Posts Tagged ‘cruise’

“Bermudiana” Preview

July 28, 2015

Sara Wolf, teacher on the marvelous Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise, designed a shawl especially for the cruise. Drawing on the sand, shells, and hibiscus flowers of Bermuda, the shawl features a scalloped lace edge (sand) and lightly beaded lace “flowers.”

Since I misunderstood the pre-cruise instructions for what yarn to bring for the edge (oops!), I had to borrow (permanently) yarn from a generous knitter — that would be Shelley, the brain behind Sheep Ahoy. I did have the Boboli Lace (#4352) for the main body, a blend of many of my favorite colors.

Boboli lace yarn, color 4352

I was not the only knitter who went off-pattern in my yarn selection. Thanks to the shopping prowess of #FlatBarb, Cathie was working with Sunseeker by Cascade, which has a lovely sparkle (zoom in to see the sparkles; they’re worth the effort). The colorway was Sand, not Oatmeal as several misguided folks thought it should be. Really, when have you seen oatmeal as dark as this?!

Lace edge and body of Bermudiana shawl in progress

On the last day of class, several of us displayed our shawls-in-progress. I love the variety of yarn and color combinations (but could do without the garish backdrop of the conference room carpet!).


Knitters Not Knitting (At Least, Not All the Time)

July 24, 2015

The Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise (and all the non-knitting Muggles) docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda for 2 1/2 days, giving us plenty of time to explore and work on our shawls.

Mom, Cathie, and I walked around the dockyard, a former military installation that’s been converted to highlight historic, artistic, and tourist offerings. We poked around a couple of galleries, including one that had some whimsical found-art creations.

found art sculptures in gallery Cruise_Glass_Gallery

We rediscovered the yarn-bombed shrub that we’d seen two years ago. A bit faded and tattered but still there!

faded yarn bombed branches

Around the corner, we found a newly “bombed” light post.

yarn bomb light pole

One of the former military buildings houses a glass blowing studio and shop, where we paused to watch an artist creating dozens of little bee sculptures, which would soon be sold in the shop. Those aren’t pencils or paintbrushes in the box in front of him; they’re rods (sticks?) of colored glass.

glass artist at work

Another building houses a pottery studio and shop. That’s Mom, in her beautiful pink hat, browsing on the other side of the work space.

pottery studio and shop

The next day, we took a three-hour tour in a glass-bottomed boat, passing over coral reefs and an old shipwreck. The tour guides explained the types of coral, varieties of fish, and just how long it took for this particular ship, HMS Vixen, to be wrecked – deliberately so it would block a channel – in this particular location. Apparently there were several attempts. The bow juts above the surface.

bow of shipwreck Vixen

Looking through the glass bottom was awesome. That’s Mom’s head. Since she sometimes refers to herself as “your white-headed mother,” this seems like a good shot.

looking through glass-bottom boat

The boat anchored in a cove, so that passengers could go overboard and snorkel. Since I don’t have a waterproof camera, an above-water photo will have to suffice.

snorkelers return to the boat

Back on the ship, after showers and dry clothes, we knit before dinner. Afterall, it is a knitting cruise.

knitters in cruise ship stateroom


Knitting at Sea

July 20, 2015

Long-time readers of the blog know that this is not my first knitting cruise; in fact, it’s my third — last fall, we went to Canada and Maine and two years ago to Bermuda. Of course, even regular readers (some of whom are family) are a bit bemused by the notion of a knitter’s cruise. No, not everyone here is a knitter. It’s a huge ship, and there are 2,000+ people, which just about anyone would consider an over abundance of knitterly folk!

workers washing hull of cruise ship in port

Our 25 knitters had three class sessions between Boston and Bermuda. Teacher Sara Wolf has designed a shawl, the Bermudiana, especially for this cruise. It’ll be available on Ravelry this fall, so check back. She’s drawn on the sand, shells, and flowers of the island and has created shawl and scarf versions.

border variations in Bermudiana shawl

I prefer the top version in the photo because it shows off the lace and beading above the scallop edge, which I think gets lost in the lower (red) version. I volunteered to be a model for Sara, who was taking photos for Ravelry.

modeling the Bermudiana scarf

With a 463-stitch cast on and 12 rows of lace, it’s kind of slow going. So some of us gather in an upper deck bar for a pre-dinner drink, knitting, and conversation. Our fellow bar patrons are bemused.


Sheep Ahoy & We’re Off!

July 17, 2015

The fourth annual Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise has just set sail for Bermuda! Mom (Nancy) and I are on board for our second trip together. She’s a veteran of all four!

Dear friend Cathie has come from Vancouver for the adventure. We are very sad that fellow Canadian and dear friend Barb had to cancel because of a medical emergency. Perhaps you’ve heard of the children’s book and project, Flat Stanley? We’ve got a digital Flat Barb. She joined us for lunch today.

photo of Barb on iPad, sitting on lunch table

First knitting class is tomorrow morning. I hope to update regularly.

Taking the “Eeks!” out of Steeks

August 5, 2013

One of the captivating aspects of knitting is the engineering of the craft. It’s ingeniously simple — everything’s made with two basic stitches — but the variety, complexity, beauty, and artistry are endless.

Various techniques are used to transform knits and purls into beautiful works of all kinds — fine lace, Fair Isle sweaters and mittens, cabled creations of all kinds.

Steeking is one of those techniques that can strike terror into the hearts of knitters. It’s basically cutting your knit-in-the-round creation and turning in the edges. Think of taking a pullover sweater and cutting up the front (from belly button to neck) and then turning under the edges and making button bands.

Since it’s much easier to knit multiple colors (like Fair Isle) in the round than going back and forth on straight needles, steeking is most often used with color work.

Barb came prepared to our steeling class with two elbow-length wristlets (which probably have a fancier name in real life).


Jackie came with a gorgeous and HUGE 30-year old pullover that she wanted to convert to a cardigan and tighten up along the sleeves. You can see why.


It’s the cutting that’s nerve wracking. What if it all unravels? How can I cut this beautiful thing I’ve created?

The magic is that it doesn’t unravel — at least, not if you’re using “sticky” wool. The fibers of each strand tend to stick to each other and don’t unravel. Plus before you cut, you crochet up both sides of your cutting line to hold down the stitches. If you have a sewing machine handy, you can use that instead of crocheting. Not surprisingly, none of us had brought a sewing machine on the cruise!


As each intrepid knitter prepared to steak, we gathered around to watch, take photos, and lend moral support.



On the final snip, we cheered. Knitters are such generous folk!

Save the Date: Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise 2014

August 2, 2013

I’m thrilled that the amazing Shelley Leahey and Patti Crooks, wonder travel agent, have organized the third Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise.

October 19 – 26, 2014 (not 2013 — you’ve got time!)
Ship is the Royal Caribbean’s “Brilliance of the Seas”
from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine.

Maritime Canada is beautiful and rich in history (and wool!), and my home state of Maine is just spectacular, especially during the brilliance of autumn.


If you’re interested, contact Patti directly. She’s very, very helpful. I’m going to put down a $250 deposit just so I have a spot reserved. I have no idea what my life will be like next October, but I’m really hopeful that there won’t be any major scheduling conflicts. Plus the deposit is refundable until next spring (Patti’s got details).

Pardon the quality of the image — a photo of the flyer!



All Knit & No Play? Never!

August 1, 2013

On Wednesday, our final day in Bermuda, we had a mellow morning — at least, I did. I had a lovely, 3.5 mile walk around the ship, about 11 times around the 7th floor deck. Then breakfast and a couple of hours of writing work for a client. I made a quick trip to a nearby duty-free shop where I bought some perfume for Hannah and to a pharmacy where I got a couple of cans of ginger beer (so refreshing!) and a slew of Cadbury chocolate bars for Kevin and Michael.

At 1:30, we, along with about 50 other travelers, boarded a catamaran for a three-hour excursion.


Our crew of four native Bermudans, one who could trace his ancestors back 16 generations, were just terrific — knowledgeable, skilled, and engaging. They pointed out sites on the island, including several enormous estates, and shared some history. If you ever go to Bermuda, check them out: Rising Son II.


After an hour, we anchored in a beautiful lagoon, walled by cliffs, and nearly everyone went into the water to swim, snorkel, and paddle board.


I’ve only snorkeled once and was totally enthralled. The water was clear as could be and the fish were beautiful — striped, spotted, translucent with electric blue innards. At first I wished that I had a water-proof camera, but I realize that a photo couldn’t capture the experience. My memory will be my photo album.

It’s such a treasure to have all this time with my Mom, who didn’t swim (or indulge in a Rum Swizzle) but learned all about each of the crew members while I was exploring.


We were back onboard ship 30 minutes before our scheduled departure, ready for showers, reading on the balcony,


and an evening of knitting, dinner, and listening to a Glenn Miller Band tribute performance.

On the personal knitting front, I’m quite enjoying my Albers Cowl although I’m still only on the first of three squares.



Bermuda Knits

July 31, 2013

As promised, here’s a photo of Barb’s triangle scarf. She is one speedy and talented knitter.


Mom, Cathie, Barb, and I have spent the past 2 1/2 days enjoying Bermuda, someplace I’ve never been before.

After we arrived mid-day Sunday, we walked around the King’s Wharf Royal Dock area, a former military installation that’s been converted into an historic site combined with cruise and tourism services. That means the waterfront is deep enough to dock a huge cruise ship like ours.


Since it was Sunday when we arrived, many of the stores in Hamilton and St. George’s, the two major cities, were closed. So we walked about the dockyard, visiting a couple of local arts centers, a glass-blowing workshop, a clay and pottery studio, and a traditional rum cake bakery. It was beastly hot and humid, so we moved slowly and sat in the shade on a regular basis.


Although knitting doesn’t seem to be a popular pastime in Bermuda, we were delighted to find some yarnbombing in the area.


In the evening, the knitters gathered in an indoor bar on one of the upper decks and enjoyed an hour or so of drinks and conversation. A few of the significant others sat a table across the room and chatted amongst themselves, no doubt sharing tales of “just one more row” and the joys of having a partner who’s an obsessed committed and creative knitter.


On Monday the four of us took a terrific bus tour around the island, led by an informative, engaging, and funny guide. He shared lots of history of the island, most of which I was completely ignorant of. I didn’t realize that Bermuda was first settled by the English in the early 1600s nor that Bermudians dumped barrels of gunpowder, destined to be used against the American colonists, into the sea.

This lovely and sturdy chapel was built, using Bermuda cedar and limestone, around 1610.


The landscape, flora, and fauna (does that include birds?) are just spectacular.


In St. George’s, we watched an historical reenactment of a public punishment of a woman who was “sentenced” to 7 ocean dunks, public shaming, for the crime of nagging her husband. Chatting with the woman before the event, we learned that her “day job” the deputy speaker of the Parliament of Bermuda. She says this gig, which I believe she performs 6 or 7 days a week is the most fun she’s ever had!



Shawls from the Top Down and Square from the Middle

July 30, 2013

In addition to the Albers Cowl, we’ve had workshops on knitting a top-down shawl and another on a square shawl, knit from the middle out.

Ann’s instruction has been spot-on — just the right mix of explanation, theory, and flexibility. She’s generous with her knowledge, which is extensive, clear in her instruction, and patient in answering questions and providing guidance.

Here’s the angular variation on her top-down triangle shawl. As you can see, it’s not strictly a triangle (it’s several) and not strictly top-down. The two “wings” give the finished product a lovely drape over the shoulders.


Barb, Cathie, and I all decided to knit the crescent variation. They’re both very speedy knitters. Cathie clearly put her new-found color theory skills to work:


(Not really. She’s using Noro Silk Garden. A couple of our fellow knitters don’t appreciate her sense of humor and were, quite frankly, puzzled when she bragged about how lovely her color combinations were.)

Barb’s using some lovely Paton sock yarn for hers. No photo yet, but I’ll remedy that soon.

I’m using some luscious hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester Sock yarn by Riverside Studio that I bought in Ottawa earlier this year. I think it’s yummy (if still only a doll-shawl at this point).


I confess that I didn’t pay careful attention to the square shawl workshop because (1) I hadn’t signed up and wasn’t “officially” in the class and (2) I wanted to work on my two current projects rather than take on a third.

However, the square shawl construction is really clever. Square in the middle. Lots of picking up stitches along the edges and then knitting outwards, creating “spines” at each corner (just yarn overs that leave nice holes on each side of a center spine of 2 or 3 stitches). The sample she brought has gorgeous colors and drape, especially since she’s got the knack for wrapping and wearing just about anything.


Laugh Track

July 29, 2013

Cathie thinks she’s read somewhere that the human body needs one good laugh per day to stay healthy. At this rate, we’ll be the healthiest women on the planet — or at least on this cruise.

On Saturday, she, Barb, Mom, and I enjoyed about seven good tear-inducing belly laughs. Yesterday I lost count at five.

Of course, this morning we could barely remember them. One was sparked by a comment about almond milk, which quickly devolved into something about how difficult it would be to milk an almond.

As we waiting for a table at dinner, we looked over a balcony at a lovely three-generation family gathered for a photo to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary, a milestone we thought worthy of a rousing cheer. Either Barb or Cathie commented about “clapping Canadians,” which the other dubbed “Canadians with the clap.”

Like most funny situations, the retelling doesn’t do justice. You had to be there. And I’m really glad I am.

More later on the knitting front. Until then, here’s the four of us before dinner on Sunday. Barb and I are wearing handknit shawls. Mine is lace (pattern is Cleite) and Barb’s looks just like the sea in Bermuda, all lovely “waves” of blues and green.

four knitters on a cruise

Knitting Cruise

July 27, 2013

I know that most people don’t understand knitting. It’s not just that they don’t know HOW to knit (although I’m pretty sure almost everyone could learn); it’s that they don’t understand how someone could enjoy knitting — and the company of fellow knitters — so much.

You can see it in their eyes, When I tell someone, even a friend or coworker, that I have a knitting blog, there it is:  a flicker of surprise and bewilderment. There it is again when I pull out my knitting on the subway or in a coffee shop.

Like most knitters, I’ve gotten used to this reaction and am not bothered by it at all. After all, some people love antiquing or baseball or Civil War history or golf or cycling or TV shows and will happily and regularly spend hours enjoying said pursuits. Variety is the spice of life and part of what makes humans interesting.

But people’s reactions have gone to a whole different level when I’ve told them of my summer vacation plan: “I’m going on a knitting cruise from Boston to Bermuda and back.”

Forget the flicker of surprise; it’s downright uncontainable. “A what…?”

It’s not a ship full of 2,200 knitters. Rather it’s a ship full of 2,200 people — from infants to octogenarians, from different states and multiple countries.

Amidst these thousands are about 50 people, nearly all women, who have come aboard with the added purpose of expanding their knitting skills, taking workshops from the amazingly talented Ann Weaver, and meeting fellow knitters — like Barb and Cathie, two terrific Canadian knitters who are warm, generous, and loads of fun (no surprise there).


I’m traveling with my Mom, who had such a great time on a similar but shorter cruise last summer to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that I just had to join her. We set sail from Boston yesterday afternoon. First class is this morning. Stay tuned!


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