Friday, November 21, 2008


Take 2 sock blanks and...

A new approach to yarn, color, and socks - what could be better? Sock Blanks are long swaths of plain undyed sock yarn knit in just plain flat stockinette. These are just waiting to be dyed any way you want. Then, you unravel the blank and knit yourself up a pair of socks - kinda like a crap shoot as you never know what you're gonna get.

I choose to dye TWO sock blanks in different wide horizontal stripes. First, I ordered the double-stranded sock blanks from Knit Picks online before I flew up to the states to visit by boys. While in the Sacramento area, I made encouraged my knitting buddy, Sandi, to play with fiber and dyes in her backyard.

Then, back on the boat in Mexico, I knit up the socks. To take advantage of the wide changes in colored stripes, I used one strand from each sock blank and knit in a stranded color-work pattern. Nothing fancy. The changes in colors comes automatically from the dyed sock blank!!

Okay, so next time I won't use such Christmas-looking colors. Dang. I was so excited to be playing with colors that I didn't think that far ahead. So, in the photo above is one sock each from TWO PAIRS of socks. One is size medium, and one is size large. I started the second pair from the opposite end of the sock blanks.

So where's the blue yarn? Still on the blank. As it was in the center, it didn't get used. Another Ah-ha moment. Remember to get the action in color into the two ends as women's socks don't take that much yarn. Next time I will also so shorter "stripes" in the sock blank to change the colors more often, and maybe do more of a hue-changing and different shades of the same hue.

Because I was in a hurry (as usual but for no reason), I didn't knit both socks at the same time. Instead, I wound up balls of the other strand and held them tight with clothespins (see photo). So now I have one size Medium sock and one size Large sock, and balls of yarn already wound for the second socks.

If you are coming to visit me here in Mexico - bring SOCK BLANKS!

The pattern for these socks is one of the many new designs released on the Holiday Mystery Gifts group this month.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



All is well. We are now anchored in the Zihuatanejo bay and enjoying the local town. It's not quite real "high-season" yet so we have the place to ourselves to share with the locals. We are enjoying the shrimp tacos, wifi signal (finally!) and the gentle breezes in the palapa (thatched roof hut) of the Sunset Bar on the beach. Jonesy fixed the electric pump in the rear head - he had his head in the head all one morning (hahahaha). I knit.

This is the farthest south that we have ever traveled - sailing down here in both the last couple of cruising seasons. When we leave from here we will be in all new territory for us! Whooo hoooo! New Go-See-Do!

Tomorrow, weather permitting of course, we will head out to sail south. There's been gale-force winds south of here so we've spent some extra days enjoying Zihuatanejo. We're now convinced that we should skip Alcapulco all together because it is just not friendly to private cruising yachts. A real cess-pool we hear. So this next leg of the journey will be 3 days and 2 nights long to Huatulco.

More later - we're off to walk around the town to see if we can find more bungee cords and to stretch our legs. Of course there's lots of knitting going on...

Friday, November 07, 2008


Okay - that was just for practice...

DAY 1 - Nov. 1st
After checking out at the Port Captain's office, and paying our final electricity bill to the marina, we eased the Niki Wiki out of her berth, and out into Banderas Bay to begin the big adventure. Ahhhh...fresh sea breezes greeted us as we motored across the bay to anchor off of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Guess what Nov. 1st brings in Mexico? Day of the Dead! It's fiesta time and time to honor dead children and saints (dead adults are the next day). Families put up altars with flowers and candy skulls - here's a picture of one. We just relaxed on the boat - I knit. Here's the finally completed "Snuggle Time Baby Blanket" that is one of the free patterns on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group this year.

The second day at the anchorage was for a complete systems check on the boat. We had to make sure everything was working. Hmmm...the solar panels weren't putting out enough amps. Maybe they were dirty? Ooops! There went the long pole with the boat brush overboard. Bye brush. The breeze hung around all day and night. True, it was warm - about 80 degrees, but felt so delicious! The night warmed up even more - 87 degrees, but was thankfully very quiet.
Seeing as I had yarn leftover from the Snuggle Time Baby Blanket, I designed and knit this matching hat!

At the crack of dawn we hoisted anchor and headed out. We waved a tearful goodbye to the folks on the sailing vessel Coastal Passage and said our good-byes on the Banderas Bay Radio Net of cruisers. The early morning temperature was 79 degrees and we could see the lightning in a distant thunderstorm off of Punta de Mita. Soon, we were rounding the dangerous tip of Cabo Corrientes (Cape Currents) with it's notorious winds and waves. That day it was only slightly breezy. A pod of dolphins swam alongside us for a while, boobie birds flew around us and we saw an occasional butterfly. I knit on my "Guernsey Pullover" a good part of the day as we sailed along with the wind at our backs.

Soon, it was night-time and time for Jonesy to go to bed and for me to take over the helm. The wind was getting fickle - coming from behind us at different angles. The main sail couldn't decide which side to stay on and was jibbing (slapping itself to the other side) way too often. Jonesy got up to check it out and that is when it happened... Main Sail Failure! With a lound BOOM and a long RIIIIIIIPPPP the main sail tore itself in half!

There we were, 80 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, along a deserted, dark stretch of coastline with 2 pieces of sail billowing about the center of the boat. Jonesy grabbed the sail pieces, I pushed the button and we pulled the 2 pieces into the mast. Now what do we do? We're headed south into a part of the world that doesn't have much support services for sailboats. We started the engine and made the tough decision to turn around and go back to Puerto Vallarta - to La Cruz - to PV Sailing and Mike who could repair our sail.

By the next morning we were back around the dangerous Cabo Corrientes, another 80 miles, and arrived at the La Cruz anchorage in the afternoon much to the surprise of our friends.

Our cruising friends helped to untangle the mess of the sail. John from the sailing vessel Batu went up the mast and Terry from Coastal Passage steadied the raw seam. Jonesy tossed the sail pieces into the dinghy and we zoomed over to the La Cruz marina. After tying up the dink, we hauled the sail up the stairs to Mike at PV Sailing's new repair loft. Wouldn't that be a cool place to work? Under a thatched roof palapa in the sea breezes?

Thankfully, the sail tore along a seam - the fabric is still strong - but the thread used for the seams failed. What? After only 26 years? Oh well. We dodged a bullet here - and several thousand dollars and weeks of delay if we had to buy a new sail.

In the meantime, we've enjoyed a few additional days of the great company of good friends.

Here's Jonesy telling the tail of the Main Sail to the gang at Ana Banana's - a favorite cruiser's hangout here in La Cruz. Only a few years ago, this little restaurant was on the beach of the bay. Then along came the new marina Nayarit. Now, there is a pile of sand in front of the restaurant instead of beach - and a marina beyond that. In a few years, there will be a condominium complex built on that pile of sand. That's progress. That's why we need to cruise south and see Central America while it is still unspoiled.
Our sail is repaired and re-installed. We're out to dinner at Philo's Bar and Music Studio right now enjoying the free WiFi. Tomorrow & Sunday we will rest. Then, at dawn on Monday (or Tuesday) we will try again.
This first time was just for practice. Now we will REALLY sail south.

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