more thing) and scour genealogy websites looking for clues and information about this group of people.
As a teenager, I wanted to be a history teacher and I seem to be returning to my interest through this work.  Doug's grandfather was estranged from his mother as a teen and carried that hurt forward in his life by not sharing any of his early life or family history with his children or grandchildren.

That void has become the focus of my research and the discoveries have amazed me -- so far on his mother's side, I've taken almost every line back to a Puritan emigrant from England in the mid 1600's!  Yesterday this map that another person shared on an Ancestry profile caught my eye and several ancestors' names popped out at me plus a couple clues that might help me find another person.
I'm so hooked!!!
The hard part of this history is learning about their involvement in the subjugation of the native inhabitants of the area.  I'm determined to include that part of the family history in a more realistic way than in the past. 
My desk binoculars are close at hand, too so I can keep track of what's happening at the feeders and around the back yard.
I was delighted to have this big fella show up last week -- pileated woodpecker --
but not quite as happy to have this big fella roaming around out back.
I can't decide if he's a 8 point or 10 point but whichever, he's big.  There was a second buck and the two of them were stalking a doe and they made several laps through the yard during the course of the day.

I continue to largely ignore the news as it is so disconcerting to me. To compensate, I'm watching for positive posts (mostly on Instagram) that motivate personal reflection. A couple weeks ago, @katgoldin of Gartur Stitch Farm in rural Scotland shared a post in which she focused on the accomplishments of the past six months in the face of the disruption her family and business have endured.  
That reminded me to watch where my focus is directed!!

Early in October, knitting designer Marie Greene's ( said it so well in a newsletter -- "Being creative gives us unlimited ways to cope with stress and uncertainty. There's something about funneling that restless, worried energy into something useful that makes us feel like we really do have a handle on things (even if we don't)."   Here's a link to a recent podcast of hers -- love her cheery voice as much as her positive ideas!  

I've realized that once I "get started", I'm good.  Setting a small goal yesterday for today is helping because "thinking" first thing in the morning isn't my strong suite.   I pulled out another charity quilt this morning to get back into a daily machine quilting routine.

And yesterday,  I've tidied up the design wall and plan to spend the next dreary day up in the studio pushing forward with this neglected piece.

Given the good vibes that have been produced by folks checking up on me, I'm motived to do the same and pay it forward over the next couple days, checking in with a few friends.

Have a pleasant weekend and I won't stay quiet for so long again.


P.S. Someone contacted my "flat blob, Willie" so here he is enjoying the sun puddles this morning!


  1. This is me - flat Angie - I don't know what is wrong, but my umph is gone. Hardly get anything done. I also read very little of the sensational stuff being shared. Ugh. I sent you a link to a Good News newsletter - it perks me up. Your Grand Trio is so big now! Blessings,

  2. Good to hear from you Mary. I'm sure you have been productive and see your IG posts occasionally. I've lost my umph also, and have only attempted simple sewing. Between the virus and the never ending election and missing my granddaughter - just a sad time. But I remind my mom, and my husband's parents, that their own parents survived the 1918 pandemic and they can too. Here's for a better tomorrow!