Category Archives: family

Nostalgic Holiday

By the end of this brief month we’ve been home we will have visited our older son and his family, which includes our delightful granddaughter Tori, three times.  That is a LOT of driving, and it always includes a trek through New York City… and that brings back memories from the decades we lived in New Jersey.

On our last trip home, after Tori’s 1st birthday party, we drove into the city for an appointment that should have taken place over the summer.  It was a sparkling mid-December day, where the snow that had blanketed most of the northeast had already melted on the city streets.  It was the morning the suicide bomber had set off his pipe bomb in the subway near Times Square.  Hearing this news, we decided to avoid the West Side, so we took the Holland Tunnel.  What a view with the sun directly behind Freedom Tower!


We drove down to Battery Park to get on the East Side FDR.


What memories!  Foremost in my mind was a very different day–a late summer day in September, five years ago, when our son Christopher met us at Battery Park.  We were onboard our last Pandora, and Chris was on his bike!  We said our goodbyes across the water, and I was crying.  It was our farewell moment at the beginning of a 9-month trip down the east coast of the US and across to the Bahamas, where we spent  4 months sailing about 1,000 miles among the islands from the Abacos, the Berries and the Exumas, before retracing our tracks back up the eastern seaboard.  I’d never been away from home that long before–actually haven’t been away that long since either.

Chris first met us near Gracie Mansion, where Hells Gate flows into the East River.  He took this wonderful panorama of us. We were alone on the river that morning.

Then we raced him down to Battery Park, Pandora against Chris on a bicycle.  We won, by only 10 minutes, and he had to navigate far more traffic than we did that morning!

While we lived in New Jersey, I almost never had an occasion to drive on the East Side, so driving up the FDR brought this single memory back in full force.  I can still feel the breeze and smell the river and the city from that September day. What a difference a few years make.  Chris was at the beginning of his doctoral studies; Bob and I were neophytes at long distance sailing.  Now Chris has been working in quantum physics for a couple years, and Bob has put 10,000 miles under the keels of two Pandoras since then.

This December day, we parked our car near the East River and walked west into the throngs of midtown… past Lex and Park and Madison, and on to 5th Ave.  It was fitting to me that Saks has chosen Snow White as the theme for this year’s windows.  Our little Tori seems like Snow White to us with her ivory skin and dark hair.  I wish she could have been with us to see this!


As it happens, Tori’s Mom loves Mini Mouse, and now so does Tori.  I made Tori a Mini Mouse dress to wear for her birthday, and her parents decided to have photos taken to commemorate this milestone.  We don’t have any of the final photos yet, but here are a couple of proofs. I love the middle one (kind of wish I’d made her a Snow White dress, though!).


During our visit for Tori’s 1st birthday party, the first snow of the season fell on the day of her party!  Grampy gave her the first taste of snow.


The rest of us made party preparations.  Kandice had seen this Mini Mouse fruit bowl on Pinterest, and Rob and I enjoyed creating it!



Rob and Bob finished decorating the huge tree.  We always say that Rob likes to “Clark Griswold the heck out of Christmas”–and he does.


But….back to our drive through New York….our appointment was only half a block from THE TREE so we had to take a moment for that.  Due to the earlier incident with the bomber, the streets were heavily patrolled by policemen in groups, all carrying automatic weapons.  I haven’t seen that kind of police presence since the 70s in Rome, but I will refrain from saying more.


The promenade and the shops along it were still as festive as ever.  My favorite shop is Penahaligons!

Earlier this week Bob gave a slide presentation locally about our travels through the Windward Islands during the past winter season.  As usual, he was entertaining and humorous and his slides were stunning.

One of the highlights of the evening for me was that a woman approached me to tell me that she’d missed hearing me add to the presentation with whatever handwork I’d discovered on our travels.  I had no idea that any of the sailors in the audience would want to hear about textiles and handwork!

And on that note, it seems I’ve gotten quite far off track on writing about textiles lately.  Perhaps my final thoughts will center on that.  A couple of my gifts this year focused on Idrija lace from Slovenia, which I quite love.  I ordered these little lace hearts from Slovenia.  I should have ordered many more!

My favorite purchase this year came from the Hartford Artisans’ holiday sale back in late November. It is a short piece of Deflected Double Weave sewn into a cowl.  What a terrific idea to weave cowls in this structure! For one thing, when sewn together with a flat fell seam they are reversible!  Another bonus is that from a warp that would normally be used to make only two scarves, I can probably get six cowls!  Oh!  And a 3rd bonus–no fringes to twist.  I’ve already made my warp, in a much different colorway than this cowl which I bought at the sale.  I’ll be ready to dress my small Baby Wolf to weave some gifts when I return next spring.


Today marks the halfway point of Hanukah, and it is only 10 days until Christmas.  We’ve had three snowfalls already and some record breaking cold temperatures.  As I write this today I am steeping a large quantity of gin in a mixture of dried hisbiscus flowers, cardamon and peppercorns.  It is my ‘plan B’ from years of searching for damson plums with no luck. I hope hibiscus gin will make a delicious gin and tonic this evening to warm me as I make a batch of cookie and get started on tomorrow’s beef wellington.  I hope you are doing similar things to make your holiday festive and to keep warm.  Best wishes….






The Royal Visit

Right up front I’ll tell you we missed seeing Prince Charles.  Right now it feels like old news, but believe me I still smart a little from this! The Prince arrived hours earlier than predicted, and I was still onboard Pandora, carefully choosing what to wear for a royal visit.  He was gone by the time we got ashore (although we did not know that until hours later!–until others told us all about it).  Some of our friends only saw the royal motorcade while they were out on their morning walk.  Our friends on Exodus were on the dock in English Harbour, due to the many gear failures that occurred during their passage that needed professional attention.  They were having their morning coffee in the cockpit when Prince Charles strolled up to have a chat!  It was then that they all wished they’d taken more care with their morning attire!


One of our Salty Dawgs, Ardys Richards, took this fabulous photo!


As you can see, not many were on hand when the Prince arrived.


It has taken me awhile to catch up on the all the happenings since we left Antigua.  Thanksgiving seemed to come right after Prince Charles left, and I cannot account for the three days in the middle. I think we were having more of Bob’s planned events–it was a whirlwind!  What an experience to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in such a tropical setting, with a significant number of non-Americans sharing the experience with us.  Dinner was served just after sunset, on the deck above the Antigua Yacht Club, where we enjoyed a balmy breeze and beautiful views of the harbor.  The cooks made 10 turkeys for the 100+ diners, and we all tucked into plates full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and various roasted veggies….not island fare at all!  (photo also by Ardys, I think!)


We left on Friday to head back to the States, in particular to our older son’s house to participate in our granddaughter’s christening.  That was quite an adventure–although too boring to write. We didn’t arrive until just before dawn on Saturday morning.  Our younger son arrived on Friday from San Francisco, and we all enjoyed a belated non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner together on Saturday night.  Rob and I have always wanted to make a Beef Wellington together, and at last we did!  It was a special evening to have our whole Osborn family together, that now includes a daughter in law and a granddaughter, along with one of Rob’s oldest friends and his new wife.  I was overflowing with thankfulness!

And then Sunday brought the christening! Of course I think Little Tori would be beautiful in a burlap sack, but I was thrilled to see her wearing the dress I’d spent most of the summer and fall making for her.

Tori’s mom chose the fabric–silk shantung, and it had that mesmerizing rustle of silk as Tori walked around in it.  The sleeves are silk organdy (mostly because they were a bit complicated for me and I could not face the idea of trying to make them in the shantung when it came to inserting them into the tiny armhole!).  As it worked out, I love the sheerness of the organdy that shows off Tori’s tiny, delicate shoulders!  I barely know what I’m doing to make a dress like this–French seams, a lining, petal sleeves,  bound seams on the armholes,  buttonholes.  The credit for this dress really goes to my sewing teacher Marie, who directed every move I made in the construction, and then sewed a few things herself when I could not, such as inserting the 4-piece petal sleeves into the dress and making those buttonholes!

Tori is looking a little shop worn after the long ride to the church and back along with the christening ceremony!  She was happy to get back to bare feet!



I had to make the dress in spite of my sewing INexpertise because I wanted to use the lace I’d been making for the 5 month months leading up to the big day.  I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 hours making the two yards of lace border for the bodice and hem of the dress.  There is a smaller lace at the neckline that I had saved from an earlier project (members of Metro IOLI will recognize it as Gunvor Jorgenson’s workbook, lace #3).   Making this dress meant the world to me!  I was thrilled to see my little princess in it and I was glad that she wore it all day!

Christopher documented the whole day in photos for us….just about the best gift we could imagine!  He took 600 photos!  I’ll just share a few….though it will be more than I usually post…. what can I say?  I am smitten with Tori and with Chris’ photos of her!

Here she is with her dad, walking along the altar at the church.


Meeting the priest.


Getting baptised.


Aftereward, posing with Mom and Dad in front of the Christmas tree on the altar.


The party at home afterward included good friends and both families for a late lunch and play time with Tori.  I don’t think she took a nap that day…. she held up well, like a royal would do!



Our little Tori is as royal to us as Prince Charles.  She is certainly the little sovereign in our family, and we all do our best to serve her needs!   She our tiny super moon (still), and we are all caught up in her orbit. In fact, December’s full moon is occurring now, the same full moon (actually a ‘super moon’ like the one that occurred last year when  she was born!) In lunar cycles, she has turned one on this full moon!  Her calendar birthday will be in 10 days, after this moon cycle has finished. It’s a wonderful place to be–in her orbit….I’m enjoying every moment of it!


A Day at the Cricket Match

Well, who knew I’d ever be talking about cricket–me, the obsessive weaver/knitter and somewhat reluctant sailor will now spend a few words on cricket.  We were given tickets to the West Indian/English cricket match here on Antigua.  Antigua has spent a fortune on a modern stadium for this sport so the locals must love this game.  They have chosen having a stadium over having better water or sewage systems on the island, and certain over having good roads.  Who am I to say what’s more important?

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Lucky for us that two very nice Englishmen were seated in front of us, who were willing to explain the game and give us some background on cricket.  It’s a long game.  We arrived over an hour after the start and still saw most of the first half, in which the West Indian team was batting.  By the end of that half they had scored 258 points.

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I know these photos don’t do justice to the action.  All I can say is that I’ve never seen anyone run as fast all these men do!  It was more exciting than watching the Olympics just to see them run and catch balls.  They can catch anything!

I wish I had a photo of our English cricket tutors.  They were both dressed so perfectly shabby/chic in their rumpled linen shirts and khaki shorts, finished off with panama hats and shabby boat shoes.  Their diction was also perfectly Queen’s English.  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn they are both barristers, or maybe even earls.  Enchanting gentlemen…

The spectators were very well dressed.  This has to be quite a big social event for the locals.  And during the breaks you could buy all kinds of food–or get your face painted!

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We left about 4 pm, even though there was more than an hour left in the game.  Because the game is played in two halves, with only one team able to score during its own half, we have no way to know who won.  Maybe we can find out from a local when we get ashore later. You do really do have to stay for the whole 8 hours!

Life aboard continues as ever.  More of our acquaintances have arrived in the harbor so we’ve had several nice get togethers. As you can see our numbers are growing.  It’s hard to all congregate on one boat so we’ve moved on to larger venues on shore.

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Each day brings it own chores, just like home anywhere.  The last week was focused on fixing broken things aboard Pandora, and Bob has made some great headway on those things.  We are still waiting for some kind of power supply for the SSB, and then that repair will be finished.  Our friends on Kalunamoo came into Falmouth yesterday with a broken windlass.  You may remember what that is from a couple weeks back when ours died as well.  It’s the thing that pulls up the anchor since a hundred or more feet of chain is way too much for a mere human to handle.  It’s important.  When it breaks it’s time to get on that project right away.

This morning we have been busy making water and doing two loads of laundry.  I hope to get out my small tapestry by noon.  Tori’s little sailor sweater is finished and almost ready for giving when I see her at Easter.  I hope her parents will like it enough to have her wear it through the spring and on cool summer nights.


I almost took a photograph of all our laundry hanging out to dry, but then thought better of it!  Here’s a photo of what Bob has to do to get anything out of our freezer for dinner.  “You want the WHAT??? Honey, that’s at the very bottom!”


Our younger son Chris arrives next Wednesday to spend almost a week with us in English Harbor on Antigua.  March and April are big months in the Osborn family.  Both Rob and Kandice have birthdays in March–Rob’s is this Wednesday!  Where does the time go??  In between Rob’s and Kandice’s birthdays, little Tori will turn three months old!  I haven’t seen her in a month now and she is changing rapidly, as babies do.  Luckily Rob and Kandice send us new photos of her almost every day.

Here she is looking very glam in her shades!


And this was taken yesterday.  For almost a month now she has been standing up while holding on to Mom or Dad.  It appears she may be as precocious as her daddy was at that age.  I’m enjoying remembering Rob’s babyhood through Tori, but I know that Tori’s mom and dad are in for wild ride ahead! She started doing this just after turning 2 months old.


Chris’s birthday with be next month, just before Easter.  So much to celebrate, and we are too far away to do it properly!

Time to finish sewing that last seam in Tori’s sailor sweater and then get out my loom…. maybe Bob will find out who won the cricket match while he is ashore using the internet to order some more things for Pandora.


It’s Tuesday afternoon.  Bob and I are sitting in a Starbucks in Ft. Lauderdale while he downloads new charts for Cuba and updates his ‘Active Captain’ app.  I am looking through photos from 2015 and realizing how much we celebrated over the past 6 months.  It was a very celebratory year, and my 60th birthday (just a few days ago) finished up the family milestones as the new year begins.

After Bob turned 60 in June (I was busy cooking and did not get any photos), I had some wonderful old friends visit in July.  We’ve known each other for about 25 years, and we made plans to spend part of our weekend going to the NEWS (New England Weavers Seminar) conference in Northampton….. 4 women of a certain age going to a weaving conference!  It was awesome! Here we are at dinner in Middletown on our way back to my house.

Kari friends NEWS 7.2015

Then came our older son’s wedding in August.  We almost never get photos of our two sons together.  It was a rare and wonderful moment.


Right before Thanksgiving, Bob threw me an early birthday party since it was going to be one of those once a decade birthdays, and I would not be able to see my friends and family when the actual birthday happened.  Here is chef Michael, just starting the hot hors doeuvres before dinner.  What a night!


A photo with one of my old friends and three of my new friends–all weavers!

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Michael is about to cut the cake…

Birthday cake nov. 2015

And my favorite pairing:  white wine and chocolate cake!

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A few days before my real birthday last week, Bob and I had a marvelous dinner at Pistache in West Palm Beach.  This photo is all about the dinner: duck breast in cherry sauce with truffle polenta…and the harbor park in the background.


While we are waiting for the weather window to sail to the Bahamas, I’ve been slowly honing my tatting skills.  I’m definitely improving…and now I’ve got enough tatting to go across the back of my green T-shirt and start going down one side of the front V-neck!  Only about a million more little rings and chains to go!


I worked on it a bit this morning before we came ashore.


Past Wedding, Full Forward on Inspiration!

First a moment of shamless personal happiness:  our older son was married over the weekend in Baltimore.  It was a glorious event!  I enjoyed every detail of it starting with our private time with the almost newly weds when we arrived on Wednesday evening last week, right through to the after-wedding-Sunday-brunch.  It was a small wedding, but the honored guests came from as far as San Francisco and Denver and Florida, to as close as right down the street.  It was a congregation of close knit friends and relatives.  It couldn’t have been better!

rob and kandice wedding begins

 We invited our very oldest friends–two couples we’ve known since long before either Rob or Chris were born–Chris and Pat and LeaAnn and Garrett– and a dear friend, Craig, who has been more than an uncle to our boys….and my sister Sheryl and her family–Carl, Madison and Chloe.  It was perfect!

Elevator selfies are certainly the rage now!

IMG_1282 The wedding party was large for so small a wedding– 6 bride’s maids, 6 groom’s men,
1 groom’s dog, 3 flower girls, and 2 ringbearers.  The groom’s dog may have stolen the show.  After walking down the aisle with the groom, he then gave the groom a ‘high-5’ moments before the bridesmaids entered.

rob and Kandice wedding Bosun procession

 He lay down peacefully between the bride and groom when the vows began.

Rob and Kandice wedding vows with Bosun

When he began to make nesting movements with the bride’s beautiful wedding dress, he made no fuss at being moved in front of the groomsmen. Just look at all those Chuck Taylors!

Bosun and groomsmen

He got to spend a few moments at the reception before he was sent up to the bridal suite to to relax with a very attentive friend.

rob and kandice wedding rob and dad bosun

Here are more moments from the day… I loved every minutes of it!


Photo ops in the beautiful Hotel Monaco in Baltimore.


The best man and the mother of the groom–moi!

rob and kandice wedding Chris and me

I am shamelessly proud of these two young men–the groom and his best man brother!

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The finale of the ceremony!

Rob and Kandice wedding the kiss

That wonderful moment for any mother of the groom!


The very best moments of this weekend aren’t documented with photographs.  It was spending some wonderful time with both our sons, our new daugher in law, our friends, my sister and her family.  It was finding two very sweet handwritten notes from my son thanking us for so much, acknowledging what a wonderful relationship we’ve had over the years behind us and the years to come.  This note arrived with a gift just moments before I left our room to go down to the ceremony.  It just doesn’t get any better!


With a little help from my friends (there’s always a Beatle theme when our family is together) Bob and I hosted a brunch for the newly weds on Sunday morning at their new house in the suburbs of Baltimore.  If not for Pat and Jeremy, and of course Bob, the brunch would not have been nearly as buttoned down as it was!  I guess we were way too busy hosting to get any photos.

I am so indebted to our old friends and my sister’s family for making such a long trek to be part of this event.  Being with them put the frosting on the cake and the cherry on top!

Now back at home I am relishing the all the memories and enjoying looking through all the candid photos taken by friends.  We’ll have the photographer’s images shortly.

I have turned my attentions back to the tapestry presentation I’ll be giving in early September to the weavers’ guild in Rhode Island, to working on what I’ve lovingly called the “Archie Project” for the past ….. years.  I refuse to admit how long this project is taking!

Bob and I took inventory of his stash of dowels in the workshop to determine what he might need to buy in order to make a backstrap for loom for me.  It looks like we have everything needed!  I might be weaving by early next week.

This morning LeaAnn sent me links to a wonderful illustrator and writer who lives in Wales — Jackie Morris.  My imagination took off while reading her blog.  On Saturday, while we were celebrating a wedding, she wrote this:

The summer is always busy. It’s hard to find the silence required for clear thought. George MacKay Brown talked of writing poetry as ‘the interrogation of silence.’ I know not everyone needs it to work, to think, but I do.
…I become more fascinated by silence as I grow older. But finding silence is different to being silent. When you choose to stop speaking you unnerve people. They fill the silence, the space you leave. They interpret your silence in their own way. 

At the end of her post she invited people to comment on how they achieve the silence they need to think and work, or to respond that they do not need to find this silence.

I agree whole heartedly with her description about needing inner silence and attempting to find it. There is no one place where I find mine. Sometimes it is easy to retreat to a wonderful silent place, and sometimes, no matter where I go I cannot get to it. I’m certain it has more to do with the state of my mind than the features or faults of any physical place. It all comes down to me. I just have to learn to be still and let it come.

As a weaver I often find that being at one of my looms is the best place for me to be silent and reap the benefits of where silence can lead. It doesn’t always work, but it is almost foolproof. On a floor loom or at a spinning wheel there is a rhythm of mechanical music that takes me deep into my inner self where there is a vast landscape of something like silence.

In tapestry I almost silently lift each warp thread by hand to create an image, and in that case it is my own deep thinking about the image that draws me away from the world, from any other noise but that deep music inside me. These are the reasons I return to weaving again and again.

After all the busy-ness of this summer–the SSCA extravaganza, visiting friends, the biennial weaving conference, and the wedding–it’s time to find that silence and get some good work done.

A New Direction…

It’s less than a week until my son’s wedding!  I have finished my projects, but I’m still deep in lists–  lists for everything we need to bring to the wedding– a list of  what I need for myself as well as what I’ve promsied to supply for the ceremony…..lists for meals before the wedding,  and a list for what I need to host the wedding brunch at my son’s new house the day after the wedding.

Meanwhile, I can’t help thinking about weaving projects.  I’ve gotten precious little weaving done on the small tapestry I started onboard late winter this year.  What I have done on it has been quite fun–lots of swirling water and the beginnings of the tentacles of a Portuguese Man of War. Very soon I will have my first attempt at pulling the warp around the loom so I can continue weaving up the warp.  I’m more than a little anxious about this, but once I’ve done it I hope it becomes something I can count on doing.  It will allow me to have smaller looms on board if I use this kind of warp.  Check out my new attempts at holding my cartoon in place–a small, very powerful magnet.  These little magnets will jump right out of your hands to fly together they are so strong.  And a very large paper clip.  Neither is a good solution, but I muddle on.


And I’ve been planning my next floor loom project.  It’s so hard to choose what to weave when I have so little time at home and so many ideas.  I think I will weave yardage in Plaited Huck (same structure as my recent linen tote bag).  This time I will make a warp of tussah silk in natural (sort of a pale oat color–not shown in the photo because the cone is the size of a small loom) with random stripes of several  silks from SanJo that are also cool natural colors, but matt–no sheen like the tussah.  One is smooth, another is boucle and the third has wonderful dark flecks in it.  The weft will be golden tussah, in the center of the photos.  It will become yardage for a top I hope to make…


But here’s my NEW DIRECTION–all caps because I am very excited about this!  At this time of year for the past 3 years— the threshold of late summer–I have become rather anxious and a bit cranky (might be an understatement) that my weaving time at home is rapidly diminshing.  This year I have even less to show for myself than previous years…  sigh…

Yesterday morning I was looking at some messages on Ravelry and then clicking on various links to other things.  Isn’t that the recipe for suddenly losing half a day?  Following various links on Ravelry, a site for knitters, I stumbled on Laverne Waddington’s website about backstrap weaving.  Here is the first photo that caught my attention.

Are these not WONDERFUL???  A little voice is saying to me:  Are these not exactly what you’ve been wanting to weave???  Book covers and handbags. The little voice again: That’s why you’ve woven and sewn two tote bags in the past year.  That’s why you took a class on making paper forms for handmade books… can do this….YOU can do this on a boat! 

Look how Laverne personalized these book covers with the initials of the lucky friends who will receive them!

There are lots of small bags on Laverne’s site too, and lots of simply beautiful pick up designs.  Go take a look!

Oh, be still my heart!  I think backstrap weaving might be a wonderful new direction for me.  It will fit on the boat.  It will satisfy my need to weave somewhat complex cloth.  It will allow me to continue my new interest in making book covers and handbags.  It is taking all my willpower not to make a loom right now…  I must stay focused on the wedding for 8 more days, then I can come home and get started!

Funny how things come to you when you need them.  I’ve known of Laverne for a number of years now.  She and I are in a number of the same online groups.  I see her stuff on these groups now and then and marvel at her beautiful weaving.  It just never occurred to me until now that this type of weaving may be the perfect solution to weaving onboard.

Whirlwind Tour of NEWS in a Summer that is Zipping Past

This year I decided against registering for NEWS, New England Weavers’ Seminar.  Instead, I thought I would make a day visit and include some good friends from my old stomping ground in New York and New Jersey.  I would give them a little taste of NEWS just before their own regional conference, MAFA (Mid-Atantic Fiber Association) began.

Here we are at the end of the day….a bit worse for wear, but so happy to be together and to have been so inspired by all the exhibits at the conference.

NEWS friends

We had a terrific time at NEWS, although I did feel a twinge of regret when I saw that Margo Selby was offering a class in double weave.  Take a look at the work she exhibited in the faculty show.  Who wouldn’t want to study with her??


Maybe I should start with the faculty show… This is Barbara Herbster’s work.


This is a repweave table runner by Lucienne Coifman from my own guild in Connecticut.  She is a superlative teacher, and someday I hope to study rep with her.


The Gallery Exhibit is always exciting, and I was particularly excited this year!  I won 5 awards for my tapestry “Sunset on Wilson Cove.”  It is most likely the last time I’ll exhibit this piece so I was pleased that it had quite a swan song.  The three awards that blew me away are “1st Place Tapestry and Transparency,”  “Judges’ Choice,” and “Peoples’ Choice.”  I am thrilled!  The other two are “First Time Entrant at NEWS” and “Best in Tapestry from the Textile Arts Center.” Can you tell how happy and surprised I am!


We all loved the upholstered footstool right below my tapestry, woven by Susan Wright. What great use of color.  It’s a beauty.


This stunning runner caught all our eyes.  Ruth Buchman manged to create a threading that is mirrored but gives such sense of assymetry.  Then her color choices were superb–greys and blacks with just the right touch of yellow that also gave a strong impression of assymetry.  So the piece has a calm balance in color and weave struture while also giving the impression that it is not symetrical.  Brilliantly done!


This is another of Ruth’s pieces in the gallery exhibit.  Stunning doubleweave.


This is Sarah Fortin’s double weave fabric.  I have no idea how she gets some areas to pleat and rise off the flat surface of the background fabric.  Beautiful colors and beautiful weaving.



IMG_1103IMG_1103This piece by Suzi Ballenger is stunning!  It has silk cocoons attached to it and the weaving was done with her open top beater tool that allows you to move warps, which creates the warp undulations in the fabric.


This fun–and beautiful– bag, called “Take Me Shopping” is by Karin Borden.


There was also a special exhibit of Mary Merrill’s tapestries woven over the decades from the 1950s when she began weaving until her death in the 1999.  Her family generously shares her work at gatherings like NEWS.  Look how fresh and lush her colors and her shape making are in these two works.  This was when I wished I could be at the conference for the entire weekend, so I could come back and visit more than once!



I’ve only been to NEWS twice now, and both times I have to say that my favorite displays are the guild tables.  Unjuried though they may be, the work is excellent, and both times I’ve been so inspired that I simply cannot take it all in.

Each guild chooses a theme for their display.  This year one guild did textiles inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, another displayed projects woven by one of their members who has passed away, and another guild woven projects based on personal memories.  There was a guild whose inspiration was gardening.  I have a photo of a curtain called “Spinach and Blackberry Salad” from that display. Our guild did a display of handbags based on the project that Area 4 did last year of weaving lunch bags and matching napkins to coordinate with a mug that belonged to someone else in the group.  It was a grab bag choosing of mugs, and then you designed and wove the lunch bag and napkin to give the member who owned the mug  you selected.  It was such a wonderful way to weave for someone else, and it honed our design skills along with our weaving skills.  My lunch bag was not part of the display since I gave it away last summer, but I have been so intrigued with making bags lately that I submitted my newly finished large tote bag for this display.  My photo makes the bags look like a bit of a jumble, and the lighting was harsh.  It was actually far more striking than it looks here.

Connecticut Guild’s display of Area 4 lunch totes and handbags.



The Frank Lloyd Wright display.



I think the next image may have been from a picnic themed project, although if so, I missed reading the details of what this group’s theme was.  Lovely weaving!– a basket tote and a handwoven band for your stawhat.


“Spinach Salad with Blackberries” from the gardening inspired display.


Stunning tableware woven by Jo Ann Miner.


None of us supported the vendors as we should have.  I hope they fared better with other visitors.  I was looking for some fine silk to add to my upcoming project for plaited huck blouse fabric, but  no one had what I needed.  I have some fine tussah silk from my stash as well as some silk I got last summer at Convergence from a vendor called “SanJo.”  I want to get the warp on sometime in August so I can get the fabric woven in time for a workshop in October with Sarah Fortin on sewing with handwoven fabric.

Why am not tackling that warp sooner?– BECAUSE we have our son’s wedding in less than three weeks!  I am feeling rather confident about my two wedding projects–the ring pillow is done!



And here is my wedding outfit.  The blouse is a vogue pattern for a boatneck tunic sewn by a wonderful seamstress in Amston, CT.  I then embellished it with silk ribbon embroidery to coordinate with the brown silk pants.


Want to see a closeup?  I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’


And to top off the outfit I am having some ballet slippers embroidered by a woman in Altanta who has an Etsy shop called AJuneBride.  My shoes will look something like this.

Well, I let this get absurdly long so I’ll stop for now even though I had lots more to say…  next post.

Summer’s Swan Song

A few images from our morning walk into Essex to have coffee at our favorite spot.

Today really feels like autumn, and I wore long pants for the first time this season.  All the gardens along our way are bursting with everything they’ve got in the last weeks before frost.  It is a breathtaking time of year!

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Sunflowers in a long border of sunflowers, zinnias, and roses.

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One of my favorite houses where the Kousa dogwood berries are framing a view of the front door.

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And right next door is my friend Jane’s house.  She has beautiful gardens, and at this time of year the focus is purple Russian sage and bright yellow sunflowers along her picket fence.

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Right near Jane’s house is a house where the older residents grow a very large vegetable garden.  To me it verges on being a farm.  They have pole beans, various types of squash, corn, tomatoes, and in late summer the pumkin vines grow almost out to the street.

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Clever Mr. Farmer has trained the longest vine onto his big apple tree.

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While having coffee we met a man who just returned from Portugal, where he and his family have a house in Nazare.  His wife was born there, so they visit each year, and he had lots of good advice for us.  I will get busy honing the details for our trip…

And on this first crisp day I will warp my new copper loom for the upcoming Joan Baxter workshop.  I am leaving tomorrow for a whole week at an inn in Rockport, Massachusetts, where 12 of us will spend time with Joan developing our individual cartoons for tapestries about the sea and the shoreline.  More on that when my idea gains some clarity.

Also, today, I am making the second batch of baguettes from the recipe in the current issue of “Cooks Illustrated.”  (If you want the recipe you have to buy this issue!) The first batch was the best baguette I have ever made myself (thank you CI!!).  I reached my goal of making a baguette that could rival Balthazar’s Bakery in NY….a goal I’ve been heading toward for decades!

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And while I wait for next round of dough to rise, I’m having a fresh tomato sandwich with mozzarella and basil on day old, lightly toasted, leftover baguette.  Hard to imagine anything better!

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Short Time and Underway…

That’s a phrase I hear every morning when we listen to the Cruiseheimer’s net on our sideband radio.  Boats on the move to new destinations….some heading north to get above the Florida border before hurricane season starts on June 1….or people headed ahsore for provisions and/or sight seeing.

One week from today I will be winging back to the US for a visit with my older son and his girlfriend at their home on the outskirts of Baltimore for a couple of days. In the meantime, we have a full  week of beautiful destinations planned as our final week aboard and as a tour of the Exuma chain for Rob and Kandice.

Before they arrived I tried to finish up on my small tapestry exercise of circles within circles….didn’t quite make it!



The piece will end in the area where the threaded bar is so I’m not too far from the finish line.  It’s been a fun project, but I guess I will have to spend some time on it at home.  I cannot bring it with me, so it will sail home with Bob.


On our walk to the airport to meet Rob and Kandice, we passed lots of roosters and chickens with their chicks.  There were big black roosters and white ones, and lots of colorful chickens.  The roosters are very good at avoiding our camera, and the chickens are pretty good too, although they are encumbered by their brood of little chicks following them around.  The best shot we could get was the backsides of a retreating family!


A very different kind of trip to the airport than what we normally experience! At the airstrip we sat in a gazebo to await Rob and Kandice’s arrival!


And then there was Rob, waving to us from what should be the co-pilot’s seat!  He had a wonderful time sitting next to Chester the pilot.  Rob took some amazing shots of the flight and videos on his Go Pro of the flight and the approach to Staniel Cay.  He even saw Pandora at anchor as they made their final approach.


The kids have played with the pigs on Big Major’s Spot, and we’ve seen just how quickly little piglets have grown! Bob probably could not pick up that little pink pig anymore!  Rob and Bob went snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto at low tide yesterday, and Rob took a lot of video of the fish and  a sea turtle that he swam with for a while outside the far end of the grotto.

We’ve seen some wonderful sunsets, some shooting stars, and some amazing clouds…



Today we will have a short sail to Over Yonder Cay.  This is a private island, beautiful beyond belief, and entirely self-supporting with their own energy.  There are three large windmills on this island….later today we will get a guided tour from the island manager, Ethan, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about how this stunning place operates.

The rest of our final week will include time at Warderick Wells, Compass Cay, and Shroud Cay.

My shawl is on the final repeat of the lace pattern….now what am I going to work on during my flights home?  Wondering if it’s still cold enough in Connecticut to wear wool/silk socks…


A Very Strange Post

This might be the strangest entry I’ll ever post here.  Perhaps too much information….but there you go.  I made a brief post almost three years ago that my father died very unexpectedly.  He chose to be cremated, and he asked that his remains be released at sea.  When he talked to me about this, long before it was on anyone’s mind that it could possibly become a reality, he suggested Long Island Sound.  He sailed there most of his short time as a sailor.  But during that short time when sailing was so important to him I knew that he longed for bigger and warmer waters.

At one point he and my mother bought property on the West coast of Florida, hoping to settle there and keep their boat there.  That never came to pass.  And at the time he passed away, he had no idea that Bob and I also had big plans to sail farther than our standard stomping grounds, from the Chesapeake to Maine.   My father was never interested in Maine.  He was a southern boy all the way through, and he never got used to living in the northeast.

So, over the past 2 1/2 years that he has resided on a shelf in my house….(I know, please don’t judge me!)…I have had an underlying knowledge that he would love to be set free in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.  His remains could travel the world in a way he’d always dreamed of doing in life.

My father and I always had issues, and I’m disappointed that we never could find a common ground while he lived.  At least in this I think I can make him happy.  My biggest regret is that my sister and my kids, who all loved him, cannot be with us to experience the moment.  I have told them all my best guess as to when I’ll be doing this…. it’s hard to be exact, even in the 21st century, when the plans involve sailing!  At the specified time this afternoon they will send positive energy out for their dad and granddad and say prayers.  It’s long overdue, and he deserves this.


“Parable of Immortality”

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
” There she goes! ”
Gone where?
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
” There she goes! ”
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
” Here she comes! “

                                                               — Henry Van Dyke