Monday, June 22, 2009


From Boring to S#@! in 60 seconds

From a rather dull morning, we suddenly had a wild ride! A serious squall came up and many of the sailboats anchored out in the harbor started to drag their anchors and take walkabouts. Unfortunately, the marina was downwind from quite a few of these wanderers! The high winds drove a catamaran right up to the bow of our boat. We felt pretty helpless standing on the bow with the wind blowing and the waves crashing and this big boat moving towards us. Check out the mean-looking clouds beyond!

But as luck would have it, the catamaran's propellor got caught on one of our lines that is secured the the "heavy thing" on the bottom. This was actually a good thing. It held them about 3 feet away from us. And that's where they rode out the squall.

When it was safe, a diver went down, untangled them, and another boat towed them away out into the harbor to re-anchor. Whew! I had to stop knitting for about an hour...geeeez!

As for knitting...I whipped up another pair of socks for the Akkol Orphanage kids. These are knit from a combination of leftover commercial sock yarns (Opal and Regia) with a strand of a handspun single ply yarn held together. Years ago, I visited a hand-spinning guild up in northern California. There, I picked up for about $5, a baggie full of hand-spun singles.

I think that the ones I used for these socks were naturally colored - one was a very tightly spun wool, and the other was a another tightly spun alpaca (I think). Anyway, I like the combination and they turned out really soft. Okay...time to walk through town over to the shopping center. We need to make an exciting purchase...a new garden hose nozzle for our raw water washdown system. Does this gal know how to have fun or what?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


We're in the CLUB

Yep! We finally got into CLUB NAUTICO which is a small, somewhat scruffy marina here in Cartegena. We had spent about two weeks at anchor in the harbor, and riding in the dinghy to the marina, while we waited for a slot to open up for us. Now, we are living the good life...cable TV, wifi internet, running water (most of the time) and electricity.

So, we are berthed right at the outside corner of a dogleg. This is a view of the planks we walk to get to the boat. It's a little rough out there so we gotta keep our eyes on our feet to make sure we don't fall down ('cause maybe we couldn't get up). The uneven surface is largely due to the planks that cross, and are tied to the dock, that are the boarding apparatus for other boats.'s the Niki Wiki safely tied to...what? Oh, some lines are tied to the pier, and others are tied to "something heavy" on the bottom of the harbor! A diver came out to take our long lines down and tie them off. Now, because of the thunderstorms, high winds, and large chop from either winds or other vessels in the harbor we are a rocking and a rolling a lot of the time. So, we can't be tied up too close to this stationary pier/dock or we'll bang around and get damaged.

Okay. Now how do we get on and off the boat when it is 6 feet away? Well, there is a little narrow "finger" that sticks out on one side of us. But we are about 3 feet from that. What to do?

Well, we tied a line to a bollard (big pole) on the finger and then wrapped it around a winch. When we want to get off of the boat, we crank in the line which moves the boat sideways closer to the finger. Then, we climb up and over the lifelines, crab a couple of feet back to the stern, and stretch one foot down to a stair step on the finger.

So far neither of us has fallen in the water! But, this situation perhaps limits the adult beverage consumption ashore. When the tide is higher, Niki Wiki floats higher and our legs just barely can span between the boat and the dock. Who needs yoga? We get our stretching exercises daily just because we live on this boat!
NOTICE: Jonesy is wearing his "Handsome Devil" Socks designed and knit by me in these photos and I didn't even ask him to wear them!

We've been getting out and about, exploring the historic Spanish city of Cartegena. Here's Jonesy on top of the stone wall that was built to keep out the English pirates. The cannons are even still there.

This is a view of a typical street in the old "centro" area of Cartegena. This is a functioning city with people working and living in these buildings. During the day, when it is hot, there are just a few people strolling about. But at night - whew! - the crowds come out! We're trying to get ourselves acclimated to the timing of life here. Dinner is not served until 7pm at the earliest. Even the tiny food places and street vendors don't open until that - or later.

WORLDWIDE KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY was Saturday June 13th. To celebrate, I registered an "event" here in Columbia at the Club Nautico marina. So, here I am, knitting in public. Where are all the other knitters? Jonesy kept saying that the big tour bus full of knitters would be arriving any moment. I knew that he as kidding...there just aren't any other knitters. I be it for this party.

My project this day was another pair of wool (Cascade 220) mittens for the Akkol Orphanage in Kazakhstan. This time though I added a simple checked pattern to make the mittens warmer and to keep me awake.

I also worked on a new pattern for another pair of mittens. Ripped it all out and started again. Repeat. Repeat. Okay. So I ripped this mitten out SEVEN times! It wasn't that the design is so difficult, it was just that I kept changing my mind, and hopefully improving, what I wanted to produce.
The poor yarn got so grungy that I had to throw it in my basket and start fresh with new yarn. Thank goodness I had a lot of both the hand-dyed wool (Oregon worsted from Interlacements) and the plain Knit Picks Bare Natural wool to be able to do this.
Nope. Can't show you the finished project because it has to be a mystery for the Holiday Mystery Gifts group. Our test-knitters are working hard to ensure that the patterns that I, and the other designers, are writing up. I can't wait for September when all the fun of the knitalong begins!

Sunday, June 07, 2009


More Kuna Yala Photos

What can I say...the San Blas Islands of Panama (also known as the Kuna Yala) is beautiful. This dolphin was part of a group (pod? school?) who played alongside our boat as we moved between islands. He kept rolling over and looking up at me as I stood on the bow to take a picture of him. Here is is looking at me while I was looking at him.

As you can see, the seas were calm and flat. No wind. Thus, no sailing that day. And here's a pic of Jonesy at the "helm" and one of a very rare sunset. We had steady sunsets when we were in Mexico, but the clouds and thunderstorms obscured most of the sunsets in Panama for us. So this is quite unusual for the rainy season to have a sunset. That's it for today - the cruiser's potluck/BBQ is starting in an hour and I must go marinate the chicken and whip up a dish to share. Haven't knit a stitch all day!

Monday, June 01, 2009


Introducing...Isla Buena Socks

Ta da! Today is the official release of my new design - Isla Buena Socks as the June/July pattern for the Six Sox Knitalong yahoo group.

This top-down knit sock features fair isle type patterning and a sideways garter stitch cuff. For the photo samples, I knit the Men's size in "manly" colors approved by Jonesy. The yarn is Regia 4-fadig sock yarn.

The brighter colored version below is also Regia 4-fadig sock yarn and is the Women's Medium size (you can tell because there are fewer repeats of the pattern around the leg and foot).

Some of the group's test knitters knit their socks in great color combinations including a touch of varigated yarn for the snowflake patterning.

So...see? I haven't been a boat-vegetable all the time. I did actually produce something besides mindless knitting. The name, Isla Buena, is a loose translation of "Fair Isle" to Spanish which seemed fitting as I designed these in El Salvador and knit them in Nicaragua. Just a little tip of the hat to the countries that I visited.

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