Tag Archives: maui

Where did December go?

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Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)

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So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!

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I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:

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Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.

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Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!

 

Two sleeps to Maui

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Yes, only two sleeps. OMG! I have made a packing list but need to pull out my cabin-legal backpack and start tossing things in. And as all yarnies know, the most important item in your suitcase is the knitting or crochet project. I am pretty sure I’ll be taking some cotton yarn and a hook or needles with which to make a really simple travel project. I will be mostly offline for a week so I’ll update you all after I get back. This trip is to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We usually go on a small retreat within the province but we’re going further afield for this one.

As for WIPs and other projects:

My only knitted WIP is this one – Lanesplitter skirt.  I made one of these years ago with James C Brett Marble Chunky and I love it. So comfortable. Easy. Customisable for length, width and yarn gauge. This time I’m using the somewhat brighter Bernat Pop! in Full Spectrum. I am withholding my judgment on it until I see whether I dare to wear such a bright garment! It could always be adapted to be a cowl!

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Easy stitch pattern to memorise. With hindsight, it may have toned things down to stripe it with black. Hmmm!

Today I’m not working until 5 so I spent a happy few hours in my sewing room. This year I decided to make some Christmas stockings. If I’d had more time, I would have crocheted them, but time was running out and so I bought flannelette at work in neutral shades and whipped up five of them, adding some white polar fleece around the top.

The five of us are actually making wishlists this year and planning to give each other gifts. Two out of the three boys are working now. The other one is pretty broke after his recent holiday to California but I’m sure he can scrape something together and show willing!

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The foot looks huge from this angle and the cuff isn’t smooth in this photo, but there’s plenty of room for stocking stuffers.

While I was downstairs, I pulled out some bandanas that I’d made a couple of years ago for the farmers market. They didn’t sell and have been sitting around since. I cut them into quarters and hemmed the raw edges, then pulled out another fabric from the drawer and made a few more from scratch.

We’ve been using cloth napkins for years now. We never need to buy paper towels or napkins. Our old cloth ones are so well used now that they are falling apart so these new ones will get lots of use.

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It’s so grey today I went with kitchen photos with the overhead light on. Not perfect but you get the idea.

And finally, I’m sure we’ll get a tree this year but not until dh and I are back from holiday. So for now we have a Lego City Advent Calendar that I couldn’t resist picking up from Costco a while back. It’s fun to have a teeny tiny model to make each day. We’re taking turns.

How are your Christmas preparations going (if you celebrate it)? Do you have lots of gifts to make?

 

WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan

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I’m only a year and a half ‘late’ on doing this Crochet-along. It actually started in January 2016 and all the parts were published, done and dusted long ago. However it fitted my criteria for a summer blanket project. It’s modular which means I  can work on small pieces without being swamped in yarn on hot summer evenings. I can use multiple colours and get a scrappy look because, hey, it’s a Groovyghan and it’s supposed to be a bit wacky.

It’s coming along quite quickly. I’m using my stash of DK yarn, which is combination of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Mark & Kattens Carolina. I’ve had that Carolina for so long that it’s now discontinued and it was annoying me that it was still hanging around. I invested a lot of money in greens and browns, thinking I’d make this gorgeous cardigan, an adult version of a pattern I had with fiddlehead ferns embroidered on it. Nope, that stalled, as did the other projects I tried with it.

I see most people use a 4mm hook with DK, even a 3.5mm, but I’m using my Addi Swing 4.5mm because (a) it’s an awesomely comfortable hook, (b) I tend to crochet tightly, and (c) I don’t want my blanket coming out too small.

Here’s the pile of stash, sorted by colour:

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And here’s my progress:

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One strip of granny squares is finished (though I haven’t woven in all the ends yet). To control the colours somewhat, all the centres are yellow, and all the second and fifth rounds are shades of green (I have a lot of greens). That was part 1 of the CAL. Then part 2 is the popcorn blocks, where I chose to use the same purple for the background on both blocks and two of the greens for the popcorns to tie things in with the grannies.

The Ravelry link for the CAL is here. And the page on the Keep Calm and Crochet On UK website where it all comes together is here. Whilst I’m not crocheting along with other people, I have the benefit of working at my own pace, which means I’m not waiting around for the next part to be published, or rushing to finish a section and feeling pressured.

As you can see, this is not a portable project. I have three large bags/baskets of yarn and I’m choosing colours as I go. So I needed a small project which would fit into a project bag for taking to work and other places. This is one which I have worked on solely in my lunchbreaks the last three days:

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It’s a nice bit of comforting Tunisian crochet in simple stitch using a bulky yarn from Michaels and an 8mm hook. This will probably end up being another co-worker gift. No rush to finish this one either.

So that’s that! Summer has officially hit here, with temperatures into the 30s, though I think maybe it will be mid-20s for the next few days. The over-full lake has started to recede, and hopefully the beaches will all be open again soon (that’s if they are usable, considering the debris, dead grass etc all over the place). I have started an exercise routine as I need to firm things up for MAUI! Yes, we have booked a week in Maui for our 30th wedding anniversary in December. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time and see for myself if all the rumours are true – that it’s an amazing place!

Tai Chi Man has sadly been given extra work around the house that he really didn’t need. He has the week off and already has a “honey-do” list as long as his arm, but we’re having trouble with the plumbing. The water pressure is triple what it should be which of course we discovered just before the weekend, the extra pressure is making the toilets and dishwasher quite unhappy, and he has had to phone around for parts and make numerous trips to the hardware store. I guess the pressure valve on the pipe coming into the house failed (no cold water tank like we used to have in the UK, just a direct line). What a nuisance! Old houses are always giving you little surprises. Nasty ones. Sometimes expensive ones.

I’d better go and get started on straightening up around here. The water is off so I can’t clean the bathrooms but I can certainly vacuum, and hem curtains, and get some things crossed off MY to-do list.

Happy crafting!