Friday, July 22, 2011


Colors & Cashews

Guatemala is the land of color. From the richly colored traditional textiles, the bright lace "ponchos" worn by the local Mayans, to the natural colors of the land, color is everywhere.

So maybe that's why I've been knitting up some more colorful stuff lately? (OK that's just an excuse because y'all know I love lots and lots of color in my work). Here are a pair of child's socks knit with a donegal (has little bits of colored slubs in the yarn) wool sock yarn. The pattern is my Hug Me Socks (a free pattern).

Next up is a square baby blanket knit from the center out to the edges with some of my leftover sock yarns. This was a simple mindless project that I could work on when socializing, playing Mexican Train
dominoes, and indulging in the adult beverage of my choice (rum). Although it was mindless knitting the knit hit the fan again with this project. Seems that I started in the center with size US size 3 double point needles. When there were too many stitches on those I switched to a size 3 circular needle. Well, at least I THOUGHT I did. Seems it was a size in between a US size 2 and a US size 3 - it was 3.00mm rather than 3.25mm. Doesn't sound like much of a difference does it? Well it is. The center of the blanket pouffed up and out!
Solution? Rip out from about the center of the orange section, pick up stitches, and knit back to the center using two US size 3 needles and 3 US size 2 needles because I don't have 3.0mm double points. It worked! Yes. I have already ordered some 3.00 needles from Knit Picks.

As I wandered around the grounds of Mario's Marina here to take pictures of my knitting I also took a few photos of some of the plantings. Seems like there's always something different blooming. The local folks who work at the marina have been busy adding new plants both in the ground and in pots.

Do I count as "local"? Because I, too, planted some things! In the back of the grounds is a large area where one of the fellows (Marvin) had planted some squash. To prepare the area, they simply cut down the big stuff, then burned out everything - the ole slash and burn farming method of the tropics.

So this is it. The "garden". No neat little rows, no fencing, no irrigation, nothing. Just an old trash heap burned to the ground.  I planted two types of summer squash - regular green "Black Beauty" zucchini and a yellow variety (Sungold?).

The green squash germinated very quickly and I already have several plants. The yellow is still thinking about it. It is brutally hot working out in the garden in the full tropical sun! But the plants love it.

I bought (for about $2.50) a big bunch of lemon grass from a new plant nursery right in town. Can you believe the price? And look how good it's doing in the garden? I hired Marvin to plant it for me seeing as the marina is looking for work from the cruisers to keep their crew busy. At $4.00 per hour I can afford their help (and that gives me more knitting time in the air conditioning on the boat). Whoo hooo - I can't hardly wait to brew up some lemon grass iced tea!

On the boat, I have a few little containers made from the bottoms of plastic soda bottles that are planted with tomato seeds. Yes, of course I can buy tomatoes here, but they are all the same type, the roma or plum tomato and I like variety in my life. So I planted a heirloom type (Brandywine) and two colors (red & yellow) of a little plum shaped tomato.
No joy yet on sprouting, but I'm a patient person.

More knitting with color - ELEVEN different colors to be exact. I was fondling my big plastic bag of leftover worsted weight Knit Picks yarns one day. What could I do with such a bizarre assortment of yarn leftover from designing Christmas stockings?
Why, knit a toddler sweater for the kids in the orphanage in Kazakhstan of course! Plain stripes would have been easy - but the extra warmth from stranded color work would be much appreciated in that cold country. I knit in the round up to the armholes, then divided for front and back. This is way so much fun!

OK - I mentioned cashews in the title of this blog post. Here's what that is all about...we have cashew trees right here on the grounds of Mario's Marina! Yep, they are the trees that help shade the volleyball court (well, at least they shade the people watching the volleyball players sweat in the sun).

Here is one of the very few cashew fruits left this season - and it is in terrible shape being eaten by bugs as it lays on the ground. The "nut" part is just that one brown lump on the bottom of the fruit. We buy really big roasted cashews (no salt) from Diego, the local nut seller for about $6.50 per pound. They are so sweet and delicious and taste much fresher than those we have purchased in the states. Gee, I wonder why.

And here is a cashew nut in a farther state of decay. The fruit has withered to look something like a sun-dried tomato. But look! The cashew nut has sprouted and now has a stalk and a root. A new cashew tree!
Oh dear, it is unfortunately located in an area that is supposed to be a grassy lawn. Look at all those new cashew trees sprouted in the lawn! The farmer in me wants to transplant those somewhere to grow up and make more cashews, but I guess there are enough trees here. Things just love to grow without our help when they are in their natural habitat.

One more piece of news ... our new Shade Tree marine/boat cover has arrived! We ordered in from the company up in the states and had it shipped to us ($$$). Here it is - mounted on the bow of our boat. We've been so happy with the ShadeTree cover over the center section of the boat that we bought many years ago so we coughed up the bucks for another one to keep the V-berth area shaded. It sure has made a difference in the temperature inside the boat - not only in the V-berth stateroom but also in the galley where I spend as little as possible quite a bit of time.


The Shade Tree is awesome!!! The socks are pretty spiffy too.
YES I agree!! the Shade Tree is awesome.
A garden, that is great. Can hardly wait to see what comes up. And the tomoto plants in plastic bottle bottoms, how clever you are! I guess I never realized where cashews came from, certainly didn't think it was a tree.... very cool. Stay safe.
Your knitting projects are amazing!
Thanks for the sock pattern. I have yet to knit a pair of socks. Love the baby blanket and that sweater looks horrendously complicated but fabulous! :O)
DH thought it was neat living in Louisiana, where pecans "grow on trees". You've topped it with cashew trees!
Geez you knit fast. I am so jealous of your life right now. Garden, cashews, endless knitting time, being someplace other than the US, no job... ugh I need to go cruising again.
I have been reading your blog for a while now but never commented. I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to learn knitting and actually moreso knitting socks. I am learning to knit regular things first like scarves and whatnot and learning all the stitches before I embark on socks! Thank you for being such an inspiration!
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