Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Blisters on Bottom!

So, guess where we are now? Nope, not cruising, we're holed up in the Howard Johnson's Hotel while the Niki Wiki is on the hard in the boatyard next door, still in Puerto Vallarta.

What should have been a simple 2-day bottom painting job has turned into a major hull overhaul as we had blisters in the fiberglass on the bottom. The worker guys are taking ALL the many layers of anti-fouling paint off of the bottom in order to repair the damage. Then they will epoxy the blister holes, paint several coats of barrier paint, then several coats of anti-fouling paint. Ouch$$$$

Oh well, she's an old boat and blisters are fairly common on these hulls. But we'll have a beautiful hull by next week and off we'll go!

Here's my latest contribution to the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo! group knitalong - Fair Isle Holiday Ornaments. These are quick to knit out of KnitPicks Palette fingering weight wool. I've got some more variations of these coming soon to the group. You know, this designing knitting stuff sure takes a lot of time! I have a new respect for published patterns now - even for the simplest of patterns.

Oh...and speaking of Fair Isle, I finally got pictures of the Elizabeth Zimmermann Signature Tote that I knit up last summer as my contest entry for knitting camp. The theme was "The Devil Wears Zimmermann" so I knit a "designer" tote, like Coco Channel and her "CC".

It is mostly garter stitch, which EZ loved, with her initials worked in intarsia on the front. The back is a garter stitch mitered square which uses decrease to shape as in the Baby Surprise Jacket. Finally, like the hems of many EZ sweaters, the gussets contain stranded work that spells out "Retreat 2.75 2007" and "Knit On"- an EZ phrase. Lots of fun to knit!! Oh, and of course it's WOOL.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Crocs & Caps & Chickens

I finally finished the "Jaunty Cap" design for the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo! group knitalong. Whew! The shaping of the crown so that it is higher in the front than back was easy to calculate - short rows to the rescue. It was figuring out the amount of stitches to increase for the bill that was giving me fits. My first attempt had a bill that went straight down and covered your eyes!! Not good - not enough stitches. Next was a ruffled bill, way too many stitches. Finally I got it just right (or so I think - other folks may want something different, and they can just go do it themselves).

I thought it would be cute to add things like buckles or buttons to the front of the cap so I tried out a leather strip with buttons.

Also recently posted to the group is my Lacy Jar Bonnet. Many folks give homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and baking mixes as gifts so I thought it would be fun to add a little lace bonnet to the top of the mason jars (I seem to be "thinking" a lot lately). Plus, the recipent can use it as a doily later - or as one of the group members suggested - starch it for a Christmas Tree decoration! This is knit with one skein (27 yards) of Size 5 DMC perle cotton floss so the color selection is gigantic!

During a recent trek into downtown Puerto Vallarta I found that the Parisina fabric store now has circular knitting needles in stock (aluminum with very flexible plastic cables). Of course there were only 3 sizes (3.5, 4.0. 4.5mm diameters) and only one length - 80cm. But, I bought a couple anyway because they were only 79 pesos - or about 70 CENTS in US money!!!

A few days ago there was a crocodile here in the swimming beach area of the resort. Usually, they stay up in the murky waters of the canals and lagoons, but it's not unheard of to have them venture out to sea a bit. No problem - the hotel staff took care of it. Here's a pic of the sign I pass everyday - Forbidden to Feed Crocs.

How stupid must someone be to even think about feeding these wild critters? Obviously, folks were doing it because the marina felt it was necessary to put up a sign.

But what if someone really wanted to CATCH a crocodile? How would you do it? Well, with the TLC - Tastes Like Chicken crocodile lure of course! This dandy rubber chicken lure is hanging on the bulletin board in the Vallarta Yacht Club. The sign goes on to say that it is most effective if trolled slowly while blowing a high pitched whistle. Nope, I'm not even thinking about it.

But, speaking of chickens, look what you get in that icky bag of misc. other chicken parts that is usually tucked up inside of a whole raw chicken. Yep - those are the feet! Here in Mexico you can even buy them separately. No thank you.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Camouflage Cat

Yeah, Opal thinks she's hiding among the balls of KnitPicks Palette yarn from my latest design work. Don't the colors of the yarn match her fur? Now I wonder if her calico coat is where I got the idea for this particular colorway for my swatch in the photo below.

I spent a good hour clearing off the counter behind the setee on the boat and within a few moments she discovered this spot and claimed it for herself. Oh well, keeps her off of my computer keyboard! She's only "ours" for a few more days, then her real peoples will be back here in Mexico to claim her. I hope she's had a good time at the Niki Wiki summer camp!

We've survived the summer of HOT & HUMID - wait, it's still 97 degrees and 75% humidity. But in just a few weeks we will be allowed out of the marina to cruise again!!! Whooo hoooo!

In the meantime, we've been keeping busy with some local travel around the Puerto Vallarta area, to Ixtapa. Where's Ixtapa? Who knows - so we boarded a bus that had Ixtapa listed as one of it's destinations. After a bumpy climb up the mountain on a rutted and rocky dirt road, the bus stopped in Pittillal. Dang. End of the line again! We had to wait for another bus to begin it's route DOWN the mountain and over to Ixtapa.

So we wandered around a little up in this remote area. These pink/purple pom-pom flowers were everywhere. During this wet, green season, there are fewer flowers than during the dry season so it was nice to see some color. check out the termite mud tunnels on this dead tree! Termites are one of the reasons why homes here are built with cinderblocks and cement. No wood! We've seen extensive damage to furniture and wood trimmings here in the tropics due to termites. Nasty little critters.

And speaking of critters, here's a pic of some of the neighborhood chickens looking for good eats (bugs) in the lush growth. I wonder how local folks keep track of whose chickens are whose? Chickens are everywhere!

Also, all around Mexico, there are beautiful, polished, wood posts decorating bars and restaurants. These decorations have creeping vines of other wood wrapped around a main trunk. We found this tree in a field which shows how these wooden posts are created naturally! So, they peel off the bark of both the vine and the tree, polish it up, and voila!

Soon the bus was ready to take us to Ixtapa. Jonesy waited by the bus to make sure they didn't leave without us. Just another day in paradise.

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