Sunday, June 22, 2008



Even though pickings are slim here in Mexico for yarn and needles, check out these double points I picked up for around $2 US dollars each set! I keep breaking my skinny wood/bamboo sock needles because I carry them everywhere with me. So I ordered some Comfort Zone polymer dpn's from Knitting on the Go. I'm thinking these may be the solution.

Remember all the hoopla over Noni Fruit & Juice years ago? Well, folks here in Mexico are growing this ugly tropical fruit now and trying to cash in on the supposed health benefits. Here's a photo of what it looks like growing. Nope, I'm not choking any of that nasty stuff down anytime soon.

Fruit is everywhere this season! Here's Jonesy pointing to mangos hanging from a tree. Fresh, juicy, tree-ripened mangos are a summer treat! The year-round availability of fresh produce is one of the highlights of living in Mexico. Plus, if we stick to the types that the local folks traditionally use (tomatoes, onions, peppers, bananas, etc.) then we can eat cheap and well.

So, what's new with us? Well, we are just laid-back, end-of-season, exhausted cruisiers tucked into a marina, mesmerized by a steady diet of Internet surfing, TV shows, and Yacht Club food & beverages. Kinda like on vacation from our permanent vacation. But, we agreed that starting tomorrow (manana, always manana) we're going to start chipping away at some of the tasks on our list to get ready to head really south this fall.

I've been really busy designing for the upcoming Holiday Mystery Gifts 2008 Knitalong! Where are the photos you ask? Well, that would ruin the "Mystery" part of it wouldn't it? Thank goodness for the group of accomplished test-knitters who are testing the patterns. They sure have eagle eyes - and make good suggestions for improving the chart displays and wording.

The knitalong for my slip-stitch, guy-friendly Handsome Devil Socks on the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo! group is moving along nicely. The participants have created some great socks with their choices of yarn colors! There's still one more month of the knitalong, so if you're looking for a free sock pattern that's fast & easy join the group.

"Don't make open-air bathrooms" "It's in your hands"

These signs were posted in several places along the popular beach of Chacala Bay. Huh? What exactly is "in my hands"?

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Working the Salt Flats

We're busy running around Puerto Vallarta, meeting new instant friends on the bus, and chipping away on our "to-do" list for heading south this coming fall. In the meantime...please enjoy a little write up from a time when we didn't have internet this past cruising season.

Baja California
Here's one of the places we hung out a couple of months ago.

Bahia San Evaristo is a small cove with a few residents along the Baja California Sea of Cortez coast and is a favorite anchorage among us cruisers. Of course, it has all the natural beauty of the Sea of Cortez, but it also has some interesting sights.

Just over the hill from where we dropped the anchor are the salt flats. These are evaporation ponds where the workers let seawater come in - then wait for the intense desert sun to evaporate the water. What is left is sea salt - sparkling crystals with a slight pink tint. The cystals are raked into piles, then shoveled into large sacks.

Hmmm...I noticed that the sacks they were using were marked "azucar" - sugar - What? When I mentioned this to the workers they just laughed. Must be some kind of in-joke. Or rather, just the Mexican way - use whatever materials are available and assume folks are smart enough to figure it out on their own. Self-reliability.

They also got a chuckle out of the fact that I wanted to photograph them at work. It's just salt after all and their normal routine. They must have thought I was just a crazy gringa - northerner female.

Another interesting thing here (OK - to us gringos I guess) was that there was fresh water available here. Baja California Sur is a desert with very little fresh water. Here in San Evaristo, the water seeps up to the surface and creates an oaisis complete with palm trees. Not coconut palms like we see on the Mexican mainland tropical areas, but desert-type palms. There are a few houses (maybe "residences" is more descriptive - see photo) in this area which had some of the few vegetable gardens that I've seen in Mexico. Goats, chickens, dogs, children and burros wandered aound and occasionally checked us out. Our friends, Mike & Marilyn from the sailing vessel Lady Hawke walked the village with us. Here's a photo of Marilyn inspecting the gasoline powered fresh water well. Remember - this is really special - fresh water!

I tried to take some pictures of some of the many burros just wandering around the area but they just turned their backs on me. So we a have burro-butts photo. They seemed a little edgy - lots of braying going on and agressiveness towards each other so I kept my distance.

Back on the other side of the hill, Marilyn and I had a great chat with some local women. We are practicing our Spanish and learn so much by talking to folks who do not speak English at all - no cheating. I gave the little kids some toys and the older girl a spiral notebook of paper.

For the moms - I had retractable tape measures. These have been a big hit with both the men and the women! I'll need to stock up back in the city again for our trip south next fall.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Psychodelic socks

Here are the finished "Psychodelic Socks" from the yarn that I hand-dyed years ago. Wild things! These were my carry-along socks, went with me in my purse wherever we traveled.

All I did was put an old 10-gal fish aquarium out in the summer sun with 4 inches of water in it and a splash of white vinegar. I soaked the skein of yarn in this for about 20 minutes, then I sprinkled the dry Jacquard fabric dyes directly into the water/skein: yellow in one corner, pink in another, and blue in the center. Then the sun warmed the water and the slight breeze pushed the dyes around.

After a couple of hours I rinsed, and hung the skein out to dry. Next time, I'll either start with solid colored yarn instead of white, or help move the colors around. I think it's nicer not to have white spots. Anyway, what's a little wierd is that one sock has slightly more "yellow/green" in it. Oh well, they're a pair anyway.

I snapped this photo of Hugo polishing the stainless steel railing on our boat - with a toothbrush! Now THAT'S detailing! The guys are doing an excellent job getting Niki Wiki back into shape.

We had our first real rain last night and so far all day today. No thunder - just a steady dripping of fresh water from the sky. Jonesy's been busy on the computer ordering boat parts and other goodies online. We're having it all shipped to our son's house and will pick it up in July when we go north to visit.

Me? Oh, I ordered some "goodies" from Lacis - the Lyra lace pattern by Herbert Niebling has been reprinted - and for only $7!! And I couldn't resist the Kunst Stricken, Grosse Und Kleine Decken book -"A reprint of 20th c. Beyer "Kunstricken, Beyer-Band 361") consisting of 30 patterns by Herbert Niebling and Irmgard Sorensen with full charts. 16p w/ Portfolio (BV36) $27.00"!

Okay - must - go - knit ...

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Friends! New & Old

At the spur of the moment, my friend Lorna flew down to Puerto Vallarta! She joined her friend, Monica, at a high-end resort for a week of R&R - and a little telecommuting work for her latest knitting designs.

As Jonesy and I weren't actually in Puerto Vallarta yet we hoisted the anchor in beautiful Chacala and hustled (well, slow crawled is more like it) down to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle - near PV. A visit from a friend!! A knitting friend.

So Lorna and I began our time together by spending the day shopping - YARN & FABRIC & notions & CLOTHES in downtown PV. Ok, yeah, I know, not much yarn available, but we did find some new cotton yarns that were interesting. And we talked about knitting, and yarn, and our lives and changes and family. Female chat. Heaven.

I never knew before now that Lorna doesn't do bridges. But she braved this swaying old wood suspension bridge (probably because I told her yarn was on the other side). Actually, she had to cross TWO of these bridges! Very brave indeed.

The next day, both ladies gathered up their courage and rode the local busses with me from their super-deluxe, comfortable hotel to dumpy little La Cruz and our boat for a sail out on Banderas Bay. First stop, the taco stand at the bus stop. We wolfed down "barbacoa" beef tacos hot off the grill with the locals. The taco stand also delivers meals up over the wall/fence in the background of this photo to the grammar school on the other side by dangling bags over the top of the wall!

It was market day in La Cruz so on our way to the dinghy landing we took a stroll through the stands. Everything you never wanted was available - it's just mundane household stuff for the local residents. Unfortunately, Monica took a tumble in the road and bunged up her knee. She was very brave about it.

We dinghy'd out to the Niki Wiki and set sail. Here's Lorna and Monica on the bow - a la the movie Titanic.We sailed past their hotel, and over to downtown PV - then turned around and back to La Cruz. The wind came up and we had a great sail!!! Lorna relaxed in the cockpit and Jonesy and I enjoyed a long chat with Monica - our new friend.
A couple of hours, a little sunburn and visitor seasickness later, we anchored again in La Cruz. Brave ladies!!

Jonesy and I totally enjoyed our company - and making a new friend in Monica. It was fun to see the world, our lifestyle, and Mexico through a couple of fresh sets of eyes. Come back soon ya'll!! Miss you already!

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Handsome Devil Socks

Introducing....Handsome Devil Socks, modeled by Jonesy! This pattern is now the June/July sock on the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo! group - Free during the these summer months. See? I haven't been all that lazy - I just had to keep this a secret until June.

Anyway, my goals for this design were:

#1) Guy-friendly patterning
#2) Easy to knit
#3) Multiple sizing

It is a simple slipped-stitch pattern using 2 different colors of yarn, where you only work with one color at a time. To add interesting variety, you can choose to use a multi-colored yarn for one of the colors. I wrote the pattern in 3 adult sizes: Women's Medium, Women's Large/Men's Medium, and Men's Large. I knit the Men's Medium size for Jonesy in the photo (he wears a size 9 1/2 to 10 wide shoe).

So where are we now? Back safe in the marina in Puerto Vallarta that's where! Paradise Village - whooo hooooo! And we've been busy: getting internet connected, doing mega laundry, checking in with the port captain, buying a new TV 'cause the 2-year-old one died(!), and arranging for all of the services that we need for the boat before we head off to Panama this fall.

Here's Adrian and Hugo, two local marine services guys who are going to spend the next week of their lives polishing the fiberglass and the stainless steel on Niki Wiki. Big job. The ocean environment is tough on a boat. Sure, we could do it ourselves, but we don't have the electric buffing equipment and we want to spread some dollars around places that we visit.

Off to the laundrymat now - time to wash some of the blue winch covers and shade drapes in the cockpit. Doing laundry here is fun - Air Conditioning, ice cream, and knitting time.

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