How we got here, and how happy we are

Miss Hickory is the title of a children’s book which I read over and over as a child. It tells the story of a doll made from a hickory branch, with the nut for a head. She is left behind at the cottage one fall, and must survive the winter with her animal friends, making do with what they had, and cooperating with each other for their success. The little girl who left her behind returns in the spring, but has outgrown dolls, and tosses Miss Hickory into the woods, where her head splits open and a new tree takes root.

Decades later I found myself living in the woods, making do with what I had and living with the animals and the rhythm of the seasons. I remembered what an impact that children’s story had on me, and how it had shaped my life. I became Miss Hickory.

I am so grateful that my mother taught me “womanly” skills; knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing, quilting. I remember watching my great-grandmother working on quilts on a huge frame in a room we were not allowed to enter, but watched only from the doorway. Making and making-do has informed my whole life. When the children were growing up, there was great satisfation in making what we needed, and used every day; curtains, sweaters, mittens, hats, children’s clothes, dolls, toys. The sky is the limit. Sometimes a sweater started for one was passed to the next by the time it was finished. Time was premium.

Several years ago, as retirement was on the horizon, I acquired a floor loom. It is something I had wanted for a long time, but space and time restrictions prevented it. Finally I had both space and time, and have been exploring and learning with every warp I wind. I love working with colour, texture, pattern. It gives me pleasure manipulating the materials which then become something useful and beautiful. To take a long piece of string and create an object is always a thrill.