Reeling It In

Here's a picture of my latest finish, a Julie Pischke canvas that I refer to as the Striped Bass. It's done all in basketweave with a darning cotton for the blue background, Caron Waterlilies for the outside of the fish, ribbon floss for the white and a blue metallic. Even though it doesn't look quite like the model I saw in Julie's shop,
I think my son will like it when it's made into a pillow.
This project has been a work in progress since August, 2005 when we went to Key West after dropping my oldest son off for his sophomore year at the University of Miami. We had two great days at the beach, enjoyed a sunset cruise and ate key lime pie. I got to spend a very happy hour in Julie Pischke's shop although I didn't know then that the helpful shop owner was also the designer of the pieces I bought.
We had heard that a hurricane was coming, but it was expected to hit in Fort Lauderdale, about 200 miles to the north of us. On the last day of our Key West vacation, I awoke around 6:00 and saw rain coming down in sheets. My husband got up a little later and wanted to get on the road. The storm had worsened since I woke up and we made the decision to stay put. A good thing because when I called the hotel in Miami to cancel our reservation for that evening, they told me they didn't have electricity. Around noon we lost electricity in our hotel which meant that the only way to get to the lobby was on stairs that were located on the outside of the building. My husband had the presence of mind to prop our door open when we went out since of course the electronic lock didn't work. Our room had windows on both the courtyard and the street sides so we got some relief from the heat occasionally. I spent the afternoon stitching on the striped bass and watching the palm trees being whipped around in the courtyard. My husband and I were up about every hour during the night as we needed to get out early in the morning to catch our flight out of Miami. We managed to get up on time and get our other two children into the car. As we drove north, water was coming up over the sea wall and we thought we were in for a rough trip. But 20 minutes up the road, the roads were dry and a gas station was open. The rest of the trip was fine until we got closer to Miami and palm trees were down along the sides of the road. We were waved through toll booths. When we got to the hotel we would have stayed in, the street next to it had minor flooding and the traffic lights were out. Still, we made it to the UM campus and were able to rouse our son out of bed to say goodbye before heading to the airport. A huge tree near his dorm had been uprooted. I had taken a picture of our three kids standing next to it just a few days before. We couldn't find another gas station open and dropped off our rental car with less than a full tank, but we made our flight on time. That was Katrina when it was still a Category I storm and we watched in horror as it gained momentum and caused so much destruction on the other side of the Gulf a few days later. So this project reminded me to be thankful for our blessings and to be helpful to those who lost so much.

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