Well, look at that. My very first completed rug hooking thing (piece? wall hanging? rug? I don't know what to call it). Perhaps like many first completed projects of a new craft, I think this looks best from far away. And perhaps in dim lighting? Ahem.
That said, this really was such a fun project to get started hooking with with. It was about halfway through hooking the sky (is that the right terminology?) that I really got into the groove of what to do, my hands cooperating the way I wanted them to. It was then that it clicked, how I could be using the loops - the direction and placement of them - to create more a more interesting visual rather than just 'filling the space' in rows as I was doing. When I realized that, I contemplated ripping it out and starting over, or just setting it aside for a while. Adelaide, who was hovering over this project from the start, was outraged. "No, Mama! This is your first one, just keep practicing! Keep going!" Wise words that I couldn't ignore. She's also the one that insisted we hang it up on the wall when completed, at least for a little while before I have a feeling she'll be begging me to use it as a cat mat (a place of honor in her world).
I am, forgive the pun, hooked on this process. I'm not sure if I'll dive into another kit right away, or try something on my own. The whole time I was making this one I kept thinking this medium might be really conducive to interpreting children's art. I'm not certain, but I think I'd like to try that. I know a certain someone who would absolutely adore a small rug on her floor made with a drawing of her horses.
Some of you may have read the comments of the post when I first shared this rug hooking project last week. An interesting discussion took place there over the next few days, with many thoughtful and sincere words from some long time readers. (Thank you for the civility!) The gist of it is something I've come across often in the years since I started blogging - how do you do it all? What's the secret? What do your days really look like? Are you for real?
I thought a lot about those questions as I was making this little hooking project in particular. My hope has always been that the answers can be found everyday in each post that I write, as I focus on what I love, what brings me joy, and the blessings of family and a creative life. I've tried to address these questions many times over the years, but I don't know as though I've done it well. Goodness though, I wish I could. The thought of what I do here making anyone feel inadequate is just about as far away from my goal in sharing in this space as is possible. Perhaps though, I can answer some simple and straightforward ones that I sometimes find stated as fact about us. There is no nanny just out of the frame of my photographs, no housekeeper hidden in the closet under the stairs (though goodness, I would love that and feed him/her well!), there is no trust fund and we are quite far away from 'independently wealthy'. There is a lot of chaos, mess, sibling squables, frustrated parents, and all the normal challenges of three generations and eight people living under one roof - learning, loving, and growing together. There is also all the laughter, love, beauty, peace and harmony of three generations and eight people living under one roof - learning, loving, and growing together. The latter helps me get through the former, and I suppose that's how I write here as well, with a focus on all that I'm grateful for, all that fills my heart, all that inspires me to get up each day and do it again.
We have, in essence, crafted the life that is just right for us. We are thoughtful in our decisions about what comes into our lives, about how we spend our time, about the things we say yes or no to, about the ways we earn an income. We've worked hard and lived simply so that we can be together as a family in the ways that we are each and everyday. When does the crafting happen? All the time. When there is not a child in my arms, there is often yarn. Or fabric. Or rug hooking. We do it together, as I am slowly read aloud to from someone practicing their reading, as I teach one of them to knit, as I watch one more trick on the half-pipe, as I snuggle into bed at the end of another long and wonderful day and spend just a few minutes, just a few rows, working on the latest sweater. It brings me joy, it grounds me where I am, and the utility of what I make nurtures my family in practical and spiritual ways (I hope).
The documenting and sharing of all of that in this space (and by extention, my books and the magazine), while originally snuck into the moments of napping children or a quiet house when I first began blogging eleven years ago, has now become my job. One that I take seriously, that as a family we dedicate hours to me working on in (relative) solitude, and that I am so incredibly grateful for. I love my work. I love that I do it with my family, that it is all about the things most important to me, and that I am so fully supported, encouraged and covered by my partner. Working at home - just a room away from all the chaos and commotion and laughter of family life - is not without its challenges. Harper's sweet face has popped into many a Taproot video conference. I've had to hang up quickly on colleagues as I heard the shouts of "pig's out!" coming from outside my door (consequently, have had the same happen to me when on the phone - how lovely to work with folks in the same kind of life!).
And now I'm rambling, and still I do not think I have answered your questions in a way that will satisfy. Oh, but I wish I could somehow. I wish we could sit down for a cup of tea (or wine?) and we could talk this out properly in a real world way. That I could tell you my struggles and joys, and you could tell me yours and we'd find connection in that in this crazy and wonderful life we're all living. But I hope that's precisely what I'm doing here, each morning as I close the door to my studio and sit down to write at this little box. And I hope that's why you are reading - because you feel that too.
There is a full day ahead - of horseback riding and dance classes and editing the pages of our next issue (BREAD! Oh, I'm having fun with this one!). The leaves are falling, and after an unseasonably warm weekend, today feels crisp and cool. Here we are, on the cusp of October. Such a beautiful month it is. Friends, I wish you a wonderful start to your week, and thank you, as always, for stopping by.