A little more aloha

Besides the moonsets, what else captivated us in Hawaii? More nature! More science!

We visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes, and you never forget that you’re on them. Halema’uma’u Crater in the center of Kilauea Caldera continues to smoke.

Halema'uma'u Crater

And the edge of caldera continues to steam. The heat under the ground makes the rainwater in the cracks steam.

Caldera steam

We had a pretty ambitious day planned, and got to do most of it. We took a short (2.5 mile) hike that took us around the edge of the caldera, and down to the caldera floor.

Kilauea Caldera

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Cairns mark the trail. I love how little plants have sprouted in the cracks on the floor, tiny attempts at new life. There’s actually a trail that crosses the caldera, but it’s been closed for years because it’s not safe.

We took a stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube. It was actually underwhelming, but out of the oncoming rain! No pic; it was over almost before it began.

We drove to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. Why is it the end? Lava overran the road in 2003. So cool that nature has her way.

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Looking west back towards the usable road…

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Looking east. Road closed, indeed.

Hōlei Sea Arch is here, too. You’re 90 feet above the water; don’t lean too far out over the edge to see it!

Holei sea arch

I’m not sure why there’s a lone stand of palm trees near here; I tried googling but didn’t come up with a definitive answer.

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I wanted to visit the petroglyphs at Pu’u Loa, but it was near dark when we left the end of the road. And it gets really dark. No lights on the road, and it was raining, too. My biggest regret? I forgot that I wanted to see Halema’uma’u Crater glowing in the dark! I guess I’ll have to go back, soon.

We went snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach the next day. This is the easiest snorkel spot, ever. You can walk into the water and see fish, but they really look better if you put your mask on. Lots of honu (sea turtles) visit here, too.

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They’ve named this fellow Rocky. Maybe he’s the same one I saw in January.

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We toured a chocolate farm, Original Hawaiian Chocolate. This is the first chocolate venture to go from farm to chocolate bar in Hawaii. Single origin Hawaiian chocolate, mmmmm. Cacao pods form from tiny flowers on the wood of the trees.

green cacao

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They come in different colors, but they all make chocolate. Inside the pod, the beans are covered with a white sticky substance. Geckos find it delicious.

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We like the part from the inside!

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We also visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, or Place of Refuge. In olden times, if you had broken the strict kapu laws, you could be put to death…unless you made it to the pu’uhonua first. My family thought of it as “base,” and they felt a need to visit. Feeling guilty?

Base!

Safe!

Last sunset…

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And remember how I said that you never forget that you’re sitting on a volcano? Our last evening there we felt a disturbance, unnerving enough that I checked with the US Geological Survey’s site. A 3.2 earthquake, off the coast. Just a little rumble.

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Back home, and back to knitting!

Chasing the moonset, and Korknisse aloha!

Our vacation in Hawaii last week coincided with the full moon. I love watching the moon set over the water, and this time I was prepared! The moon set later each successive morning, so my pictures were different every day.

Monday, the 16th, 5:24 a.m. HST.
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By 5:51, things were looking distinctly reddish!
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Tuesday, 6:23 a.m. The moon was full last night at 11 p.m., so this is the full moon setting. The sky is a lot lighter, closer to dawn.
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Wednesday, 6:25 a.m. The moon is a lot higher than yesterday’s pic at this time.
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By 6:51, the sky was pretty light. No more lovely moonlight on the water, but I do like the puppy-shaped cloud.
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At that point, I wasn’t planning to wake early for any more moon pics, but on Thursday, I woke up early by accident, and saw Jupiter, below and to the right of the moon. 6:25 a.m.

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I learned a lot about my new camera, and have a lot more to learn. Looking forward to it!

On Friday and Saturday, the surf was unusually high, and the beaches on the west side of the Big Island were closed. This meant less beach time for us, but we enjoyed watching the waves from our lanai. All the comforts of home, and surfers to entertain us, too.

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I’ll tell you about our close encounter with a volcano in another post…

Have you finished your gift knitting? I don’t like scheduled gift knitting; it’s too much pressure for me. But I do like a little knitting for a personal touch. Do you remember the Korknisse I knit a couple years ago? (Pattern: Korknisse by Manne)

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I decided to knit a few on vacation. But my gauge was a lot looser this time around (a little too much aloha?), so I had to dress up champagne corks instead of regular corks.

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L’il chunkies wishing you a merry Christmas Eve!

Arm Knitting?

I guess it’s a thing. You use your arms as knitting needles. Really big gauge, suitable for a chunky accessory. Check out the video here, and then let me know if you think it’s worth trying. I’m not convinced yet…

I’m being pretty slow about getting ready for Christmas, but here’s the next little step. This is the poinsettia tree at my church; we’ve been using the frame for the past three years or so. I always help set it up. I think we may need to scoot it back a little bit; the light isn’t falling quite right on it. I’m probably the only person who is that particular about it, though.

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You can see the first two advent candle banners on the right side of the picture. When it’s all up, it will look like this.

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We made these last year, and I love them. If you want to know more about the technique (salt and dye on silk), you can read about it here. It’s really fun, but you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out until it does. Hard for a control freak like me, but a good lesson in letting go!

Are you knitting/making gifts this year? I have one thing I want to make for a friend, but it won’t get done before Christmas. I’m planning on the box of yarn with a card explaining what it’s going to be method. Have you ever done that? I’m thinking it counts!

One holiday at a time…

That’s my motto. No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, no Christmas before Halloween!

A couple weekends ago, it couldn’t be helped. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, so we had to do both at the same time. My sister-in-law made a menurkey. I can’t find the picture of her with it, so here’s DH.

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We came home and celebrated the rest of Hanukkah.

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(Playing with depth of field and my menorah collection)

Now I’m ready to prepare for Christmas.

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We had a little snow here to put me in the right frame of mind.
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I found Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a reasonable price at Costco, so I’m making some vanilla extracts. Two are made with vodka, and two are made with bourbon. I gues that would make the latter…Bourbon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract! A week later, the vodka version is nearly as dark as the bourbon version. But don’t let that fool you; it won’t be ready to use for about a month or so. Here’s a recipe; it’s crazy simple. I love these flip top bottles, but I wish they came in a smaller version! These are 8 ounces, which is a lot of vanilla extract.

More merry-making: Here’s a group from Westlake High School singing at the Rotunda in the Texas Capitol in Austin Texas.

Yes, Austin! We had a quick getaway this week. Here’s a better view up into the dome. The star up there measures 8 feet across.

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This is a beautiful building. So much detail!

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Even the door hinges are beautiful.

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Texas State Representatives meet here.

We also toured the LBJ Library and Museum, and saw lots of bands play. Favorite meal: breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Cheap hipster slacker breakfast.

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We got around via Car2Go. Very cool!

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Cheaper than a cab, and pretty convenient. You only pay for the time you drive, 41 cents/minute, and you can park in any legal parking lot in their service area. We have these in Portland, too, and use them occasionally when we need a second car. Do you have Car2Go where you live?

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me, not yet!

MKAL colors, chat

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I’m so looking forward to the Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL. I’m going to knit the mystery shawlette in the same colors I used when I designed it, because I love it so much I want one for me! I’m not sure where the sample is going to live for the next year, but you can be sure I’ll be enjoying mine.

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This is Knitted Wit Single Fingering in Silver Lining and Madge. I love the contrasty pop between these colors. I originally had chosen a paler pink, which looked like it coordinated nicely, but I liked this combo a lot better. Here’s an early hint: There is some striping in this shawlette. (I can tell you that because it says so on the pattern’s Ravelry page.) Take some of your yarn, wrap it around a pencil 8 times or so, and then use your second color and do the same right next to it. Do this again to alternate the two colors a couple times. Do you like the way they look together? Yes? You’re good to go!

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Hey, look, I finished something! This is In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I knit it with Malabrigo Worsted, and it’s sweet. It’s very oversized, though; it will be a while before Lorajean’s new baby can wear it!

I bought a new camera, and these are the first pictures I’ve downloaded from it. I like it so far. It’s a micro four thirds camera, a Panasonic Lumix GF6 (last year’s model) with a 14-42 kit lens (DSLR equivalent is 28-84). It’s smaller and lighter than a DSLR, which means I might even travel with it. I like to travel light as far as cameras go, and I didn’t want to buy a camera that would only be used at home for photographing knitting!

More pix, next post…

Have you chosen your colors for the mystery KAL yet? Are you stash diving or going shopping? (I love an excuse to shop.)

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL

The 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl is coming up fast. It’s February 27 – March 2 next year, but the fun starts NOW.

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We’re having a mystery knit along (KAL) and crochet along (CAL) before the crawl starts. We? Yes, we! I’m thrilled to let you know that I’m the designer of the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL Shawlette. As a native Portlander, I hope you enjoy the very Portland elements that I designed into this piece.

Presales of the shawlette patterns (one knit and one crochet) have begun through Ravelry. You’ll have plenty of time to pick the perfect yarn for your shawlette. Join the chatter in the RCYC group on Ravelry. Knitting begins in January, which is traditionally selfish knitting month after holiday gift knitting!

The shawlette is knit with two colors in fingering weight yarn; I chose to work with two semi-solids. Please come knit along with me; I’m looking forward to knitting along with you!

Want to know more about the yarn crawl? Check out all the details on the Rose City Yarn Crawl page. You can order a tote with this year’s new logo, and sign up for the Yarn Ball, a pre-yarn crawl reception on Wednesday, February 26.

Don’t live in Portland? You can still knit along. I think you’ll love this shawlette. I know I do!

Linocuts!

Lino-whats? Linocuts!

I went to a printmaking party at a friend’s house on Sunday. It was a new crafty thing for me. We traced images, transferred them to linoleum blocks, and then carved the blocks so we could print with them. (Cool carving tools, no picture though.) This block is about 3 inches square.

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I used a knit snowflake motif, because, hey, it’s me.

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I love how my prints turned out. The gold on black paper didn’t have as much pop as I expected; the silver was better. I like the gold on the cream paper, though. The blue print is the first one I made. I’d love to try this again. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it wasn’t nearly as intimidating or complicated as I thought it would be! I’ll cut these prints out and mount them on cards for stationery.

Knitting continues, and I picked up some new yarn for no reason.

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The one on the left was purchased in Ellensburg when I was there at the beginning of the month, because I wanted to support the LYS there. It’s Ella Rae Lace Merino, but really more of a light fingering weight than lace weight, 460 yards/100g. The one on the right is KnittedWit’s CSY offering for November. It’s Bling, colorway is Solstice, 438 yards/100g. I saw it when I was labeling yarn for Lorajean, and had to have a skein. “It followed me home, can I keep it?”

Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Thanksgiving, to all who celebrate. We’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and the beginning of Advent this week. Bring on the holidays!

Kvinneakt, adorned

I hustled downtown last night to see the latest installation of Monumental Attire. It was an event!

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I arrived in time to see Kvinneakt being adorned with a sparkly crochet snowflake shawl. (And pasties.)

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She even has leg warmers!

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I hope she stays adorned for a while. No time to visit in daylight today. Sorry for the iPhone pix; I’m between cameras right now. I’ll add links later, but look at previous posts if you want to know more about Monumental Attire.

Seeya!

Bridge for Blankets: It’s a wrap!

Remember these August beauties gracing the Broadway Bridge?

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The PDX Bridge Festival is now just a hazy summer memory. But as promised, this Bridge for Blankets banner and three others just like it have been broken down into 42 blankets, washed, dried (thank goodness for superwash wool), repaired, and de-fuzzed.

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Yes, de-fuzzed. This is the fuzz I picked off three blankets. It looks like a crazy clown wig for kitty. (I didn’t dare try to get a picture on Mookie.)

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The blankets are now ready to go back into the world, headed for homeless shelters and hospitals. Their colors aren’t quite as perky as they were at the beginning of August (hanging out in the sunshine for a month will do that), but the blankets are wooly and warm, and have a very interesting history. A very quirky Portland tale.

Just a reminder: The yarn was purchased at a discount from Cascade Yarns through Abundant Yarns, but the cost of the yarn was not even close to covered by donations ($2000 short). If you would like to donate to help cover the cost of the yarn for these blankets, checks can be made out to Tyler Mackie, the artist behind this project (write Bridge for Blankets in the memo field) and mailed to:

Bridge for Blankets
c/o ArtCraft Silversmiths
3111 SE 13th Ave Suite 500
Portland, Oregon 97202

or PayPal payment to tyler.mackie@gmail.com. Donations are tax deductible as a 501c3; Tyler will send you a receipt.

I enjoyed participating in this project, both as a knitter in a huge community art effort, and at the other end of the project, preparing blankets for sharing in the community. I’m glad that this knitting will live on in another form, bringing comfort to people who need it.

And after yesterday’s post about Portland’s statues getting some cheerful holiday knitwear, a little more sleuthing and connecting on twitter led me to discover that the deer statue used to have a hat. And the otters’ sweaters looked like this! Links are to pictures; they’re not mine so I can’t post them here on the blog. Go look; they’re cute. Also, the next wave of Monumental Attire isn’t due until Thursday this week, so I’ll try to see Kvinneakt then. She’s going to get a sparkly shawl and leg warmers.

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Wish me luck!

Holiday yarn bombing

There’s another wave of knitterly (and crocheted) public art in Portland. Downtown Portland is featuring holiday sweaters for some of the statues downtown. Here’s the schedule for Monumental Attire. I went to check out the first wave of sweaters, but unfortunately someone has made off with most of it.

This deer still has her sweater and leg warmers:

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But I think someone stole the sweaters off the otters:

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Someone definitely stole most of the cardigan off “Allow Me” leaving one sleeve behind (because they couldn’t get it past the umbrella?), but the sleeve is gone now, too.

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The next wave begins Thursday, November 21, and you may need to hurry if you want to see it before vandals make off with it! “Kvinneakt” is scheduled for a sweater this week, and she looks like she could use it. A bit chilly out there. (Do you remember this statue from the”Expose Yourself to Art” poster, which featured future Portland mayor Bud Clark?)

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As part of the festivities, there is also an ugly sweater contest, a party to celebrate it, and a request for donations for Transitions Project, an organization that helps people transitioning from homelessness to housing. You can read all the details here.

Portland: It’s a quirky town and I love it. I’m especially loving the desire to share knitting and do something good at the same time. That’s Portland in a nutshell! Now if only vandals would stop making off with the art.

Knit on…