Hilo - estoy tejiendo en Costa Rica (y Panama)

Trip Start Aug 16, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Puntarenas,
Monday, August 16, 2010

As all you knitters know, a good stash is a thing of beauty.  Open that closet door and behold a world of texture and color!  Here, my limited [some might disagree on "limited" but knitters would know better] stash is extra important.  Hilo is the word for thread and is used for all threads, yarn to knit with, thread to sew with, material to make fishing nets with - you name it and if it can be treaded on a needle or wrapped around one, it is hilo!
Actually acquiring yarn, other than by a box mailed from the States, is next to impossible.  There are 25 gram skeins of nylon "stuff" that can be purchased locally but to call it yarn is an insult to the real thing.  Initially, I bought some sweaters for $1 each at the local Ropa Americana [you can easily figure that one out!] and unraveled them.  I was quite excited to think of the bounty that awaited me and a very cheap price but discovered that the resulting "yarn" is very loose meaning that threads are often missed and the end product looks messy.  I did have a real score with a sweater from Talbots that is a kind of ribbon yarn and will, I think, make up into a very nice camisole. 
I began with a small stash of sock yarn I had brought down in the past and two cones of cream and sugar cotton dishcloth yarn.  My stash has been supplemented by my beloved's trips here and I now have lots of different sock yarn to use.  I have also purchased some nylon hilo that is used to repair fishing nets and have started a belt with a lovely "linen" stitch.
All my needed notions are in my cloth wallet - hecho in Guatemala - stitch markers and a yarn needle on a safety pin, tiny folding scissors tied by a length of yarn to the zipper pull of the coin purse, and a 12 inch piece of a tape measure (why carry around the entire tape measure?) inside the coin purse.
I have experimented a lot with different techniques and have learned some new stitches as well as learning some things that Riki tried to get into my stubborn head on many occasions.  I knit my socks on one needle and wouldn't go back to doing them one at a time on separate needles but have yet to decide that both socks must actually match - I couldn't be bothered and what a waste of yarn - what to do with those small amounts of yarn?  [One thing I have done is put up a string of yarn and attached photos of loved ones with plastic clothes pins - it hangs on the window bars in front of my computer and I love looking at the photos - most from many years ago when we "had" fewer years under out belts and on our faces!]
I am never without my knitting - I have one of the "sock bags" I bought for the sock knitters in the Stitchworm knitting groups and it always has socks, or now gloves, on needles.  I love the idea that I can knit an item for someone and have them on my mind when I get to work and feel they are close when I have my yarn and needles in little pink tie-dyed bag, tucked safely in my backpack
Days when I know the knitters have gathered at the Stitchworm I think of the lively conversation that must be occurring [how was Hawaii Joanna?  England Annette?  The cruise  Naomi? (I know you are also pouring over new knitting magazines and maybe doing a little knitting).  Marjorie, when I begin a new project with a new stitch to master I think of you and wonder how you are progressing on the Master Knitter goal?  I made one headband with a cable and thought of you Louise and wondered if you have ever used the book on cabling techniques?  And often I wonder what new projects are on your needles.  I can't tell you the number of times I have been stumped - cannot get brioche stitch no matter how many different sets of instructions I find on the web - and wish for a few minutes with Riki who I know could set me right or at least try to!
I am quite a strange sight with my yarn and needles.  People here crochet items like doilles and other items for the home but don't knit at all.  The weather in Puntarenas makes sweaters and socks superfluous - finding anything in the way of footwear beyond flip-flops is something of a task - and forget sensible walking shoes!
The local yarn "shop" has some size 3 and 4 straight needles but nothing else in the way of knitting supplies.  I have attracted the attention of lots of kids and also met a women in the airport [I was waiting in the line to check in and of course got out my project in progress to pass the time - ended up she crochets pocket books using different colored thick fishing net hilo, lives in Limon on the east coast and is one of 35 siblings!!!]
I have put up samples of my headbands for sale at school and, following Riki's rule of at least 50 cents an hour to cover supplies - are offering them for sale for $12 - $6 of which is for shipping costs!  Socks are $16 - barely enough to cover the cost of two balls of good sock yarn.  No surprise that there haven't been any customers to date!
I have started a new venture in textiles - am constructing a backstrap loom.  It isn't ready for weaving yet but I hope to get it set up today.  I'll do a separate entry on the culture of this ancient craft once I have a project on the loom!
I did a paper for my Latin American Culture class on "Wearable Art" - the weaving of the Mayas, reverse applique by the Kunas in Panama, and the knitted caps of the Andeas.  Anyone interested send me a note and I'll be happy to send you a copy.
Life is pretty good in the tropics - lots of fresh veggies, lots of sunshine, and lots of happy people and I'm pretty happy too! 
Accompanying photos are from various locations and all include some yarn somewhere.
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Comments

rachelbeckford
rachelbeckford on

Do you have hotels here? How did you find my blog? Are you interested in hilo? Rachel

Linda McIlroy on

I need you to contact me, ASAP

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