Friday, July 20, 2012

Studio On the Go

Studio transformation
Dealing a new hand
In addition to being a tidy, a thrifty, and a whiz -- well, that's how one of our granddaughters summed up her own impression of her gram -- Anita is a yarn aficionado and a fabric fanatic.  Underway she's always fondling needles or hooks, decorated with multicolored string. At anchor her creative side blossoms and she transforms Sweet Pea's saloon into a sewing studio. If you're wondering how she manages to cram all her stuff into our small sailboat, just remember she is talented in tidiness, thriftiness and wizardry.

A tidy box that lives inside one of the tubs

It starts in the quarter berth with two bins that hold supplies and tools, categorized by her own unknowable algorithms. When she dives into her bins and plucks out smaller and smaller boxes each organized by color or content, I'm reminded of nesting Russian dolls. Now and then I'm called on to contribute by lugging the bins into the saloon where she shuffles the stuff like a deck of cards and draws a new hand. This tells me that a new project is on the horizon and soon we'll be plucking a different color of thread off the upholstery.

Janome tackles a baby quilt at anchor in Three Mile Harbor

Janome spits out a new pillow
Her Janome Gem Gold sewing machine is a marvel of engineering, compact but powerful with all sorts of cryptic symbols for this stitch or that. It hums along, powered by the inverter, so no shore power is required. I've borrowed it to restitch a sail and do some canvas repairs and can attest to its adaptability. The throat and the stitch length are both a bit short for big projects but it certainly seems willing to learn a new trade.

Her kit also includes an iron -- funny smells drift forward when it heats up -- and plastic rulers in all shapes and sizes.

Sunbeams on a project with Biscuit hiding in the corner
Her killer tool is a rotary cutter, as sharp as broken glass and as dangerous as a rattlesnake. Early in our cruising life she was sitting cross-legged in the cockpit, cutting strips for a quilt when a small slip put a lifetime gouge in the cockpit locker's cover. Occasionally I eye it, 22 years later, and shudder at how close that came to doing real damage. Now she restricts her cutting up to a real cutting mat on the saloon table. No slips with that and she still has all her fingers.

Biscuit is still aboard.
One of my favorite pillows by Anita.
For years we had an Airadale Terrier who went from puppy to grand old lady aboard our previous sailboat. Biscuit considered herself fully part of the crew but liked to jump ship at every opportunity, especially if the stench of dead fish wafted aboard from a nearby beach. After a romp and roll she would swim back, expecting to recover from doing her duty by snoozing below for a while. At the command, "hard alee" she would sigh mightily and change settees before drifting off again. I suspect the sound of spinning winches were her clue but she never missed a tack. Now, despite being long gone, she still sails with us but she always sits on the starboard settee, even when we come about.

Anita Kinnears the Harvey Gamage
We've finally found a way to bring our knitting and cruising worlds together. In the knitting world "Kinnearing" is to have a celebrity – well, really, any recognizable brand-name person – hold up a pair of hand-knitted socks while the knitter captures the triumph in a photo. It is a bizarre celebrity sighting sort of thing, the name of which (as I understand it) derives from Greg Kinnear, who was apparently the first celeb to be sock stalked.

In my cruising world the true celebrities are the vessels. While I loathe celeb sighting announcements, I must point out that in Essex the Harvey Gamage, an ocean classroom that I first saw in Bequia, was anchored near our course. I consider any ship with such graceful lines to be famous and Wikipedia agrees. Anita Kinneared the Harvey Gamage, forever tying the loop of our passions. Snazzy socks, eh?

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