agency, crafting & elderly people

Tonight I was reading Steph C of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World's post on the purpose of sewing for her and her response to greenie interrogation. The response I wrote in her comments section was so long and also threw in some things I'd been intending to share on my blog, that I've pasted a copy of my response here:
"I used to be more focused on living 'greenly'.  I haven't decided that it no longer matters at all.  But I have returned to the paid workforce and now have school aged children and the choices I make are different to the ones I made when they were tiny and I was at home a much bigger proportion of each day.  I see that time I put in when the children were younger as a positive legacy rather than bemoaning that I'm no longer making my own bread and raising all of my plants from seed.  I learnt a lot in the kitchen, in the garden and craft-wise.  We wouldn't have time to build a chook run from scratch now, but we do have the enduring benefits of that chook run in terms of daily eggs and a reusing option for many of our food scraps.

In terms of crafting, the children are in a perfect storm of hand-me-downs, and while I make some nightwear and round-home clothes, I can source these cheaply from op shops or even local rtw shops.  But what I cannot source easily are clothes which fit me, suit me, are affordable and meet my workplace needs.  This is where sewing comes in - learning to make a full bust adjustment has been the single most useful skill in the last two years.  I inherited some pretty dresses when a family member with gorgeous taste and a generous budget died.  Last week I realised that the features of my most favourite two dresses are almost exactly replicated in your tiramisu pattern.  I've got the fabric in the cupboard waiting!  No pressure though, I'm aiming to finish knitting a summer cardigan first.

I have a shelf full of gifted or thrifted fabric, ready to be turned into clothes, or at least used for muslins.  But, like you, I'm coming to the conclusion that knits are what suits the clothing I want to wear best.  And finding knits for muslins in the op shop just doesn't seem to happen!  If I take three attempts at an item to get one which I then wear every week for a couple of years in a winter or summer season, then I don't consider that waste.  Only through practising will I make progress.  I guess I could categorise it as 'slow clothing', if I were looking for categories."




In other news, I felt very keenly today the sadness of elderly people who once had agency over their lives and now have none, or very little.  In between work and school collection-ballet lesson-collecting the new car (yes! really! new to us anyway.  I like how it goes without steam coming out of the bonnet), I had ten minutes to spare, so I popped in to see Mary K, my elderly cousin who lives at a local rest home.
 

It's a great rest home. The staff are lovely, they love Mary K and they have really good communication with her family.  But today, a decision was made that there would be a separate dementia ward, and that meant moving many people around, including Mary K.  She has moved to a lovely room, but she is disoriented and I know from experience that she will be confused and consequently frazzled for about a fortnight after this major change.



Like our children who sometimes get a new teacher with no say in the change or the timing of the change, elderly people like Mary, who thank goodness have the care they need in a rest home instead of being dangerously unable to cope in their own homes, are pawns instead of actors in their own lives.  Our old people are a gift.  Not cute like babies necessarily, but people still wanting to be people, and how we as a society and as individuals treat old people makes, I think, a massive difference to frail lives.

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