Posts Tagged ‘Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise’

Been Dyeing to See You!

September 19, 2016

I’m supposed to be hiking the tallest peak in Maine right now, but a forecast of three days of >60% chance of rain forced me to change my plans. The likelihood that my hiking companions and I would be able to reach the summit were pretty slim and the chance of an 11.5 hour round-trip drive and two nights in a lean-to were 100%. There’s always next year….

With a “free” Sunday, I decided to visit the Stitch House, a nearby yarn store that I’d been meaning to get to for ages. Yesterday was also the final day of the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, which means special events and sales. I found both.

When I arrived, Shelley, founder of the wonderful Sheep Ahoy Knitters Cruise, and Diane of Lady Dye Yarns were at a back table with white yarn, cups, water, gloves, and loads of little bottles of dye.

dyeing-dip

Shelley was creating an Irish flag-themed skein as Diane demonstrated the finer points of dipping and stirring.

dyeing

Shelley’s a quick study. Her next skein was speckled, not dipped. (I have no idea if “speckled” is the proper term, but it works for me.)

dyeing-speckled

As befitting a local yarn store, the Stitch House sells lots of locally-made yarns — some from Boston (like Diane’s) and others from around the Northeast US. Check out this worsted from Molly Girl.

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Sister-friend Cathie is a big fan of purple and pink, so I had to take a photo for her. The Rockstar colorways are named after songs. This one is named “Dancing Queen” and get this…

mollygirl-lyrics

…the lyrics are printed on the label!

I couldn’t resist a skein of Lady Dye’s worsted in Luna. I don’t know what it will become, but it’s ready to go when inspiration strikes.

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Hope There’s Nothing But Cashmere in Heaven

July 27, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made many new, close friends in my 50s. I’m blessed to have quite a few Sister-Friends, those phenomenal women with whom I share strong bonds of trust, love, and shared experience. Most of them I’ve known for many years.

Imagine my delight several years ago when I met and made two Sister-Friends in the matter of a week, over the course of my first (their second) Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise. Cathie and Barb had been work colleagues, close friends, and stash-enabling knitting buddies for 25 years, and they welcomed me with open arms.

Barb brought us all tiaras for “formal night” in the sheep’s ship’s dining room. Of course.

barb-cathie-mah-tiaras

Cathie shared a story that illustrates Barb’s obsession with love of yarn and her sense of humor perfectly:

“One time, we went to a yarn fare in Kitchener, arriving when the doors opened. In the first 15 minutes, we had each spent several hundred dollars and had to make a trip to the car.  I said ‘this could be a problem – we’ve only been here 15 minutes.’  Barbie said, ‘I know, I’m worried there won’t be enough room in my trunk!’

The three of us snorted with laughter on a regular basis whenever we were together. I’m quite sure none of us has been able to look at almond milk without giggling. We emailed, occasionally talked on the phone, went on another Sheep Ahoy cruise, this time to Canada and Maine. Love, laughter, and knitting abounded whenever we were together and even when we weren’t.

And then tragedy struck. Last week, Barb died of advanced lung cancer that she, who never smoked, had been diagnosed with in April.

In May, Cathie and I took a road trip (me from Boston, her from Vancouver) for a weekend visit to Barb’s home in Ontario. As always, love, laughter, and knitting were in plentiful supply — along with delicious food and yarn shopping at Barb’s local yarn store, The Little Red Mitten.

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I’m trying to focus on the positive and be grateful for having been blessed with such a wonderful friend. And I am, truly. But sometimes the sadness and unfairness of it all tightens my throat and squeezes tears from my eyes.

I’ll remember her this way — with an armful of yarn, a sparkle in her eyes, and a smile on her face, giddy with the optimism and possibility of what would come next.

barb

 

 

 

Knitters’ Road Trip

May 18, 2016

Long-time readers will know of my knitting cruise adventures with my Canadian sister-friends, Barb and Cathie. Recent life circumstances required us to get together for a couple of days in lovely Ontario.

Cathie flew in from Vancouver and I from Boston. With a right-off-the-lot rental car, we headed west to Barb’s home in the countryside. After initial hugs and smiles, we settled in to comfy seats on the sun-lit porch. Before we knew it, several hours had passed. Topics ranged from national politics (Canadian and US), the most recent Ship Ahoy Knitting Cruise (which none of us were able to partake of) hopes for future cruises, updates on our children and Barb’s grandchild, and of course, knitting — stashes, projects (current and future).

Barb’s mother was a home economics teacher for many years, so we had many giggles over some of the recipes in her mid-1960s cook books. Wonder who made Moonbeam Salad Loaf, the ingredients of which were lime gelatin, cottage cheese, and marshmallows (cut into eighths, of course!)?!

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Barb’s dear husband Bill keep us fed and watered with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and white wine. After dinner (courtesy of Cathie and a local caterer), we picked up our needles and watched Murder on the Orient Express. I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to find out “who done it” so it’s still a mystery to me!

The morning was sunny and clear, so the three of us sat outdoors with coffee and knitting, surrounded by birdsong and birds, for a lovely hour or so before breakfast.

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Being a road trip, we were compelled to check out Barb’s LYS, Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas. Fun fact: the shop is across the street from the statue of Jumbo, the town’s most famous 19th century elephant. Curious to know more? Read this.

The Little Red Mitten was fabulous — room after room of scrumptious yarns, patterns, and samples. Who could resist?

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In a feat of perfect timing that must come from 38 years of marriage to a knitter, Bill arrived just as we finished shopping. Hugs, kisses, and perhaps a tear or two were exchanged in the parking lot as we went our separate ways.

Cathie and I headed west to London Yarns — a truly remarkable example of a creative and successful retailer. When she lived in Toronto, Cathie was a frequent customer of London Yarns; based on her descriptions of the many, many projects she made from their afghan and other kits, I’d say she could be considered a part-owner!

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She’s smitten (a kinder word than obsessed) with the adorable Top This baby hat kits. And really, who wouldn’t be? Did I mention that London Yarn takes phone orders and will ship to Canada and the US?

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Mindful of my carry-on bag’s size, I limited myself to 2 balls of Drake Duet for a cowl (details in future post) and 2 small balls of neon yarn for a project-to-be-named-later (when I can think of something!)

When asked at US Customs if I had anything to declare, I refrained from blurting out, “I declare that I had a soul-warming visit with two crazy wonderful knitters whom I miss already.”

Bermudiana Shawl Done!

August 25, 2015

Shawls always take longer than I expect. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since I’ve knit quite a few, but each time I’m reminded of just how long it takes to knit the several hundred stitches that make up a good “wrappable” shawl. How many stitches? For the Bermudiana, it was 463 — back and forth and back and forth and…

But now that the ends are woven in and the whole thing is blocked (a full-water block — I’m committed), I must say it’s lovely.

finished Bermudiana Shawl displayed on porch railing

I learned a few new things with this project: how to add beads (using a tiny crochet hook) and the i-cord bind-off. If you look very closely, you can see the gold beads in the lace “flowers” on the edge. They’d stand out better if I’d used the correct yarn for the lace edge, but I didn’t. Many thanks to friend Shelley, queen of the Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise, for giving me some of her yarn.

lace edge of Bermudiana shawl showing beads

The pattern called for an i-cord bind-off, so that’s what I did. Not sure I’d do that again soon. I’m not sure how much stability it adds and it’s a slow bind-off, which seems somehow unfair. By the time you get to the “I’m ready to bind off” part of a project, you’re ready to be done — and quickly. But I like learning and trying new techniques, so I stuck with it. Glad I did (even though I wasn’t so sure while doing it!).close up of i-cord bind-off along edge of Bermudiana Shawl

“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!).

Bermudiana_shawl_varieties

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

 

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.

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