a circuitous life

It’s official, I’ve joined a guild!
I’m now a proud member of the Etobicoke Spinners and Weaving guild.

Went to my first meeting last night, and it turned out to be a doozy…I’ll tell you all about it, but we have to rewind a few days.

On Monday I dug out a ball of yarn I have been saving for 4 years or so…
It’s the most gorgeous shade of variegated cornflower blue, lace weight merino and silk, super-soft…
I have been somewhat paralyzed to use it.

I bought it as part of a fundraiser from one of my girlfriends from the Country.
At the time she was the proprietor of a fibre and needle arts shop in the tiny arty town of Warkworth and my go to gal for catty chatty sessions. We would get together to shoot the shit and commiserate about life in the country, small town busy bodies, our partner woes, crafty junk, and our past lives as fabulous hipster ladies from the big city of “Trawna” many many many laughs.

Bees Knees fiber and needle arts shop in Warkworth

best little shop in the world

I went to her place for dinner one night and noticed she was off…when pressed she told me she had been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer…and 2 months to live. WTF! This super healthy living 32 yr old dynamic bundle of piss and vinegar, sitting there across from me looking very much like a dove commercial all shiny hair, and glowing skin.
We cried and laughed and cried and hugged, shrugged our shoulders and got back to what we do best together,
Crap talking music and trading stories of our significant others. grin.

After some intensive rounds of radiation and chemo leaving her feeling broken and shitty she and her partner Gary (super wicked portrait photographer) decided they would pull the plug on conventional meds and go the alternative route. A 2 month prognosis stretched into 2 years. Sadly after 2 years of laying dormant the cancer jumped forward again and after a couple weeks of heavy seizures she passed away.

She went through many items not covered under OHIP; vitamins, supplements, oxygen tanks, and organic veg (for her juicing regime). This lovely yarn I was showing Dale kept her in a month of carrots…
so it was more than just wool I was looking at when I looked at that ball of soft blue.

I told Dale on Monday “I’m finally going to make something with this. I’m going to weave something clean and beautiful using this wool.” and knowing what I wasn’t saying he pulled me close for a hug.

Soooo….back to the story of my guild meeting,

Joan is a woman who contacted me via email responding to a kijiji ad I had placed looking for a weaving teacher to help me continue building my skills. She is a wonderful warm and friendly lady who suggested I come out to a meeting and think about joining the guild to learn more about the craft from other members.

After attending a few drop ins, last night I went to the Neilson Park Center and signed up to be a member of the Etobicoke Handweavers and Spinners Guild. There is a Toronto Guild but I wasn’t feeling it. There is something really warm and lovely about these Etobicoke women I was drawn to, so I went with my gut! go figure…

woven rug

woven rug from the EHS Guild Show

wall hanging weave

woven wall hanging from the EHS Guild Show

pinwheel weave scarf

woven scarf from the EHS Guild Show

thick n thin scarf

woven scarf from the EHS Guild Show

I attend the meeting, and look at the gallery show the members had set up and after the meeting was done took a look through the library of books availible for loan. I pick a few books and go about the business of signing them out.
I get to the last one and notice the name on the card of the person who had last taken the book out before me.

I say to Joan “oh is Carolyn still a member here?”
She gets a pensive smile and says to me. “Carolyn and I both became members on the same day. She was such fun, a really nice girl. She passed away of cancer a few years ago.”

and I knew.
(ug tearing up now again writing this).
I told Joan and the other ladies that I had been a good friend of Carolyn’s in the country. That I knew her very well and was taken aback when I saw her name written in my book (our towns were 200km from here) and thought it must have been another woman with the same name. What were the odds?

Joan was taken aback as well…but my life tends to fold back on itself a lot like that so I am really not that shocked when I think about it. So there you go.
It was a good meeting, and I feel like a bit of kismet going on…
but I miss my friend terribly, despite feeling closer than ever to her in this moment of my life.

Last night was the definition of bittersweet, sigh…xo


CarolynMcAlpine as photographed by Gary Mulcahey

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One thought on “a circuitous life

  1. rosey colautti says:

    i met carolyn and gary during chemo at PMH. she was eating a reuben, with sauerkraut, no less…during chemo!!!
    i so loved that beauty. i finished chemo after 7 months and saying goodbye was emotional. i was leaving and she had to stay indefinitely.
    she eventually chose another route and loved her alternatives: juicing, knitting again, and being with gary and her friends. her emails were chockful of details about her time at home.
    just when i thought we would visit her in spring, gary told me she had passed.
    the cancer circuit has been like that…the gasp of loss, the trying-to-get-my-mind-around-where-did-they-go losses, the sheer commonness of cancer- both of my sisters have since been diagnosed, two of my cousins have died. where do we go to hide, to recoup, to forget?
    i am glad to talk about her again, that beautiful girl who sat near me in the ugly chemo room
    i have been surrounded by so many angels during this time with cancer. carolyn never leaves my side. thinking of you, gary.

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