I do daily art, you know, and I gave some thought to how to do this while traveling. Most of the time this year I have been doing a separate small piece of stitching each day, working from my huge inherited stash of my friend Joanne's leftover fabrics. But I didn't want to have to prepare 35 pieces of fabric to take along. So I found four large pieces, packed a couple of skeins of white sashiko thread and worked a little bit each day.
The routine on a cruise ship varies depending on whether you're at sea or making a port stop for the day. On sea days there are more activities such as concerts and lectures, and I did a lot of stitching during those events. But where I really went to town was while watching the news.
There's a very limited repertoire of TV stations available on a ship, and our news choices were slim: Fox, MSNBC and BBC. For much of our cruise there wasn't much to look at, but then we struck news gold -- the former president was indicted twice and mugshotted once. For once there was actual news to be watched and discussed, and we were impressed by the legal experts assembled to explain the niceties of criminal procedure. Many of them were former federal prosecutors themselves, and I learned a great deal from them. And while I learned, I stitched.
As it turned out, I finished two of the four pieces I had brought along.
I was reminded that seed stitch -- the bulk of the top half of this composition, where the stitches go in every direction -- is surprisingly hard to do. If you want your little lines to look random, you have to think several stitches ahead to avoid a lot of parallel pairs. Not so much thinking as to take your mind totally off your music or news, but enough to slow you down considerably compared to running stitches.
I was not thrilled with how this piece turned out. The blanket stitch "railroad tracks" through the middle drew too much attention without being particularly beautiful, and the spirals didn't stand out all that much from their backgrounds. I think the drab neutral background would have been better with a colored thread or at least some colored accents, but I had nothing with me to do that. I was glad when I finished it.
I'll show you the other pieces in the next post.