Sunday, November 23, 2014


Post 52 Socks Doldrums

What happens to a serious (aka habitual, addicted) knitter in the months after completing 52 PAIRS of socks in less than 52 weeks? Inertia, that's what.

The wind has gone out of the proverbial knitting sails. This knitter is adrift in the uncharted doldrums of the seas. I'm "beached". I've lost the sock knitting mojo. I am a different knitter after participating in the 52 Pair Plunge on Ravelry that ended this past summer.

Sure, I had to let the cracks and callouses clear up on my fingers and palms. And yes, I was busy putting the boat to bed for it's lonely stay at the Brunswick Marina without us on board and organizing for our cross-country car trip. But it was more than that. I just didn't feel that strong internal drive to pick up skinny yarn and toothpick sized needles and knit socks. But I also had a duty to fulfill.

I HAD to knit a few pairs to complete some commitments I had made to others. So, over this summer I knit a pair of men's leisure socks for the Socks for Soldiers group and then knit the heel and feet on a pair in the mandatory regulation army green (see button on left side of blog for link to the group). Another knitter had cranked out the long leg on her circular sock knitting machine and sent me the pair to finish.

Not exciting stuff to be sure, but the organization had sent me the yarn and I owed them the socks. I still have yarn for one more pair of men's leisure socks and a couple of regulation knit hats. I owe, I owe, it's off to knit I go...

So while other knitters are scurrying about digging through their yarn stashes as the weather cools, I just keep sighing and feeling unmotivated. Oh sure, I knit a sock as a tester for another designer - that was fun. And, I've got 1 1/2 fingerless mitts done for Jonesy whose hands are cold on the boat. But I'm still feeling like I have a mild form of PTSD. Or is it the after "vacation" blues? I remember when I was a kid I was always unhappy when Girl Scout Camp was over.
Or perhaps I pushed myself too hard to knit those 52 pairs of socks as if my very life depended on it. I still feel shell (sock) shocked.

So, was it worth it? Yes. First, 50 of those pairs were sent to orphanages in Kazakhstan through the Motherless Child Foundation. In fact the Director is packing up the boxes that will travel with her right now. That will make 50 kids smile with warm feet. Then of course, it was fun to make the monster socks from all the leftover yarns from many sources. Those are my hands-down favorites to knit! I love playing with the colors and getting to feel the softness of high quality yarns that I wouldn't otherwise get a chance to work with if not for the donations.

Today was fruitcake baking day! Each year I bake a set of 2 gluten-free fruitcakes and then let them marinate in brandy (or whiskey) for a few weeks. Jonesy and I love this tradition - oh, not the baking part as much as the slicing a bit off the loaf for breakfast part of the tradition. This year I included the zest of 2 tangerines and an orange in the batter and they smelled so good while baking!

The cold weather here in Georgia (although I am in shirt-sleeves today) has meant that I can finally wear some of my wool vests! Here's a photo of me wearing my Grass Creek Park vest that I knit many years ago. I actually got to wear it to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this past fall too. It's been stashed away on the boat for the 8 years that we were in the tropics and survived just fine.

Life is good.

Monday, November 10, 2014


The North American Landmass Crossing

The North American Landmass Crossing via Automobile Adventure 2014 is complete! We are now back on our sailboat Niki Wiki in Brunswick, Georgia resting up before our next excursion.

We experienced 38 nights of car-camping at altitudes from ~5ft above sea level (on a beach in Oregon) to 8100ft in the Rocky Mountains. Not only did we drive from coast-to-coast and back, we also traveled north to just below the border with Canada in Glacier National Park to south to the border with Mexico in Big Bend NP. We covered 11,012 miles (yes, Jonesy kept track) and drove through 23 states.

One of our goals was to visit as many National Parks as we reasonably could. We trended towards the northern US on our way west in August and toured the southern states on our way east in October. The count? 10 National Parks; Smokey Mountains GA, Mammoth Caves KY, Grand Tetons WY, Yellowstone WY, Glacier MT, Crater Lake OR, Great Basin NV, Bryce Canyon UT, Capitol Reef UT, and Big Bend TX.

In Oregon we took care of the homes of two of our friends. The first care taking gig was just for a few days. We gorged ourselves on the bounty of the organic garden and loaded up on black doggie hugs. The second gig was for 4 weeks and was just up the road in the same lovely country setting. Here we were servants to a terrific cat named Ozzy.

OREGON BEACH - Bone-chilling cold and foggy in September
From the kitchen window I could watch the horses in the pasture next door and from the back deck we saw does with their fawns almost every day. The temperatures in this area near Corvallis are idyllic during September and sunny skies were the norm.

Here I had the use of the studio of the resident fiber artist where I read most of the books in her textile library! What treasures! As I was scheduled to teach a Needle Felting workshop in October, I spent my time creating samples for the participants using many
different needle felting techniques. Can you say "Heaven"?

Jonesy and I spent many hours simply walking around downtown Corvallis and the Oregon State University campus. The students hadn't arrived en masse yet so both the town and campus were relatively quiet. We shopped at the Saturday Farmer's Market and had our minivan's radiator replaced at the local auto repair shop. Good timing on that repair actually as we would be crossing vast stretches of desert on the return trip where a radiator failure would have been disastrous!!

After our Oregon vacations duties, we headed north up to the Seattle area to visit with our son Brett for a while. We rode the ferry in the Puget Sound (like the good tourists we were) and I stumbled across the excellent knitting store Churchmouse Yarns and Teas on Bainbridge Island. Unfortunately, they were getting ready to close so I just a quick look-see, but I'll be back!

Once I'm rested more, I'll share about our visits to some interesting fiber places such as the Pendleton Mills, Mountain Colors, and more.

On the way back east we stopped to visit some cruising friends who were back at their land bases. Folks who we probably won't cross paths with because we're heading north instead of cruising the western Caribbean, but you never know!

I had Jonesy make an unplanned stop (how? puppy dog eyes, sad face and whimpering) for a couple of hours in Houston because I saw road signs for the International Quilt Festival there that very day! It was a chance of a lifetime and I wasn't going to miss it. So I paid $12 to get in and literally jogged through the market area and glanced at a few of the quilts on display. Jonesy sat in the car and read.
The festival was a visual overload. But I got a lot of inspiration from the colors and new products and techniques available to quilters that I can borrow. I didn't spend a dime.

We are both LOVING being back on the boat and in the water. We are comfortable in it after all these years. Back in July we were exhausted and itching for new experiences. We've now had that and are happy to be back home. Right now, there is a breeze which is making the boat rock slightly at the dock. The rigging is making the familiar creaking sounds as the boat moves, birds are flying about noisily, the wifi is working as well as the new little heater that keeps the boat warm. Life is good.

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