Back a few years ago now, I met the aforementioned New Zealand woman (and long term Australian resident) in the upper deck lounge on the Mariner of the Seas. The ship itself was being repositioned from Galveston to the Far East with the first leg ending in Europe, the second in Dubai and the last, I believe in ending in Singapore. Jill was working on the most amazing cross-stitch called Fish City (link here) which is an amazing Stewart Moskowitz design. Each one of those fish has character, each unique. I was in awe.
The downside was that I decided that I might just want to start cross-stitching again. It was a craft I had done when Shana was in elementary school and had really fallen by the wayside. Admittedly, I still had supplies on hand; moved from Germany to the US to Germany to the UK (with more than one stop in the Middle East) back to Germany. But it looked like something I was interested in starting up again. And, there is a real limit to how many knitted hats shawls, scarves and sweaters one needs. Especially when a relocation to the US loomed in our future. With that relocation to a much warmer area was going to take a way the need for most of my wooly lovelies.
So – cross-stitching. I started and finished a few things over the last 3-4 years. And have a few things left to finish. Stitched a number of fractals, stitched a couple of small scenes on request for one daughter’s wall. Collected more than a few patterns and a lot of supplies which more or less sat while I spent a lot of the last couple of years with machine embroidery and grad school.
But then Jill, once again, suckered me in. She sent me a picture of a Randal Spangler pattern that she was stitching. I fell in love with with silly little dragonling who was attacking a keyboard. Yes – dragons and computers and total insanity. The patterns were produced from the original artwork by Heaven and Earth Designs. And they were having a sale. Need I say more? I bought a set of four patterns and am working on the first one.
But the virtual lounge?
Turns out that both Jill and I are on Apple products. FaceTime is a great way to connect. There are a few time zone considerations – what is 1600 on Wednesday for me is 1000 on Thursday for her. But we can stitch over FaceTime and chat with each other. I do miss the lounge, and her husband Graham who very kindly make the coffee and water runs so that we didn’t have to risk someone else moving into our chairs. But this works wonderfully. It is easy to see each other’s progress. She can see my chair and bookshelf (oh, whoop) and I get the occasional glimpse out her balcony onto a Gold Coast beach and a portion of the Pacific.
Ok, I can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and by extension the Pacific Ocean from my living room window. But you get the idea. But it makes stitching a bit more fun, keeps me on track. It is almost obvious, I know people who use FaceTime, WhatsApp, and other modes to talk to family on a daily basis regardless of where else they are in the world. But stitching together, an obvious extension of this, just took that extra jump of imagination. The same idea would work for knitters, model train builders, just about any craft where you know someone else in another location. Seeing + talking makes communication just so much easier.