Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Don't Need No Stinking Swift

Yeah, you heard me - I don't need no stinking yarn swift. I've got the helm on the boat. See? See how the hank of red yarn sits on the steering wheelie thingy that's covered in canvas? And my arms and hands are my ball winder. Okay, so I did use those tools at Knitting Camp earlier this month, but who wouldn't with 2500 yards of laceweight yarn to ball up?

We're in the middle of a heatwave here in California so I thought it's time for me to dig out some worsted weight wool and knit up a man's sweater! Actually, last Saturday, in the air-conditioned comfort of our local yarn store, a fellow knitter was working on a sweater of worsted weight wool and I just couldn't stand it anymore. My fingers itched to knit a gansey or aran. Yep, needed some good old wool with plenty of vegetative matter in it flowing through my fingers.

This is the "Land & Sea" sweater from Cottage Craft Fine Woollens in the Black Cherry colorway. I knit out in the cockpit of the boat when the breeze comes up, late at night when it's cooler, and in the air conditioned car.

Speaking of cars...Jones took me out for an adventure today! We went to TWO small grimy machine shops complete with guys with tattoos and long greasy hair - so cool! My dad used to drag me around town to these sorts of places when I was a kid. I just love the smell of machinery and oil!! Plus, it's facinating that out of all this massive dirty machinery comes perfect little metal parts made to your specifications. These guys are artists.

Then, Jones took me to the Industrial Surplus Store!! Rows and rows of bins of hardware, some rusty, most dusty, really wierd stuff, really large stuff for shipbuilding too. I actually bought some nylon thread to knit up some stowage bags/hammocks for the boat. Too soon though it was time to return to the boat and get to work (Jones worked - I knit). I helped a little bit.

Actually, Jones had me get INTO the dingy which is hanging off the back of the boat to try and fit the new cover on the dingy. There I was...hanging over the water some 8 feet, wobbling, hanging just by 2 ropes (lines) and the new davits. After that adventure Jones said he was now relieved to know that the dingy wouldn't be a problem hanging on the back of the boat when we're underway if it gets swamped with ocean waves - afterall, it held up while I was in it!!! So now he knew that the glued-on metal rings on the dingy would hold weight. Hmmmm...

Monday, July 24, 2006


GO GIRL - Sandi's Mega Project

Whoooo Hoooo! Here's my good buddy, Sandi and her now prize-winning Weekend Getaway Satchel she knit and felted this past year. Isn't that a work of art? The pattern is in Interweave Knits magazine Fall 2005.


This picture was taken of her strutting her stuff at the TKGA Fiber Fest in Oakland. Sandi just found out that she received a 5th prize for this bag at the California State Fair!!! This was her 1st time to enter anything - and she gets an award!


Saturday, July 22, 2006


Girls just gotta have fun

Whew! It was certainly hot and muggy today! I woke up this morning to RAIN coming in the hatch over our bed (berth) on the boat. Rain in California in the summertime??? How bizarre. Today, our friendly local yarn shop Bonita Knitting had "free clinic" hours for knitters to drop by and work out knitting issues - or just sit and knit in the air conditioning. So off I went.
This is a sample of "Armenian Knitting" that we did at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp (Retreat 2.75) last week. The idea is that you can knit motifs in the round stranding the unused yarn over LARGE areas. The "blip" from catching the strand every 4th stitch or so is supposed to show thru unlike traditional Fair Isle knitting.

Joyce Williams has done some beautiful garments using this technique and together with Meg, will be having a "little book" published soon through Schoolhouse Press.

Check out the inside of the hat - see all the stranding? I figured that since I had to (to keep in the technique - nobody forced me - no knitting police) keep stranding, I might as well use the availability of the purple yarn to create a star on the top with the vertical double decreases.

A fun part of the camp experience is to knit an item up according to a theme that is decided in the prior year. This wasn't done in the Camp 1 last year so I didn't know what to expect. Anyway, the theme was anything related to movies. Hmmm... I don't go to the movies. What do people knit? Large items? Small stuff? Serious? Funny? Crudola, I was on my own to figure something out. Time passed. No project. I decided on a popcorn box theme...took the yarn with me to camp.
Do you often get cold in the movie theatres when they crank up the air conditioning? Have you every taken a shawl or cardigan to cover up? What about your "front"?? So, I designed & knit...

"Theatre Hooter Heaters"

Fun knit popcorn boxes to cover your "frontal" area for extra warmth. Comes in small, medium, large, and mega bucket sizes.

Yeah, I know..."You Knit WHAT?"

Girls just gotta have fun.

Knitting on....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


the Light Bulb Store?

The Light Bulb store? Isn't that kinda like the Scotch Tape store on Saturday Night Live? Well, believe it or not, we had to make a trip to this place today to buy some rather special bulbs for the boat because they all had been recently "fried" by the electrical system.
Yep, while I was away at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, Jones & Ray were uncovering massive & dangerous wiring issues on the Niki Wiki - to the extent that a large part of the boat was wired BACKWARDS! Yikes!! So, as they worked to upgrade the electrical systems (added an inverter), they kept coming across shorts, cut wires, and the lack of circuit breakers on some systems. Anyway, we blew out our deck lighting which are very expensive bulbs. To save some $$$ we went to the Light Bulb store instead of the marine supply house. Wow! Saved lots of money which is a good thing because I spent lots of money at knitting camp on yarn--whoo hooo!

Knitting Camp was wonderful! I'm in awe of the talent and skills some of the other campers displayed via the Show & Tell sessions. Meg, the grand Poobah of knitting, was her usual naturally charming and encouraging self. I was so inspired that I broke my yarn diet and indulged in the purchase of some beautiful yarns & accessories:

Here we are at camp - let the challenge begin!

Check out the beautiful Rose of England lace shawl that Meg knit recently - so striking!

We had access to many of the sweaters that Meg, and her mother the late Elizabeth Zimmermann knit. This is the Norwegian Rose Cardigan.

Gotta go knit!

Monday, July 10, 2006


Niki & Niki Wiki

Niki, affectionately known as Niki Wiki, died quietly last week. He was active and pesky right up to the end - even trying to knock a taco out of my sister's hand just days before he died. He led a long and full life - 19 years, which for an outside kitty is pretty dang good. And with appropriate timing, we finally got the boat's new name - Niki Wiki - lettered on the back of the boat.

It's Official now - both the boat and the documentation have the new name. Here we are with the graphic artist and the newly applied name. It's hard to see in these pictures, but the "dot" over the first letter "i" in Niki is a cat's paw print. As the boat is named after our beloved pet, we thought it would be fun to add the paw print. So Niki will travel on with us on our cruises.

Finished the Pacific Northwest Shawl !! It really was a fun (although tedious at times) project - and has gotten me inspired to start another lace project. Oh wait, I have a lace project on the needles already. Coolness.

Here's a pic of the unblocked shawl on the deck.

OK - how do you block a large shawl on a sailboat? I remembered seeing pictures of shetland shawls stretched out on frames, and I know some folks use wires, so I thought why not string it up on nylon cording? That's what I did. I threaded the nylon cord onto a blunt needle and wove it into the top edging of the shawl. Then I did the same thing only I just picked up the tips of the shell edgings. I then tied the whole thing to the aft radar arch on the boat. Ta-da!

See the shawl here?

And of course, here's the requisite photo of the finished shawl blowing softly in the evening breeze....

It is so light, airy, and soft.

Our first guest on the boat was my dad - he came down for a few days while there were work crews at his house in Palm Desert doing some remodeling. We had a GREAT time - he took me out to dinner at marvelous restaurants and talked to me only when I wasn't counting knit stitches. Jones was at the Chicago race giving his VIP tours so it was nice to have the company.
Knitting camp in 3 days - yippeeee!!!

Harry - First Official Niki Wiki visitor

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


She Goes Up High

Well, it was my turn to climb up on the radar arch yesterday, way up high, and re-install the rear tail on the wind turbine. I had to drill two holes in the aluminum tail (Oooo power tools!), then line up the holes on the new plastic tail, then bolt the two together. What a workout!! It took a long time to drill through the solid aluminum and holding up the battery operated drill way up over my head was an arm-killer.

Whew - I earned my "time off", so I sat in the cockpit and knit up a quick chemo cap as part of our knitting guild's community project. As a past chemo recepient and baldy, I wanted to make a summer weight hat that would come down over those little triangle spots in front of the ears where the newly shed hair leaves pale bald spots. I used to be so self-conscious about those pale bald spots - and the bald nape of my neck. So, I wanted to have a more relaxed fit around the face. They yarn is "Fantasy Naturale" 100% Cotton by Plymouth Yarn and is very soft and drapes nicely knit up on size 9 needles. This little project has been on my "to do" list for about 8 months so it was fun to be able to knock it out on a nice 4th of July afternoon.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Netting News

Because a sailboat heels over (gets tippy) when sailing, we have to secure our "stuff". My library of knitting books, and a few fishing, sailing, and cookbooks sit above our bed (aft berth) on a large shelf. So, I came up with this netting solution to keep them from falling off during our cruising travel.

It's 2 shock cords (bungee) with hooks that clip onto brass handles on either side of the shelf (that Jones kindly installed) with netting inbetween. I got the idea from the trunk nets for grocery bags that came with my Honda Civic. The shock cords were fairly straight forward to make. I bought a whole spool of this stuff on eBay for about 1/4 of what they want for it at the marine store. The cord is from the upholstery store - I think it is for drapery cords. Anyway, learning to "net" was a new adventure.

It's kinda like learning to knit - first, I have to load the "shuttle", then "cast on" to the shock cord, then work each row. And like when one learns to knit, it is very brain-taxing!! There are very few resources on netting - a few on the internet, and a couple of pages in some of the broader needlecraft books. Now that I've got the basics, I'm already planning several little net projects for the galley cabinets! Whoo yooo - more projects! I've also been playing with some knots and made a couple of lanyards for our pelican shackles. The lanyards give you something to grab onto to pull the shackle open (plus they look really nautical). I've handed out some of my first efforts to acquaintances in the marina to use either as shackle lanyards or key chain fobs.

Jones started reading our new "Chapman Piloting & Seamanship" book, chapter by chapter. At first he read sections out loud to me and I thought, "cool", I don't have to read it - just give me the important tidbits.

Hmmm, that probably won't work. When he was reading about the definition of nautical terms he "read" that a "wench" was the female on board that does anything the captain asks. What? What? Naw, I don't think so. Not on this boat.

Well, we had a couple of near-disasters yesterday. First, someone fell off the boat into the water between the dock and the boat!!! It was one of Jones' marina friends...two guys (both named Dave) drove their dinghy over to visit after having a few "refreshments"on their boats. As they climbed the steps to the boat, one of the Daves caught the front of his sandal sole on the toe rail, lost his balance, and fell. Thank goodness he landed in the water and not on the cement dock!The other Dave and Jones had to haul him out of the water. The only injury was to his toe - a little blood - and of course, to his man-pride. He's all right - walking around fine today.

Then, our water pressure pump kept coming on even though we weren't using any faucets. Were we low on water? OK, let's fill the tanks. That done, we turned the water pressure pump back on and, crud, it was still cycling on and off for no good reason. Jones checked the bilge - nice and dry. Next, he checked all the water sources - galley, heads, icemaker, wetbar - no drips. Puzzle. Bummer, do we need to replace the pump too now??? Another trip to the marine supply store and the slamming down of the credit card on the counter??

Finally, hours later, Jones discovered that there was water dripping down the front of the cabinet door to the washing & dryer. In the big hurry to get Dave a towel after his drenching, Jones had grabbed a towel from the cabinet and accidently nudged the water faucet handle to the "on" position. Because we use that cabinet as our towel storage area, it had dripped for hours unnoticed as the towels soaked up the water. OH!!! There's WATER & a FAUCET in there! Duh!!! We haven't used the washing machine yet so it never ocurred to us to check for water leakage in there!!!

Now, I need to devise a cover for the knobs so that won't happen again. Space is precious, we need to be able to store towels there.

And, finally, a picture of the completed child's gansey.

Knit on...

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Chain Gang

Yep, we got ourselves a cart of chain - big ole chain for our anchor. 218 feet of it to be exact and weighing about 300 pounds! Big, long, heavy chain sinks to the bottom and provides additional anchorage safety. We didn't have enough on the boat to anchor in the deeper anchorages of Catalina Island and Baja California so we bought this from a fellow boater one dock over. His junk - our treasure.

Cost? $1.50 per foot used. Cost if new? $5.44 per foot plus tax!!! Who wants to pay over $1000 for chain? Not me. This stuff will last longer than we will.

The 4th of July weekend is in full swing - lots of people on their boats with parties and lots of drinking. I think I'll stay close to the boat. Oh heck, gotta confess that I hung out this evening on a new friend's boat with a rum and diet coke. But I didn't "party" - OK, maybe I did boogie dance a couple of times but that was just fancy walking.

Knitting content: Finished the little child's gansey sweater - all blocked. Still plodding on the PNW shawl. Accidently swung it in front of the fan which promptly sucked in the laceweight yarn and wound it around the blades. So, spent a half hour taking the fan apart and unwrapping the yarn. Then had to spit splice back to the shawl. Started knitting, then promptly screwed up on the stitch count. No wonder I hit the bottle this evening.

Other fiber arts: Been teaching myself how to do knot work so that I can make nets and knots for the boat. My first projects were lanyards for the lifelines. Now, I've designed and am netting a double shock cord with net to "hug" all my knitting books that line the aft stateroom. I'll get some pictures up tomorrow...

Knit on

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