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My life in stitches

JoWynn Johns connects with world through embroidery blog

Created date

February 22nd, 2010
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[caption id="attachment_8460" align="alignright" width="280" caption="JoWynn Johns shows an example of one of her favorite pastimes embroidery! She also teaches courses at Charlestown for fellow stitchers. "]Charlestown. I was participating in a yearlong stitching challenge online, says Johns. We shared pictures of our work on the Internet and left comments for each other. At the time, many of the other stitchers had blogs and urged me to start my own. I hesitated, but after dithering about it for a while, I began my blog in September 2007.

Direct connect

A blog, short for Weblog, is a personal online journal where people can read news and comment on a particular topic. Many also feature links to other blogs and media related to the topic. Johns blog includes embroidery know-how, personal essays, as well as photos of her stitch work and family. She says so far, she has only received positive feedback from her blog. Writing a blog has given me the opportunity to share important parts of my life with others who are interested, who share my interests, says Johns. It has brought me in touch with physicists, preeminent Blake scholars, accomplished needle artists, people who love textile art, fellow stitchers, and other grandmothers. I have developed several long-distance friendships with people in Washington, California, Chicago, Kansas, England, France, Spain, Austria, and Australia. Most surprising of all, I met a very talented stitcher here at Charlestown through my blog! Otherwise, though neighbors, we may never have met. [caption id="attachment_8459" align="alignright" width="280" caption="A blogger since 2007, Johns shares her insights online with needle artists around the world. "][/caption]

Word therapy

Johns, a former management consultant, says keeping a journal throughout her adult life has been both therapeutic and fun. Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) left Johns housebound for nearly 17 years, but her positive outlook, resilient spirit, and penchant for embroidery kept her connected to people all over the world. Writing is something I have to do, she says. I write essays and letters to find out and articulate what I think. Now fully recovered and living an active life, Johns continues to journal independently and also share her insights online. What keeps me blogging are the comments I get and the e-mail I receive, in addition to the pleasure I get from crafting a post, editing and choosing pictures, and sometimes doing research, she says.

New patterns develop

A blog post from last year reads: After 17 years of solitary, sedentary life, I m bursting with energy and going off in many directions. It s as though I have ADHD. Whereas I spent the past many years reading, studying, stitching, and meditating, now I can t sit still, can hardly read for any length of time, and I stitch only for an hour or two, and not every day. Her newfound energy and zest for life have Johns taking advantage of the opportunities available to her atCharlestown. She now volunteers at Renaissance Gardens, Charlestown s extended-care neighborhood; she organizes transportation for season subscribers to Center Stage and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; she hosted the leader of a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center for a screening of his filmed pilgrimage to India s most holy Buddhist sites; and she is teaching two courses: Fabric of Survival and Playing with Stitches as part of Charlestown s Elderhostel Lifelong Learning program. When we moved to Charlestown 11 years ago, I was housebound and I did not expect to recover, says Johns. Charlestownwas and still is the perfect place for us. What I most appreciate about living here is how easy life is. No household chores or concerns, no cooking, access to any and all services we need or may need, the caring staff, and the beauty of our surroundings. Johns says she now also swims a half a mile every morning and walks several miles a day. As far as what she plans to do with her life now that she s recovered, she reflects in her blog: Do I still want to stitch and study, spend hours in silent solitude? I ll have to find out.

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