Recently one of my oldest friends starting seeing a life coach. In one of the sessions the coach asked if she’d rather work or go on vacation. My friend answered that she’d rather work! She is a sculptor and painter. When I gave this a mere moment of thought, I realized I would answer the same. So, here I am in the depths of winter, living on a boat while visiting numerous Caribbean islands, and what I want to do everyday is work!
I have more projects onboard than I can possibly finish in the 3+ months I’ll be down here, but each year when I promise myself I’ll only bring what I can actually accomplish, I break that promise. This year is no exception. Somehow I want to finish one tapestry and start and finish a second one, quite small, but still. I brought 8 oz of merino/silk to spin (so far the only finished project!); three sweaters, two to continue and one to make from start to finish (half done with that one); two embroideries, and a basket to start (and finish, of course). I couldn’t complete these projects at home in three months, even if I worked 12 hours a day! But it’s hard to choose what to bring. And don’t you know, even with all I brought, I pine for the things I didn’t bring!
One day recently, when I was recuperating from the seasick meds I take, I lay on one of our settees watching a couple of hours of youtube videos on various techniques in bobbin lace. I know I cannot do bobbin lace on this boat–but that doesn’t mean I can’t wish I had a pillow here to try.
This year, since we have starlink to stay in contact, I have also started a tapestry study group with six of my students from previous live classes. Setting up the scene for doing these zoom meetings is a little more challenging on a boat than at it is at home.
It’s a feat of Rube Goldberg-ness. I have my computer on our dining table, sitting on both a cutting board and a box in order to get it at the right height to see more than the top of my head. My tapestry in progress, which has some bamboo skewers inserted in an empty space in order do demonstrations of techniques, if needed, is sitting on a table top easel on top of an ottoman. In this photo I haven’t yet set up the cable to my mobile phone on a reticulating arm that faces the tapestry as a 2nd camera for when I might need to do demos. Bob had a big hand in gathering all these random props to get things just the way I needed.
Tomorrow is our second session. I am now in a less protected anchorage, and we are rolling sideways quite dramatically. I will try to set up in the cockpit so I don’t get seasick down below. Meanwhile I am a little worried that the students may not feel good themselves watching the horizon roll side to side behind me. Fingers crossed….
Spinning onboard is the easiest activity. I can look out at the horizon and keep myself oriented. I’m using an EEW Nano 2 from Dreaming Robots. It’s hard to believe that something so tiny and lightweight could work so well, and it doesn’t slide around as I draft out the fibers.
I did a poor job winding on my first bobbin. I forgot that I need move the hooks often when I’m spinning without a Woolee Winder which does the winding automatically. My next three bobbins got a lot better!
And those three sweaters onboard… I’d like to finish one of them! The two that were in progress when I put the materials onboard are a design by Martin Storey, which is a summer loose wrap type sweater made with two yarns held together–one linen and one cotton–called “Skylark.”
The other is a Kate Davies design called “Auchnaha,” also a loose wrap type sweater.
It would be wonderful to finish one of these to wear in spring when I return home to New England. On the other hand, it would also be great to wear this vest which I started onboard with my advent yarn from Kate Davies. Can you see the faint ‘shadow’ work in this? This is the left front/back, so I’m half finished with the vest, which is closer to completion than the other two sweaters. The right side of this vest has entirely different colors in it. What you see on the left side of this photo is not the armhole. It’s the neck opening with the collar already knitted into it. It’s a clever design, inspired by a design from one of the most clever knitters–Vivan Hoxbro.
Recently I returned to embroidery, which I haven’t touched in years. When conditions are calm I can do close work. This is a kit from Melbury Hill in the UK. Years ago when I bought this kit I could have chosen any of their designs, which are all Arts and Crafts inspired. I guess I settled on bluebells because I got to see a ‘bluebell wood’ the last time I visited England to see my friend Lesley. A truly amazing sight! I may finish the flowers today. Then I’ll have another completed project under my belt.
As I write this Bob is ashore checking Pandora in to Dominica. We spent almost a week in Deshaies, Guadeloupe, after about 3 weeks in Antigua, in English Harbour, Falmouth, and Jolly Harbour. I miss the calm harbors of Antigua. No wonder the English were so successful there. Calm harbors with great defenses against attackers. I’ve been onboard exactly a month today.
I have done a few things in the category of sightseeing, but since this is our 7th winter down here, I don’t feel compelled to revisit everything. We see rainbows multiple times a day, and Bob records all of them with his camera. We spent a delightful day at the botanical gardens in Deshaies, Guadeloupe. This year I only took photos of birds and fish. I took the bird photos for my friend who has had a Nandico parrot for more than 30 years. If we rent a car while here in Dominica, we will visit the Kalinago community, and I will enjoy seeing their stunning baskets. Hopefully I’ll bring a few home to give to my basket making friends. There is a lot to do here, in the depths of winter, but I’d always rather be making something with my hands most days. I’d rather work!