Tuesday, March 26, 2019

 

Bahamas

FEET in the WATER - Bahamas

Oops...we did it again. In February, we untangled the lines from the dock pilings and headed out cruising into new adventures. First, we motored south in the intra-coastal waterway to Vero Beach, then sailed east out at Fort Pierce and onward to the Bahamas!

Getting out cruising again meant that we had to ensure that all systems were functioning well. Jonesy decided to make a few repairs and some upgrades and while he was at it, he made many more repairs and upgrades. It's amazing how much that guy can get done in a given day! I knit. Oh, and I purchased a new hammock for me to use on the bow while at anchor.

Disaster struck three days before we wanted to leave when one of the porcelain toilets cracked! Thank goodness for great marine supply stores in Florida and Jonesy's plumbing
Jonesy puts the dinghy in the water
skills (which he learned out of necessity over our 13 years of living aboard a boat). Now we have a shiny new toilet in the forward head and we left right on schedule. (Well, not really a hard schedule but we do find that making a commitment to a specific date motivates both of us to get things done).

The provisioning of food and household supplies was my job. This is our first time in the Bahamas so we didn't really know what was available here. We did a lot of research and had many long chats with a fellow cruiser who has sailed these waters for years. I'm familiar with meal prep in remote areas so it was actually FUN for me to plan and purchase shelf-stable edibles that we would actually eat (no spaghetti-O's! type junk). I use a pressure cooker so I cook rice, beans, and even cheesecakes in it. I also enjoy baking so I make our own baked goodies and can make tortillas too.

I stuffed the freezer with boneless meats and chicken and some home-prepared sauces. For fish, we have been buying locally - fish is expensive in Florida and we hoped we could get some fresh in the Bahamas. We did find a couple of pounds of frozen grouper that had been caught and filleted the day before. EXCELLENT meals were made and the price was even a little less than we pay at the fish store in Florida (still pricey).
Tacos and fresh papaya dinner on the boat
We crammed the refrigerator with produce and nuts before we left which we have already consumed. The potatoes did not keep well in their normal storage locker and started sprouting almost immediately, so we ate them all up fast.

Most groceries are quite a bit more expensive (double or more) in the Bahamas. Yes, I paid $2 each for commercially grown tomatoes, $5 for a cabbage and $6 for a small bunch of broccoli but we're worth it!

We have spent our time anchoring out on the back side of Marsh Harbor a couple of times to hide from weather, two trips to Man-O-War Cay, a few days in Hope Town on Elbow Cay, and are now up in Green Turtle Cay. We've sat through a couple of big "norther" storms (winds at 45mph!) which makes for a rocky life aboard the boat and no dinghy trips for go-see-doing. Not only is it hard to make meals when you have to hang on with one hand at all times, but it's tricky to knit and read too!
Jonesy - Man-O-War Cay
We decided to seek calmer water for the next forecast storm. So yesterday, we came into the harbor in Green Turtle Cay and sidled up to an end-tie on a dock. I guess we really are getting older (!!) because within minutes of arriving we decided to simply stay put and enjoy Green Turtle Cay until it's time for us to return to Florida.

Yes, the water is beautiful here and the small towns out in this part of the Bahamas (the Abacos) are lovely. We have greatly enjoyed long walks about the islands and on the beaches. The water is still chilly (77 degrees) so we've only gotten our feet wet. I had thought
Cuaarzo Rosa Socks by me
I would be snorkeling - but the weather and sea temperature haven't cooperated. There are more days ahead.

Intracoastal Socks pattern by Stephanie Carrico
Yes, there has been plenty of knitting! My goal is make the second socks from some single socks sitting in my to-do basket for quite some time (years). First, I finished up the matching sock from my Cuarzo Rosa Socks pattern I published back in 2016. Then I tackled the second sock from a test knit I did for another designer back in 2015 and knit using a hand-dyed sock blank yarn.
Socks on the needles for comfort knitting

Deciding to go off course a bit, I ignored another second sock that needs to be finished and instead started a NEW sock project. I needed some restful knitting - no lace - no stitch pattern - to work during the big wind storm. Just a simple sock using an oddball skein of black yarn and the leftover amounts from the hand-dyed yarn I just finished knitting from.

Nice and simple - just two rounds of each color...relaxing knitting while I was protected from the rain and sea spray in our zip-up plastic enclosure in the cockpit.
Knotted zipper pull/lanyard

Oh yes, we did have some of the older clear plastic panels replaced before we took off to go cruising again. This meant that I had to make 14 knotted lanyard zipper pulls for the new zippers too. But the money and effort are really worth it. This protection is much appreciated when at sea in rough weather!

Life is good.
Terry in her new hammock





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Sunday, December 16, 2018

 

FISH HAT CHART


Here is the 25-st repeat charted for the fish motif on my most recent hat. Now you can knit your own hat!

I took a nice fish chart I found on Pinterest and modified it to become a continuous school of fish around the hat.

Of course, because that hat was completed and has been mailed off already (!) I had to start a new project. Yes, I have many projects in progress, but it is a manageable gaggle at the moment.

Years ago, I designed and knit a shawl for my late sister Dana-Marr. It uses a traditional "Feather and Fan" lace motif from the Shetland Isles worked to fit in a double triangle to form a triangular shawl.

Now I am knitting it again at a smaller gauge with Knit Picks gradient Stroll yarn. It's really a very simple knit as there is only 1 row out of 4 that requires attention, the remaining rows are either all knit or purl. Great for watching downloaded movies and BBC television series  with Jonesy on the boat.

Finally, after many years, I found a box of "Ribbon Candy". Not to eat (but I will), but to have as a photo with my Ribbon Candy knit Ornament pattern. I've been surprised at how many folks have never seen or heard of this Winter Holiday season sweet. So this explains why I made up my little pattern to look the way it does. Now you know.

Life is good.




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Sunday, December 09, 2018

 

MORE HATS


Here's a finished 100% wool hat that I knit for a friend. The design/pattern is the traditional Scottish "Kep". I don't make the top as long as the style really is - just make it loose enough to be slightly "slouchy".

For these I follow the basic count of stitches, and this one has the fold-up brim with ribbing hidden underneath for double layers around the ears. The color patterning is quite traditional here too.

After working a traditional hat, I felt like going a little more modern and fun so I knit another "Black Cat Beanie" for my friend. Same 100% wool (Knit Picks Palette) for warmth used for this one. Yes, I have oodles of this one type of yarn.

Just finished this Fishy hat yesterday. I'm not wild about the blue on the fold-up brim but maybe somebody will like it.
Life is good




Tuesday, September 04, 2018

 

WHALE OF A CRAFTING TIME

Juvenile Blue Whale Skeleton (photo by Lance Wallace) 

Yep. I love having my picture taken next to a whale skeleton. Why? Because I look so "petite" in comparison! It's not often that works out that way in photos.

Let's see, where was this taken? Blue skies, whales, dry grasses, trees, sandals, no sweating (low humidity) and my friend Sally. Sound good? Yes, it is California, specifically beautiful Santa Barbara at the Natural History Museum in town. We made a special trip to the museum because they have a wonderful display of Native California Indian basketry primarily from the Chumas Indians. Displayed in the Chumas Hall you can peer at these up close to see the intricate weaving. Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery but you can click on the link to see more.

I had a lovely week with my high school buddy out on the coast of California in July. It's amazing and comforting that after all those years apart, raising kids, pursuing careers, etc. we can get together and just pick up the friendship we had so many years ago. We share the same perspectives and values so that conversation was easy and oh so fulfilling. Now I am really biting at the bit to get our boat sold and move back to the West Coast where I belong with my old friends. Imagine, there were fresh oranges in the fruit bowl from the trees in the back yard! Yesterday here in Florida I had to pay $1.25 for a single naval orange.
Boho triple wrap bracelet

Sally had picked out a crafting project (!) for us to try together. We enjoyed a few hours of hunting for beads in a couple of small shops right at the beach - and of course picking up some REAL California style Mexican food at a small tienda in another coastal town. Yes. I ate the whole dang carne asada burrito in one sitting.

Secret Burrito hot spot
We spread our project supplies out on the coffee table and taught each other how to make these using some instructions that Sally had found. We picked up and worked on these intermittently during my visit whenever the mood struck one or both of us. There are many free tutorials for this sort of bracelet out there on the web.


I LOVE my bracelet and have been wearing it often this past month. Thank you Sally for inviting me to play with you!

Inspired by the success of a new crafting endeavor, I next tried to make an orb ornament with wings. This is a shameless copy of some I've seen on the internet. It's just thumbtacks stuck into a styrofoam ball with wings pinned on and a cord loop for hanging. I think it is something in the Harry Potter books for a game.
Anyway, I sealed the whole thing with craft varnish to ensure that the tacks stay put. I can't believe that I made the whole thing without stabbing myself even once! So, that was fun....what's next?

The Beekeepers Quit hex-puffs
More leftover sock yarn knitting has begun. These are hexi-puffs that are individually knit pockets, stuffed lightly with unspun wool. The pattern is available on Ravelry The Beekeepers Quilt. So far I have made 30 of these cuties and am about 8% done with what I need to create a warm afghan. Since there is no pressing deadline for these, I can just relax and crank out one or two in between other projects or when I'm out and about, waiting somewhere.

These socks were finally finished for dear husband Jonesy after being on the needles for over a year. The yarn did all the patterning for me, all I had to do was actually pick up the needles and knit. So, we lost one of his brand new hand knit socks in the laundry (grrrr), and another pair from 2006 bit the dust after being darned many times, so he needed these replacements for when it gets cold (as in below 70 degrees).

One of the projects that I took to California to work on during "quiet times" (like when I finally stop talking), was this Celtic Lattice Vest designed by Oberle. I had purchased her yarn at a knitting event many, many years ago, and finally started this in 2015. When I took it out, I noticed that not only did I not like how the stitches were so loose, but that I had also TWISTED at the join to work in the round. AGH!

So, I patiently sat and unknit (tinked) back all of the 5 rows of stranded colorwork knitting to where the work switched from flat (back and forth) after the hem to in the round. Using smaller needles, I have now worked back to where I was 3 years ago.

Actually, it's all good because as I have lost some weight, it would have been rather big and now will fit me better.

Life is good.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

 

SIDEWAYS GARTER SCRAP HAT


I finally found the time to write up the pattern for this crazy hat knit from leftover sock yarns. It's all just knit stitches with short-rows to shape, knit flat.

Now, I just wrote this up and it has NOT been tested by a real live knitter yet. Please, if you do work from this pattern, let me know in a comment if you find any errors or have a question. That really helps me.

Enjoy!

Life is good.

 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

 

Fiber crafts keep me happy


For a week now we've had tremendous thunderstorms just about every day here on the east coast of central Florida. They usually build up in the late afternoon and come roaring in with dark skies and furious rain. Usually we can manage to get our evening walk in before the rain hits, but sometimes we do get wet...oh well. The nice part is that it is often quite cooler after the storm passes. We've even been able to turn off the A/C and sleep with fresh air in the mid-to high 70's.

I've been working on a few projects that are a little different for me. First up is an up-cycled denim cuff/bracelet that I made for ME. I've been working on this on and off over the last month, just playing with embroidery, beads, and bending up wire bits. For the edging, I crocheted a chain from some flashy novelty yarn and simply sewed it to the edges.

There's no clasp needed because I used the waistband of some old jeans and saved the button and button hole.

Vertical Garter Stitch Beanie
So far, I've embellished it with french knots in embroidery thread, assorted beads, and two squiggles (one copper and one brass) shaped and pounded flat. I left the belt loops on the piece and connected the raw edges by just sewing them tightly together.

Thinking about what to do about the two belt loops together at the join...someday I'll come across a cool "thingy" to add there, but in the meantime I'll wear it.

So, I've been knitting on a few projects as usual. This hat is an idea I had to use up those smaller balls of leftover sock yarn and make VERTICAL stripes in a hat. I choose to work in garter stitch because it is so nice and stretchy, and easy to knit. The shaping is accomplished by the use of "short rows" which make wedge shaped repeats. Many of the yarns I used are self-patterning or striping (I save the solid colors for Fair Isle use
on socks).  Because I changed yarn colors so often, I had a mess of yarn ends all at the top of the crown. What to do? Instead of weaving in all those ends at the top which would have made a lumpy mess, Jonesy suggested that I simply braid them together. Yep. That works quite nicely.

The photos are of the same hat - just different halves/sides of it! I have started writing up the pattern to be released on Ravelry soon. I think that this beanie looks a little too scrappy to send on to the Motherless Child Foundation for the kids in Kazakhstan. I like to send them nice knit wear and not something that looks too "leftover-ish". So I'm keeping this wild thing for myself. I'll be making more for the kids, but keep the colors more solid and coordinated.

At one of our weekly sewing classes, I was introduced to these adorable fabric flowers! Seems like I'm the only person on earth who's never seen these before. I was given a quick tutorial and a good sized handful of finished flowers and scraps for more.

Hmmm....what to do with these? Hair clips! I bought some colorful clips and finished off the flowers with button centers, sewed and glued to the clip and voila! The little girls in Kazakhstan have something pretty to wear.
Here's another 1st for me...I made a pincushion! At a Tea Party with my sewing friends, we all made these pincushions stuffed into a tea cup. Mine is a little puckered, but it works great just the same. Yes, the puffy part is glued into the teacup which is also glued onto the saucer.

Living on a boat, I'm not sure how long this will last before it is tossed onto the floor, but if I find a good home for it I'll be happy to let this go. I'd rather somebody else enjoy it than let it get broken on the boat.


And..socks. Yes there have been socks. Jonesy requested a pair of "shorty" socks for summer so I knit him a pair from some hand-dyed yarn. He wore them about twice before one of the socks went on walkabout. We've looked everywhere. Maybe they will turn up. But in the meantime, I will start work on another sock (starting with the cuff) with the leftover yarn and keep working until I run out of yarn. He will have to have a different color on the foot, but that's OK as nobody sees that part anyway.

NATURE REPORT

The Ospreys in the area have reared their young and we're seeing many fledglings out learning the flying maneuvers this past couple of weeks. These slightly fluffy young birds are often accompanied by a parent and they call out to each other constantly. It's been a fun experience watching these beautiful large birds of prey build nests on the light poles, lay eggs, feed their hatchlings, and now encourage them to leave the nests. We consider a privilege to be able to observe this part of their life cycle.  Yes, they do crap on the boat and it smells to high heaven, but Jonesy does a great job of hosing it off in the mornings.

Life is good.


Friday, June 15, 2018

 

EXTREME KNITTING


Australian Homespun Magazine, May 2018
It's here! I just received my copy of the May 2018 Australian Homespun Magazine which includes their special feature about Extreme Knitting. Why am I so excited? Because I'm one of the "extremists".

A few years ago, my diving buddies challenged me to knit underwater while we were all living anchored out on our sailboats at Roatan Island, Honduras in the Western Caribbean. I'm always up for a new adventure, so after a beautiful dive along the reef's wall in the West End, we stopped for our usual decompression safety stop and I knit.

This publication is marvelous! They have all sorts of fiber/textile activities such as quilting, sewing, knitting, embroidery and much more. It's a complete fiber artist bundle of joy! There are pull-out templates tucked into the magazine that are ready to use for your own craftiness. Anyway, I'm honored that they asked me to participate.

A big thank you shout out to sailing vessel "Interlude" for sharing your passion for diving (and your equipment) with me and for making these photos possible. Jonesy and I miss you gals.

Coming back down off of my cloud of celebrity-extremism to real life, and the little projects that have keep me entertained and out of trouble...here are some bracelets that I created from up-cycling jeans.

I simply cut out some side seams from the used jeans -some right up close, and a few with about 1/4 to 3/8ths inch of
fabric left on the sides. After picking out the horizontal threads, I tossed these in the washing machine to encourage a soft frayed edge. Add a decorative button and a loop made with 1/2 of a little girl's hair band and voila! A bracelet. I made some more plain for the guys.

Last month, at a retreat with American Sewing Guild (asg.org), we learned  about using elastic hair bands for loop closures over a shank button. Serendipity happens! I was waiting for an online order to arrive with some lobster clasps as closures for these bracelets, but happily used this method instead.

These bracelets are simply something special for the kids in the orphanages I support in Kazakhstan. It is very real treat for them to be able to CHOOSE what they want to wear and have something that is different from the other kids.

On a more practical note, here are two pairs of knit and felted big wool mittens. These are intended to be worn over another pair of mittens for extra warmth.

We're continuing to enjoy the relatively mild weather here in coastal Florida. Sure, it is hot and it rains just about every afternoon, but we find windows of sunshine for our daily walking adventures. Below are pictures of an alligator, great blue heron, ibis and egret, wood stork, and manatees floating on their backs in the marina to gulp fresh water from a leaky water hose. We know to never feed or water manatees or any other wild animal as it encourages them to get used to people and could endanger them. This hose was soon shut off by the owner. Enjoy!
Alligator

Blue Heron
Egret & Ibis
Wood Stork

ee
Manatees floating on their backs drinking fresh water

Life is good.

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