Monday, July 28, 2014


Ships' Stores


So here we are in our slip at the Brunswick Landing Marina. We're way down on the new Dock 15 which means that we can enjoy lovely views of the marshlands, sunsets, and all the birds. Oh, and watch the steam rise from the cellulose (pulp) mill up river.

The ShadeTree boat covers are in place and the A/C is running 24/7 to keep us cool from the Georgia summer heat. We know how to do this after 8 years in the tropics and actually it has been cooler here than it was anywhere else we've been. Being farther north does have it's advantages.

The downtown area of Brunswick is just a short walk from our boat. It's a sleepy little town that has seen better days. Back during World War II this town was busy building the large cargo "Liberty Ships" for the war effort. Over 3 years they built 99 ships! There sure must have been a lot of people and action around here in those years. It's kind of eerie to walk the streets as most of the old buildings are vacant, and the styles haven't been updated. I like it!

The other day one of our dock neighbors shared with me some rosin. He was out shrimping (which is what he does for a living) and the nets hauled in a mess 'a (that's southern speak) pine rosin from a site where a barge had sunk many, many years ago. Back in the early 1900's Brunswick produced products called "Ships' Stores". These were pine tar, rosin and turpentine made from the pitch of the numerous pine trees which grow here. So this yellow chunk may be almost 100 years old and is still good after spending time in a barrel on the sea floor!

Pine tar and rosin were important to ship builders and owners to prevent the wood from rotting. These days with most boats being made from steel or fiberglass, there's not much demand for pine tar. Now rosin is still used a little. I remember the small piece of rosin that I used to draw my horsehair violin bow across. It had such a great pine smell. In Brunswick there is still a factory which produces modern rosins, resins and other chemicals out of the pines. I'm having so much fun learning about the history of this area.

We have wheels! Jonesy put in a lot of research trying to find a used minivan for us (because they aren't very popular), but he did it! Yep, this is our 4th Dodge Caravan and no, it isn't white like the first 3 were. This one is silver. We have flipped all the rear seats down into their hidey holes in the floor and are getting it ready for our cross-country car-camping adventure.

Yep, we are leaving the boat all alone for a few months while we go-see-do from literally, coast-to-coast. Guess what? The cushions from our V-berth fit perfectly in the back of the van as our bed!
We didn't have to buy any foam or a mattress which saved us a lot of money. We are leaving early Thursday morning for our trip to see how many National Parks, Monuments, Historic places, etc. we can see before we arrive in Oregon.

In the meantime, there has been some local sight-seeing and knitting going on. We took a drive to nearby St. Simon Island and toured the Ft. Frederica National Monument. This was an English fort build in 1736 to fend off Spanish ships from this territory. There's not much remaining of the fort or all the houses which were there, but the site itself is beautiful.

The knitting has been mostly simple socks knit with yarns donated by Linda P. and Val. Yes, there is a new sock design in the works but I can't share anything for months. Also finished recently was a pair of Socks for Soldiers olive drab socks. But I did cheat on these. Another group member sent me the ribbed legs already knit on her antique circular sock machine. I only had to pick up the stitches and work the heel, foot and toe. Again, easy and mindless knitting.

Yes, I have a large amount of donated sock yarn already in the van for our trip. What could be better than being driven through beautiful country, camping in natural places, and knitting socks?

Life is good.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


NEW Sock Knitting Book!

Yippeeee! This brand-spanking new book from Interweave Press includes both an article I wrote about knitting with multiple stranded colors of yarn in socks and the corresponding Spectrum Socks pattern. Yes, I'm tickled to pieces.

I received my author's copy in the mail last week and haven't come down from the high yet. Sockupied: 20 Knit Projects to Satisfy your Sock Obsession is available online as a Pre-Order or Kindle download on Amazon, on the Interweave website and soon in book stores and at your local yarn shops.

If you already own the Sockupied Spring 2014 emag, then you already have my contributions. BUT if you prefer a nice paper book (like I do), then this one has that and a whole lot more.

Now I really must get to knitting my lastest sock design which are on my needles. Life is good

Sunday, July 06, 2014


The WHY we do this thing we do

Why do we bother to travel slowly, winding back and forth up the Intracoastal Waterway instead of heading out to sea and doing a straight through sail? Because, we get to spend our evenings and nights safely anchored in beautiful places like this.

In Northern Florida we watched the large PINK Roseate Spoonbill birds go about their daily business, and in Southern Georgia we spent the late afternoon watching the wild horses on Cumberland Island graze the shore grasses. Along the way we passed Bald Eagles sitting atop their nests in tall trees.

We left St. Augustine just days before Tropical Storm/Hurricane Arthur blew in. We traveled north during the "calm before the storm" enjoying the sunny weather. We went through drawbridges and under fixed bridges and only went aground once. What?

Yes, even within the very nice channel markers on the waterway it can get too shallow for our 5 1/2 foot draft. It's not supposed to be that way but it just is. We managed to quickly throttle up and back off of the "hump" or shoal. No biggie. The few miles of channel at the back side of Jekyll island is notoriously shallow. So for this section we planned on arriving about a half hour before high tide. This allowed us to move through it during mostly high tide. Yes, we saw 5 1/2 feet  on our depth gauge but we didn't feel any bump and made it safely through. Why again did we do this instead of going out to sea and around the island? Because of the unique opportunity we had to see the unspoiled beauty of the tidal marshes. Finally, on July 1st, we sailed under the big Sydney Lanier bridge and now are safely tucked into the Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia.

Of course while Jonesy manned the helm, I sat in the cockpit and made myself useful by knitting through the long daylight hours. Unfortunately I managed to accidentally toss a bamboo double point needle overboard. But not before I finished these little pull-on skirts for the knit teddy bears for the kids in Kazakhstan.
These are knit with worsted weight yarns from the bottom up. To finish, a length of cord elastic is threaded through the last stitches and a ribbon can be woven through the eyelet round. Lazy daisy flowers can be stitched onto it too!

These are sized to fit a 9" circumference around the waist. Many of the children who have received these bears, and will in the future, are quite young so I wanted to make clothes that would be easy for them to dress their bears. Elastic and ribbing should work, and maybe a touch of Velcro.

And we all know that teddy bears also need some socks, so I knit up some sport weight ribbed socks too. No. I don't have a picture of my completed bear because I STILL haven't gotten up the nerve to embroider his eyes, nose and smile. That part intimidates me, but I'll get it done before he gets send to Kazakhstan.

Of course there were people-sized socks started and completed too along the way. These 3 pairs are from yarns donated to me to knit for the kids from Linda P. and Kris. Two are simple plain socks (well the yarn isn't plain) and the purple pair is knit from my Hug Me Socks pattern which makes a stretchy and textured fabric.

So, here we are in Brunswick - another town to learn where the grocery stores are, how to work the laundry machines in the marina and how to get around in general. I wonder if my friend Pam K.who lives here in Georgia felt a change in the "force" when we came back.

Back? Yep. We lived in Georgia up outside of Atlanta for 7 years back in the 80's and early 90's. So in a sense we are returning. But this time by sailboat.

We're living the slow life.

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