Monday, September 28, 2009


Mystery Knitting

We had our first MYSTERY knitalong on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group this past week and really stumped the crowd. We provided no photo, and no explanation as to what the final product would be. The knitterly folks just had to have faith and follow the knitting "clues" each day working with sock/fingering weight yarns.

The little 3-Day/3-Clue design revealed itself to be a goofy functional item - a HOT CUP PINCHER! Come on...haven't you grabbed a hot cup of coffee/tea/whatever on the run and had your finger tips scalded? Well, for knitters that can spell disaster! No knitting? Never! So, keep this little Hot Cup Pincher with you at all times and practice Safe Sipping.

Other designers also provided some free patterns to the group this week - here is my version of Tricia Pendergrass' Waterfalls Back Scrubber knit in worsted weight cotton yarn. I love it and use it often! Vicki Mikulak shared 2 beautiful designs - a crocheted Wisteria Shawl and a knit Stole-n Moments Stole. Co-founder Mindy Albright gave us all a cute little set of Dollhouse Curtains and Valance knit in fine crochet cotton. Whew! This is just the beginning of our pattern sharing knitting and crocheting along adventures too!

A new feature this year on our group are ELVES! with HATS. I created this simple little knit elf (just a square of stockinette over a 2" styrofoam ball) and two hat designs (so far! hint, hint). Other designers have come up with additional hats and we will release new hat patterns as part of the series.

I feel so relieved to be finally able to share these with you! Keeping secrets is so dang hard. Okay, so there has also been regular knitting going on (like that was ever a secret).

I found some lovely naturally colored black Shetland wool yarn in my stash that I had picked up at a fiber festival several years ago. It was just enough for a big pair of warm mittens for the kids at the orphanage in Kazakhstan. These are adult size large with a palm length of 8 1/2" for some big kid with long hands. Some of the mittens in the past years had hands that were too short, so I made sure that I just kept on a-knittin.

It's been pure heaven to be able to just knit without having to take constant notes for writing up a pattern later. Plus the large sized needles (US size 4 / 3.75mm) made the work go so fast.

Oh, yep...the mango gansey is still plodding along, as are several other knitting projects. I like to flit from projet to project as my mood, level of energy, and circumstances permit. to knit on something simple.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Mango Madness

It's mango season here in Cartagena! Fresh, luscious mangos are everywhere - in the stores, on the street carts, and in my hands and mouth. I've discovered that folks eat these tropical fruits in varying degrees of ripeness. The hard, unripe fruit is crunchy like an apple and is light orange-yellow-green in color while the ripe fruit is a bright, deep orange and soft like a peach. What I've also discovered is that I LOVE all stages of ripeness! They taste like completely different fruits. So, each day when I pass my favorite street vendor, I pick out a bag of slices, and have him douse it with a generous squeeze of lime...pure heaven for only 50 cents.

And speaking of mango...I've started an adult sized sweater with the "Mango" colored yarn that my good friend Sandi gifted to me last year. The yarn is Brown Sheep NatureSpun in a light sport weight wool. Because I couldn't decide what type of welt (lower edge) to use, I simply started with a provisional cast-on and knitted up the body. Later, I'll go back and pick up those stitches and knit the border down. For patterning, I picked out an open diamond design from one of my gansey knitting books. Then tweaked it in Excel to add more purl stitches inside of the diamonds so that they gradually get denser as they rise up the yoke.

Oh...the safety pin? Well, umm, you see I knit all the time; on the wild bus rides, during "happy hour", in the dark even so yes, I dropped a stitch. I didn't realize it until I got past the plain stockinette part up to where the patterning started again and was short a stitch. Whoops. No big deal. I pinned the lost-and-found stitch and will work/darn it in later. Then I just increased at the side seam and kept knitting. Perfection not required.

Well, we're in our second day of NO WATER in the entire city of Cartagena! A major water pipe broke. Thank goodness we have our water tanks filled on our boat so we're good. But, the wind is also out of the "bad" direction so we're stuck on the boat anyway to watch for any boats out at anchor who want to drag into us.

I thought I'd show you what our marina looks like now. The demolition and construction continues. Yep. The bar is still open - just watch your step! Here's a photo of Jonesy and our buddy Billy "supervising" the construction of the future dinghy dock. How good of a buddy is Billy? Well, he flew back to the states this week and he carried with him all of the knitting that I've done these past few months for the orphans in Kazakhstan! And I mean "carried" as he took no checked luggage on the plane and physically carried my big plastic bag as carry-on. What a guy! Well, his sisters all knit (and he named is sailboat after them "Anne-Vera-Lynn") so he totally understands and appreciates the fiber arts. The kids THANK YOU BILLY!
The 3rd Annual Holiday Mystery Gifts Knit and Crochet Along begins this coming Saturday, September 19th! Have you joined yet? Well, for those folks who are waiting patiently in the group for our blast-off Saturday, we uploaded a special little dishcloth pattern to warm up your knitting fingers and tools.

The "Step It Up" Cloth and Coaster pattern is by one of our new designers, Vicki Mikulak. It knits up so quickly and is super easy! Enjoy!

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