Me and my new brain

Agatha, the lady who writes this blog was kind enough to message me via my blog and share her story. I think she’s pretty amazing and inspiring, so wanted to share her story and her blog with my readers 😊

headinjuryandcrochet

This is me Agatha me and my new brain. I am married to an amazing man and we have five children. On 26th March I had a car accident on a notorious cross road junction. I was on my way to school to pick up my youngest daughter with my youngest son age 4 in the car with me. I had right of way on the main road and a massive tractor was on a side road waiting to pull out. He had no hands on his steering wheel, perhaps on his phone I think but not allowed to say and he rolled onto oncoming traffic. Me. It ripped through the left hand side of my car cutting straight through with his bailer blades and missed cutting my sons legs off by 12 inches. I was knocked out. When I came round I remember three things , this is what…

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Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Introduction

 

On my first post for this month, I mentioned I was taking part in this year’s Historical Sew Monthly. The idea is to take clothing or accessories from the past up to 1938 and remake them. You can use authentic materials or take items from your stash. Each challenge can take up to 2 months to make and must be completed and entered by the last day of the month it is due. Items can be as simple, a bag or fichu or complex as you wish, up to a full period ensemble, complete with underpinnings, but must be researched and use authentic materials and techniques where possible. The Dreamstress, who organises the challenge has written a useful blog post, exploring what  historical accuracy means.

The Challenges this Year are as follows:

  • January –  Procrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • February – Tucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • March – Protection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • May – Holes – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • June – Travel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • July – Monochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • August – Pattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • September – Historicism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • October – Heroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • November – Red – Make something in any shade of red.
  • December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

My Plans To Date:

January: Medieval Relic Bag – I’ve been putting off starting as they knitted on very tiny needles – 1 – 1.5mm

February: I’m still researching but its likely to be a baby bonnet with tuck pleating around the crown in crochet

March: A Sontag – A Victorian knitted Shawl that wraps over the front of the body and ties at the back, ideal for wearing out on spring days without having trailing bits to catch in my wheels

April – This is puzzling me, so I need to research this. Am wondering if an early male knitted cap might have been remade and restyled in late 19th / early 20th C for a lady who was interested in sport?

May – I have a couple of lovely tops that are just a little too low cut so I plan to make a crochet fichu / neck piece to wear with them.

June – I want to make something linked to travel for the wool trade: going to market, sheep droving, using a crochet method called shepherds knitting, gloves, a pouch

July – Monochrome, am thinking towards socks are there medieval examples of knitted socks and cushions with interesting monochrome patterns

August – Pattern, I’ve seen some beautiful beaded knit purses and reticules, with fantastic colour patterns!

September – Historicism – this will need research, ideally I would like to do something warm for the approaching winter or practical like a simple bag

October – Heroes – I bet you thought I was going to avoid naalbinding as I’d not said anymore about it! But my heroes are in part those medieval women who spent much of their time spinning, weaving and naalbinding clothes. There is an interesting pair of socks I would like to try to replicate!

November – Something Red – thinking back over my accessories, I don’t have gloves and I really like the long evening gloves so I plan to crochet a pair in red silk or cotton

December – Something Special – this is my tatting challenge, and I’m thinking I might make myself a collar, which could double as a necklace or adding a tatted motif to a simple, silk drawstring bag or pouch, brooch or hat band.

This will give me a range of accessories I can make over a number of eras of history and the opportunity to hone skills and develop new ones. In future years it is my intention to choose a period of history and make myself a full costume with authentic accessories, meaning that I will need to tackle dressmaking.

I’m assembling a Pinterest board and hunting through the Antique Pattern Library for inspiration and ideas. I also plan to do some reading in the local library and online to discover the techniques, yarns etc in use at the time each item was made.

Knit and Relax

Myself and Frances Heather from Creative Options, a Southampton based social enterprise, providing support, social interaction and employment opportunities for adults with a mental health problem in Southampton are joining forces to launch Knit and Relax.

Who is it for?

Its for anyone who is living with a mental health problem or is feeling low, lonely and isolated. You don’t need to be seeing a mental health professional to join the group.

What Happens There?

We are a craft and chat group, so you are welcome to bring along any needle based crafts you like – knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch etc. Bev is an experienced tutor and will be on hand to help you if you get stuck.

After a tea and cake break, Frances will lead a relaxation session, to help you .unwind before you go home.

Can I Learn To…

Yes, beginners are welcome, but please note, this is not a formal class, so Bev will not be running workshops or teaching exclusively one to one. Other group members will also be willing to help you if Bev is busy

Is There a Cost?

Yes there’s a small charge of £1 per person, towards room hire and refreshments

How Can Craft Help Me?

There have been many studies that demonstrate how crafting helps people with a wide range of illnesses. It takes your mind off things and stitching is also found to be as beneficial as meditation! It also helps you build your confidence as you learn new things and improves concentration. The group is also small and friendly so you have the opportunity to get out of the house, have a chat with people with similar interests and perhaps make some new friends! All things that can help you feel better.

Is There Anyone Who Can’t Come?

The group is open to anyone with lived experience of a mental health condition. All we ask is that you are willing to join in with the group activities of crafting, relaxation and help to keep the chat, light and uplifting.

If you are looking for a more structured support group, Creative Options run a range of these throughout the week, which might better meet your needs

Its been a while

Some of my custom makes, workshop creations and designs from 2015. The baby set is the only item where I worked from a pattern

FAMILY AND CHANGING PRIORITIES

Most of 2015 has been a hectic blur, helping my daughter recover from a c-section and SPD and adapt to having her second son. The eldest is now entering the terrible twos and the younger is 9 months old and is commando crawling everywhere and causing havoc! Although baby was born in April, because of the SPD, resulting in longer term back pain and the need to gain confidence, she stayed with me until the early autumn. For those who don’t know, SPD is a condition where the pelvic muscles start to separate; Physio is meant to be available in pregnancy but due to a very long waiting list, she didn’t get seen. It has taken until late Dec to find a GP at her local surgery who was sensible enough to refer to physio! This meant that by and large running groups became virtually impossible and for a long while I didn’t get alot of making done either.

HEALTH

Also my complex pain syndrome has gradually worsened in the past year, more so since I’ve been less busy to be honest, which makes no sense to me whatsover – by reducing triggers, I should have started improving! We went to Devon in late April to see my Dad and introduce him to his new great grandson. When we stopped for lunch on the way back, I struggled to walk across the car park with sticks, something I had been doing easily all week! Since then its been an up and down game of slow improvement then relapse, with increasing need to use my wheelchair, initially outdoors and now all the time. I changed the car in July, during an upswing and stuck to my usual method of loading the powerchair, with a hoist… currently that is beyond me so I am only going out and about with assistance, which is pretty frustrating.

WHERE AM I AT?

I have been making things to order and have gone into Headway, Timebank and Creative Options when possible, but, realistically I am at a point where I need to re-evaluate what I am doing and decide on a way forward. So over Christmas and New Year I’ve been mulling over some ideas and thinking about how I can link my passions for faith, family, creativity, and history together in a constructive way, whilst still promoting the benefits of crafting for people with long term illness.

The plan is to :

  1. Continue with working with Headway, Timebank and Creative Options, and look at the help that might be available to get my chair in and out of the car.
  2. Work on getting my patterns ready for publication to generate an income stream. I am hoping to sell them via a third party, who will take care of all the complicated new VAT requirements
  3. Take part in the Historical Sewing Challenge Monthly for 2016 and develop a range of knitted, crocheted, tatted and naalbinding items I can then make to order. This will also mean I need to put some time into learning cro-tatting and naalbinding.
  4. Continue to work on my history blog- A Woolly History of Britain, exploring the wool trade from Anglo Saxon times onwards and the lives of the people involved, directly and indirectly.
  5. Work on the textile art for the exhibition in July

This still looks like a fairly hefty programme,  however I will pace myself and develop a weekly work plan that will allow me to work on the elements as a series of mini projects. I also commit to being realistic and reviewing my progress regularly, giving myself permission to adapt the plan as needed, to reflect life and changing priorities.

BLOGGING FOCUS

A Woolly History of Britain will be an academic blog, where I summarise and record my studies.

That leaves this blog to be my creative space / journal, the aims are to include:

  1. Write ups of each item I make for Historical Sew Monthly 2016  – more info in my next post
  2. A place to share the work I produce for the exhibition – journal style
  3. A signpost to my online shop(s), which will be developed through the year as a whole
  4. A showcase for my made to order historical creations – from tiny relic bags to shawls
  5. Photo tutorials
  6. Space to reflect on my personal journey and how creativity is helping me focus on what I can do!