Hello there! Get cozy…
Stitchers – whether you’re sitting in your comfy chair with your coffee, taking a break from your daily tasks,
or looking for ENGAGING content teaching at a school or homeschooling—
We’ve got your stitched stories covered!
Get ready for an in-depth look at the role of winter in our daily lives!
But before we dive deeper, let’s get inspired!
Ready for inspo? Your motivation mantra?..
This is a quote from Brooklyn-based beauty entrepreneur, Jodie Patterson. When asked:
What did you want to be when you were a child?
“When I was in grade school, I wanted to be a teacher.
My mom founded and ran a private school in Harlem and I shadowed her all the time –
from my perspective, it was the most noble of professions.
When I was in high school, I imagined myself being a businesswoman working in a skyscraper in a corner office,
wearing a chic Donna Karan suit in high heels.
I had this idea I’d have a powerful job.
Then after college, all I wanted to do was be submerged in literature…
I thought I’d be a writer.“
Patterson went on to work for the likes of Zac Posen,
but eventually opened up her own series of successful beauty businesses.
All of those passions fuelled Patterson. We all have them!
Like Patterson, I envisioned myself in chic suits and high heels, working as a fashion designer!
I loved to sew, loved clothes, and felt that apparel would be my go-to profession.
But after earning my degree in Fashion,
I had no taste for it…nor did I want to move to NYC.
Nah, I loved sewing my clothes. Not designing them.
I enjoyed putting together a look – a stylist-
but didn’t know I could pursue that as a career.
So began my more academic pursuits.
Still, I obviously LOVE sewing and needlework.
It’s simply taken a different form in my life!
And any form of stitching is THE activity during the cold months of winter…
So, this podcast-blog post is all about how to embrace the winter season,
and those challenging times in our lives that may be called “winter.”
This quote from this really cool book –
In the company of women: inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs, by Grace Bonney. Get it >>>here
Here’s my Loving Winter story, — What’s yours?
I listened to an interview conducted by Krista Tippit on her podcast On Being. She spoke with British writer Katherine May.
May, author of Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times, spoke of her many “winter” experiences.
Using wintering as a metaphor for the challenges and periodic depressions we all confront throughout life,
May dives into the meanings of winter as a season but goes far beyond the literal.
May takes us on a journey of near-fatal illnesses, homeschooling, the 24/7 life of a university lecturer –
and her own debilitating depressions. She also finds humor and power in the Arctic in polar swims.
In winter, May argues that we naturally slow down, reach for books, blankets, and hot chocolate.
In the 21st-century, many of us feel pressured to sustain our summer pace,
pretending that our long sunny days are filled with “busy.”
I related so much to her stories and perspective – down to earth, salty, real.
May describes the shame she feels upon taking leave from her full-time university job after suffering from a mysterious stomach illness.
Afraid of being “discovered” by colleagues (and accusations that she is faking her condition),
she takes a painful walk along the beach near her home in Whitstable, South England.
May’s paranoia mirrors US culture:
it’s a disgrace to be sick, but even more shameful to be enjoying oneself.
I recognized the feeling of always being “on-call” as a customer service representative
- holding to part-time teaching jobs.
- I feel the constant need to check email and return voicemails,
- like living with a permanent nervous tick.
Work never seems finished.
But during her sick leave, May discovers a love of wintering: rising at 5 AM to read and write.
Later in the day, burrowing in a favorite comfy chair, reading for pleasure.
Despite giving up her rented writing studio due to her healthy but cash-strapped status,
May appreciates the beehives nearby, her beach walks, time with her son.
Obsessive cooking, baking, and grocery shopping replace the moldy prepackaged meals, sleepless nights, and short temper,
all precursors of exhaustion.
May researched how people lived before electricity,
how lack of light forced people to plan then adapt to winter – just as animals do.
Slowing down, intimacy, hibernation, May argues, are essential to a healthy life.
Hunkering down is part of our life cycle.
Chilling out is not a luxury. It’s a life-saving, life-enriching action activity.
Wintering as a requirement – not elective.
During the pandemic, I’ve observed how my behavior has evolved from its inception:
Manic activity to paralyzing depression to sadness to anger – a fight or flight battle to the death.
I felt like a caged animal with the lakefront beaches closed during summer.
I wanted to hop on a flight to Boston, join my sister and bake on Horseneck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts.
I wanted to fly to Provincetown and swim in the chilly waters of Race Point.
I wanted to be with my mom, my younger brother.
I wanted to get the hell out of Chicago.
Now, think about YOUR version of “wintering” story
(even if you live in Southern California)…
What’s my wintering discovery?
Slowly I surrendered.
My frenetic pace continued through January.
In addition to facing students’ challenges and used to learning and teaching online,
I began a podcast. I also started sketching the outlines of an online school.
Feeling anxious, primarily upon waking,
I tried unsuccessfully to ignore my sadness of being “home alone” over the holidays.
Binge-watching The Office got old fast. I couldn’t escape those debilitating feelings.
Then in late January, Tippett’s podcast episode email arrived, featuring May.
I felt deeply connected to her ideas, her voice.
I took a long walk to Unabridged Bookstore in Lakeview and bought Wintering –
along with a few other books that I had since lost in my moves.
Once I finished Wintering, May gave me the courage to stop…
To stop questioning:
- why I preferred walking to running during the winter,
- why I wanted to sleep in without the guilty panic of “I’m not gonna get enough work done” today pounding through my body.
- retire early with a book under my arm or spend a couple of hours in meditation…
Suddenly, it was OK!
I’d given up knitting shortly after moving to Chicago, to situate myself in my new city, my new life, and my new skin.
After finishing my Ph.D., I felt uncertain as to what I would become in Chicago.
I stepped on my own insecure treadmill until I had landed consistent part-time work that I enjoyed.
Shortly after that, I began clearing my path in my art, teaching and being.
May reminded me of the pleasures of snow:
- the blizzard of 78 in New England,
- walks in a foot of snow under blue enamel skies,
- coziness induced by overcast clouds.
I loved winter. Born in January, a nearly lifelong New Englander, I used to enjoy the silence and solitude.
I lost those passions along my bumpy road of life, but May restored them. I am forever thankful.
And in honor of hibernating, instead of merely doing a simple knit stitch scarf,
I began a scarf with a rib-knit pattern.
Advanced knitters will laugh, but the knit 2 to purl 2 pattern represents a partial reclaiming of wintering.
Of happily paying attention to the stitch pattern.
And adding a different pattern to my already extensive collection of hand-knit scarves featured in this post.
So readers, stitchers:
- Embrace winter,
- slow down,
- breathe, walk or
- watch the birds, the sky, the snow,
- knit, sew, needlepoint, weave…sleep in!
What is YOUR method(s) of wintering?
Hey hey! References for educators and….. nerds!
Want more wintering info? Check out the refs below! Indulge in your LOVE of all things “winter!”
>>>Find it here.
[This post may contain referral-affiliate links. If a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.]
Why the Storied Stitching Experience?
For me, needlework is a deeply meaningful form of personal expression that I want to share.
The sewing circle is a way to connect with fellow stitchers – and to remember those who are gone…