Sunday, August 3, 2014

Slowly, Slowly

This morning I made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.  We bought a huge container of blueberries last week and have been eating them with everything.  This is my Go To recipe for berries.  They are fantastic.  This time I made some with blueberries and others with chocolate chips.  I put the pieces in after I spoon the batter into the muffin papers.  That way I know each muffin has an equal distribution of add-ins.  I know this sounds a bit OCD, but I like to get a taste in each bite.

I love these muffins with my tea and Sunday paper.

On the knitting front, I'm slowly making progress on Trisha' blanket.  I've sworn to not work on anything else until this is done. After the current block is completed, I will be halfway there.  I'm estimating each block takes 4 hours. If I don't get this finished by mid-September, I'll get some long stretches of time to work on it while taking a car ride to Virginia.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Maui Part 3

There are a few more pictures of Maui I would like to share.  Then I'll get back to knitting.

One of the sites I wanted to find was the heart in the rocks by the Nakelele blowhole.  Erosion has cut a hole in the rock in the shape of a heart.  I had the impression that it was large, but it is actually only about 12 inches high.

On the day we visited the blowhole was squirting water but not extremely high.  It was still very dangerous to get close.  There are signs warning about the deaths that have occurred by getting sucked down the hole.

When we were watching the sunset from the top of Haleakala, my daughter took a picture as if she were holding the sun.  I really like the photo.

On the west side of Maui is an area called Dragon's Teeth.  Millions of years ago a volcanic eruption occurred during a fierce storm.  As the lava flowed down to the see, the waves pushed it upward.  As the lava cooled and hardened, a row of teeth-like rocks were formed along the edge of the water. It is really amazing to see how the forces of nature interplay.

 We spent an afternoon in Paia, an artsy town on the Road to Hana.  A parking lot had a fence made out of old surf boards.

I really miss being in Maui.  I wish I had a machine that could instantly transport me back there.  This was the view from the balcony of the condo.  I hope to witness this view again someday.  This is my 'Happy Place'.

I took a couple knitting projects along on the trip.  I really didn't get as much done as I had hoped.  I worked a little on the airplane ride out.  We were so busy in Maui there wasn't much time to knit.  Most of my down time was spent enjoying the view, drinking wine and napping.

I am working on my Pink Selway.  After making the Linen Top, I decided that summer sweaters are quick wins.  This one is not quite as quick since it has a lace pattern.  It won't get done this summer because of other projects.

This is the main reason Pink Selway isn't going to be worn this summer.  This is a blanket for Trisha to take to college.  It is based on Kay Gardiner's A Light in the Window.  Once I got the hang of the pattern, I decided to go my own way.  I'm also only making it as a 4x4 square.  Trisha is petite and is very anxious to have this with her at college. 

My other distraction from Pink Selway is this scarf, Nymphalidea.  I saw some finished projects on Ravelry and fell in love.  I dove into my stash and pulled out two balls that go very nicely together.  This is my take-along project.  I'll do a little at lunch during the week to relieve some work stress.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maui Part 2

We've been home a week.  It has taken us this long to recover from jet lag.  A friend told me that it takes about a day for every time zone difference.  That is about how it worked for me.  There were a couple nights I couldn't fall asleep until 3 am.  But Thursday night, I went to bed at 10, fell asleep easily and sleep well.  I will admit I drank a cup of SleepyTime tea beforehand.  I'm sure it helped some.

Back to Maui.  We explored the southern edge of the island our first day.  In the morning Trisha, Blake and I took a walk on the beach.  It think Ed and Kristin were exercising.  Wailea beach on the bigger side compared to some of the beaches.  It was about 100 yards or so, bounded at each end by lava rocks.  The rocks were great for snorkeling.  A lot of fish and turtles hang out around them.  The sand at this beach was powdery.  It was so soft on the feet.  Great for exfoliating the feet.

Later that day we went out to Makena state park to see the site of the last volcanic eruption on Maui.  In 1790 an eruption occurred that created an even flow crater.  In the picture below, you can see the layers from the lava flow.

The cinder cone wasn't very high, only about 360 feet.  Ed and Blake considered climbing it until they touched the lava.  It is very crumbly.  Signs warn of the dangers of climbing.  I'm glad they decided against it.  The erosion of the cinder has created a black sand beach.  The sand was coarser than the tan sand on Wailea beach.  And obviously a lot hotter to walk on!  As with all Maui beaches, large lava rocks border the beach.  Here we are on some of the rocks.  Fortunately we didn't try to navigate around the rocks.  We later learned that a nude beach was just around the corner.

From black sand beach we went further down to Big Beach.  Big Beach deserves its name for two reasons.  First, it stretches farther than any other beach on the south shore. Second, the surf there is treacherous.  The shore break is large there.  The waves come crashing and can easily knock a person over.  The life guards announced several times over a loud speaker about the dangers of being in the water.  We had a relaxing afternoon, but stayed out of the water mostly.

Our second full day on Maui was low key.  Kristin wasn't feeling well so we decided to just hang out at the condo for the day.  We did get down to the pool.  It was the only time we all swam at the condo's pool.  I wished we had done that more. Later in the day we visited the Shoppes of Wailea and then went out to dinner.

The third day was our trip along the Road to Hana.  I covered that in the previous post.

July 4 was spent snorkeling at Wailea beach and then a luau.  I think Ed was a little skeptical about the luau at first.  In the end, everyone enjoyed it.

Kalua pig was prepared in an imu.

It was then ceremoniously presented to the guests.

We were given leis.

Had delicious food to eat.

And watched a show which told of the settling of the Hawaiian islands.

On a note about Maui cuisine, I noticed some things are very common:  sweet breads, macaroni salad and banana bread.  They do love their carbs!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wowie Maui (Part 1)

We just got back from an incredible vacation.  We spent 11 days in Maui.  I can't describe how wonderful the trip was. 

My husband's cousin has a condo in Wailea.  It is a beautiful place with a spectacular view of the ocean.  The condo sits up on a hill.  The balcony faces west.  You can see the other part of Maui on the right and the island of Lanai in the center.  On clear days Molokai is faintly visible between the two on the far horizon.

I think the what amazed me the most were the sunsets.  Here are a few.

One of several from the condo.

From the top of Haleakala Crater, 10,023 feet above sea level.

From sea level while on a sunset dinner cruise.

The most spectacular sunset was on July 4th.  We went to a luau. We didn't see any fireworks to celebrate the nation's birthday, but Mother Nature provided a spectacular replacement.  The colors were incredible.  I have seen paintings of sunsets like this and have always thought they were exaggerated.  I no longer think that.  This photo really doesn't do it justice.

We took many day trips around the island.  On July 3rd, we drove the infamous Road to Hana.  It is a twisty, narrow road.  I wasn't feeling well that day (recovering from a head cold I caught from the flight over to Maui) and really didn't enjoy the drive.  It was nerve-racking.  There were many one-lane bridges which required us to stop and look for on-coming traffic.  You could tell the locals from the tourists by the speed and caution used at them.  Here is one with a line of cars waiting to proceed. A local woman (we know she was a local because she was driving a US Mail car) got impatient with the traffic and sped past the queue.

After we reached Hana we continued another 15 miles down the road to the portion of Haleakala National Park that reaches down to the coast.  There we hiked the 'Ohe'o Gulch.  We went past a Banyan tree,

through a bamboo forest
and back to Waimoku Falls.

After that we retraced our path back to the condo.  The trip took the entire day.

I'll post more in another blog.  This one is getting quite long.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Longest Day of the Year

Today is the first day of summer.  I'm going to celebrate by going to a baseball game and wearing the newest addition to my wardrobe, my Linen Top.

I made a few modifications to this pattern.  I cast on 66 stitches for each piece and I knit 75 rows in the center sections between the pattern rows.  After I seamed the pieces together, I slipped this on to see how it would fit.  I was horrified that it was too short.  I don't have the figure for a belly shirt.  I immediately starting thinking which daughter I was going to give this to.  But after I put it in the washer and dryer for a spin, the fabric loosed up and the garment lengthened to the perfect spot.  I pulled it out of the dryer while it was still a bit damp, held it by the shoulder seams and gave it a good shake.  It then went on to a hanger to dry completely.

I wore it to work one day this week.  I got many compliments on it.  I can't tell you how happy I am with this.  I want to get more linen and make it in other colors.

This was my first garment made of linen.  Years ago I made a shawl out of linen. At the time I only hand washed it, thinking that is what you do with hand knits.  I was very nervous about putting this top into the washer, but a friend kept reassuring me that everything would be alright.  Now that I see how wonderful the linen is, I think I'm going to toss the shawl into the washer for a spin.

Since the top is now finished, I am moving on to a couple other projects.  First there is another summer top in the works.

This is my Pink Selway.  The yarn is a linen/cotton blend. I'm hoping it assumes the same drapiness as the Linen Top.  My only complaint right now is that the yarn is very splitty.  It is a 3-ply yarn without much twist. I have to be very careful when I'm purling the yarn over stitches to make sure I don't also grab the knit stitch next to it.

The other project I started is Nymphalidea.  

I saw the version that Wendy's Knit made and fell in love.  After a dive through the stash, I came up with two balls of cotton that I thought would work fabulously.  The green is Aslan Trends Class.  The multi-colored yarn is a mystery yarn I remember buying last year at one of the fiber festivals.  The multi seems to be a cotton blend of some sort.  I don't know how much is there, but my plan is to knit until I run out of yarn. 

Once these projects are done, I have to get back to Trisha's college blanket.  She is anxious for me to get it finished.