Tag Archives: Eleuthra

I’m still finding sand

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We’ve been back for two weeks (two weeks!) and it feels both like we were just there and like our trip was months ago. In the first five days after we got back, it snowed three times (three times!). But, now that the weather as turned decidedly spring-like (plants outside during the day, the balcony door regularly left open, socks optional), I can look back at these bright, sunny, warm photos without quite as much wistfulness. And with that, here’s a quick spin through our holiday.

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Recognize this view? It had been three years since we were there, but it felt immediately familiar.

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I could post one of these for every night we were there, but I will restrain myself.

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Doesn’t it look like they’re all floating in six inches of water? The ocean is so, so clear — it doesn’t seem like it could be real.

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If you look closely, you can spot the edges of Balta, which was perfect for the warm, humid (perfect) weather.

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My parents have a 6 o’clock piña colada tradition when they’re there. My dad makes them and takes great care to garnish them with flowers each night. Lovely and delicious.

Last time we went to Eleuthra, I knit a lot and read just a little. This time, despite planning for more of the same, I ended up doing just the opposite! I did finish the second sleeve of Sibella (and I am so close to being finished the whole thing now), but that’s it. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the pull to my needles — less/no stress, is my bet — and instead I read two entire books and started a third. To all of you who recommended/endorsed All the Light We Cannot See, wow. I couldn’t put it down and have been thinking about it ever since. Absolutely stunning.

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I am not usually a pink person, but I would wear this colour.

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I have no idea what this is, but it grew all over the rocky landscape. Such a perfect yellow-green.

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We did a big walk through the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve, which was fantastic (but breezeless and very hot) and the Epiphyte Trail was a definitely highlight. This one was easily taller than my hand.

Aside from reading, of course, we did lots of other things. We swam (a lot! I was very glad I invested in a new swimsuit — this one — before we went. It was well used), kayaked, walked along beaches, and played a lot cards — euchre and cribbage, mainly. Besides all the general fun of being on holiday, this was a great family trip. It’s rare for me to spend so much consecutive time with my parents, and rarer still to spend that much time with my grandparents (and rarer still for L to do so), and getting to that time together in such a gorgeous, relaxing place is a real treat.

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Really, though, Eleuthra is an island of beaches. We swam every day, sometimes on the Caribbean side (which our house faced) and sometimes on the Atlantic side (like here). For the most part, we had them all to ourselves.

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Yes, that is the actual colour of the water.

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The Blue Window. Perhaps not the easiest beach to find (on the Atlantic side), but well worth seeking out if you’re ever in the area. (I definitely recommend trying to be in the area.)

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Heading for the sun

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A couple three years ago (where does the time go!?), L and I treated ourselves to a little spring escape and flew down to Eleuthra to spend a week with my grandparents (who go every year) and my aunts and uncles (whose visits overlapped with ours). It was, for us, the perfect kind of getaway: Sand, sun, sea, piña coladas, and family. Eleuthra has almost no hotels, and real resorts, so it’s very quiet — perfect if your idea of a vacation is to do your own thing.

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This isn’t a wistful post, though — this is me saying we decided to do it again! The last year (two years?) has been crazy, both in our work and home lives, and really, things are not going to slow down any time soon. When my parents booked their visit at a pretty amazing discount, we decided to just go for it. We leave on Sunday and will have a full, glorious week to soak up sunshine and family stories and generally just relax (whether that’s kayaking, reading, knitting, swimming, playing cribbage, or whatever).

But enough about all that! We booked our tickets ages ago, so my real concern right now is about what to pack. Namely, what I want to read and what I want to knit. Sometimes, these questions feel really high stakes on a vacation, but I think I’ve just about made up my mind. I finished Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis the other day (I don’t blog about books anymore, but whoa, if I did…) and then cleansed by palate with Emily Carroll’s gorgeous and spooky Through the Woods. So, I’m due for something new. Right now, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is topping the list (and the stack of books on my bedside table). It’s long enough that I probably won’t finish it while I’m away, but I might still pack a backup…

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Just a few more stripe repeats and I’ll be at the heel. I’m about a third of the way through this sock, I think.

Knitting wise, the choices are much easier. Sibella is flying — if you’d told me a grey, fingering weight, stockinette cardigan would be a speedy knit, I would have laughed, but it’s true — and I’m about a third of the way through the second sleeve. So, I’ll take that and finish it up, likely on the plane ride down. I want easy, social knitting, so I’ll leave the other pieces behind and join everything up when we’re back.

But, since part of a sleeve won’t be a full-trip project, I’m also bringing my stripy Christmas socks. I cast these on in December and have picked away at them, but it’s time to finish them up, so they’re next on my list. If I manage to get them done, I’m packing more striped yarn, this time destined to become socks for L. Starting my holiday knitting early was one of my January goals, and I am on it!

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I can’t believe how good this looks in a cake. I’m excited to see how it knits up.

(I even sewed a dress in time to wear on while we’re away, so I’ll make sure to get some FO shots to show you when we’re back!)

Seafoam socks

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Et, voila! After four months on the needles, my Seafoam socks are finished.

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The colours are a little washed out here (sorry), but the yarn is shades of blue, green, and purple. I really like how, although it’s random, the colours managed to stripe without pooling.

Really, these are just boring 3×1 ribbed socks and there is no good excuse for them having taken so long, but there are a few reasons I would like to put forward:
1. I started these right after finishing my Spruce Jaywalkers and, honestly, I just wanted them to be Jaywalkers too. Why then, didn’t I cast on for Jaywalkers? I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want to knit the same pair of socks twice in a row or something, which is dumb, since I spent the entire first sock (knit the first week in November) wishing I was knitting something else.
2. Christmas came along and since I wasn’t sure I liked these socks anyway, it was very easy to set them aside and knit other things, including, as it turned out, two other pairs of socks for myself, as well as many gifts.
3. I have no great love for ribbing. I don’t find it difficult or anything, just tedious. Ribbed socks are practical and I will wear them a lot, but I don’t know, next time I feel the urge to knit ribbed socks I’ll kick it up a notch and knit Stepping-Stones, which are like ribbing, but more interesting.
4. I wasn’t sure I liked the colour. This seems crazy to me now, because I love this yarn, but at first the colours seemed very, very vibrant, and I was worried the socks might look a little Care Bears Ahoy! when they were finished. I should have had more faith.

For all these reasons (and likely more) these socks sat around unfinished for a while, which is why I decided to bring them on holiday. They’re easy and plain, which makes for good social knitting, and I really did want them finished and on my feet, so it seemed win-win. I hadn’t actually realized how well they’d match the colours of everything around us, though.  I had the first sock done and literally nothing but the cast-on for the second sock, but I started it after finishing my mum’s socks and finished in time for a photo shoot on the water the last evening we were there. I wore them on the plane coming home and, silly as it sounds, felt like I was bringing some of the island’s vibrancy home with me.

I do wish I'd not been so lazy with the first pair and knit a 1x1 rib for the cuff, but oh well.

I do wish I’d not been so lazy with the first pair and knit a 1×1 rib for the cuff, but oh well.

Pattern-wise I just improvised these (they’re Ravelled here). They’re knit in Fleece Artist BFL Sock, in the Seafoam colourway. I don’t know why I chose to knit them on 2.75mm needles (I guess I wanted them to be quick – hah!) but the result is socks that are a little less dense than usual and thus, perfect for spring. And, since my gauge was still 8.5 stitches to the inch, they should wear pretty well despite the lighter fabric. I also have about 100 yards left, so I might whip up a pair of bright baby booties with the leftovers.

Finishing two pairs of sock in a week left me on kind of a sock kick, and when I got home I cast on another pair (Hummingbird, from the Knitter’s Book of Socks) and they are flying! (So many unintended puns in there, sorry.) I’m going to be good, though, and buckle down on my Woodstove Season cardigan this weekend. I keep putting it down for smaller projects, but I really want it finished and it’s getting to be the perfect time of year for sweaters to be jackets, which would show it off nicely. So, expect a progress report next week.

Are you knitting anything fun this Easter weekend?

I’d go back in a heartbeat

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The view from the veranda.

The view from the veranda.

There’s nothing like looking at vacation photos a few days after returning home to make you sigh wistfully. For me, holidays feel like time outside normal linear life-time, as if they happen adjacent to everything else. When I get back, it’s like I’ve never been gone, but also just had an amazing dream I can’t fully describe to people. Luckily, though, unlike dreams, vacations have photographic evidence. (Also, none of these photos have been edited or colour corrected, so yes, the water really is that colour. I couldn’t believe it either.)

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Since we’ve been back it has snowed (and then melted) and I’ve been sick (and gotten mostly better), L has been hard at work on his thesis, we’ve had (and still have) house guests, and Ganymede has been her most cuddly self ever. It’s nice to be back, but man, if you told me I could go back to Eleuthra tomorrow, I would be at the airport in no time (my speed would be helped by the fact that I’ve only half-unpacked).

Rainbow Bay Beach. You can see our house just up the shore (it has the gazebo).

Rainbow Bay Beach. You can see our house just up the shore (it has the gazebo).

Our time in Eleuthra (an island in the Bahamas) overlapped partly with one aunt and uncle (my dad’s middle brother and his wife) and partly with the other aunt and uncle (my dad’s youngest brother and his wife) and entirely with my grandparents, with whom we stayed. My grandparents have been going to Eleuthra in March for the last several years and I can absolutely see why. It’s pretty far north as far as the Caribbean goes (it’s about 60 miles off the Florida coast) so it’s more temperate than the islands farther south (I’d say the temperature ranged from 15 to 30C, and it was only 15 one evening when there was a breeze). Being in the north also means the flight is pretty short, which is a major bonus.

The beach outside Tippy's, which had the best pina colada and mojito I've ever tasted. Ever.

The beach outside Tippy’s, a beach-side bar had the best pina colada and mojito I’ve ever tasted. Ever.

The thing that really won us over, though, was that there were no resorts on the island. There’s a fair bit of tourism (it’s their main industry), but it’s tucked away in small hotels and guest houses and in rental homes, like the one we stayed in. We went out for drinks and lunch some days, but we made most of our meals in the house. We drove around to lots of beaches (Eleuthra has some amazing beaches), but we also swam off the boat slip in front of the house, or at the beach just down the shore. We went for walks and read and knit (well, I knit) and L kayaked and in general, the six of us hung out did our thing.

Ben Bay Beach (at the northern tip of the island) was an amazing beach.

Ben Bay Beach (at the northern tip of the island) was an amazing beach. It was a little tricky to get to, but, well, look at it! How could that not be worth it?

My dad’s family all lives in out East, so I don’t get to see them very often, and L hasn’t seen them in years, so in addition to being a thoroughly enjoyable holiday in its own right, the family time was invaluable.

I'm avoiding family photos, since I didn't ask first, so instead I give you dolphins! These look like they're in a pool, but they're 100% wild and we saw them when leaving Spanish Wells, the cold, colonial town/island off Eleuthra's northwest side.

I’m avoiding family photos, since I didn’t ask first, so instead I give you dolphins! These look like they’re in a pool, but they’re 100% wild and we saw them when leaving Spanish Wells, the old, colonial town/island off Eleuthra’s northwest side.

Truly, I would go back in heartbeat. And, if you go (or want to), let me know so that I can a) travel vicariously, and b) tell you about all my favourite places that didn’t make it into this post.

It tended to cloud over at night, so there weren't many great sunsets, but boy, when the sunset was visible, it was stunning.

It tended to cloud over at night, so there weren’t many great sunsets, but boy, when the sunset was visible, it was stunning.

Snow on re-entry

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Time flies when you’re in the sun. We got back to Toronto last night, and it was snowing. Snowing! When we left Eleuthra yesterday morning it was still cool (we left the house before the sun was up) but it was still probably 17 or 18C, and then we landed in snow. Boo.

Nevertheless, we had a fantastic holiday. I will do a proper post about it in a day or two, but before then I have to go through the many photos and unpack, and deal with all the things that didn’t get dealt with while we were away, and also cuddle Ganymede, who spent the week in an empty apartment (don’t worry, though, a friend of ours visited regularly to check on her).

So, in the absence of real holiday pictures, lets talk socks – apparently I need to start wearing them again.

Finished Stepping-Stones.

Finished Stepping-Stones.

I finished the Stepping-Stone Socks last Friday, the day after we arrived. I had the cuff finished before we left, and the leg finished by the time we landed in Nassau and the heel turned by the time we boarded our teeny plane for Eleuthra (it sat 18, including the pilots, and I didn’t knit on it). Even with swimming and walking and reading and eating and drinking, it was a breeze to finish the foot on Friday, and L obliged me with some lovely photos.

This one is less lovely, but he thought a behind-the-scenes shot would be hilarious, so...

This one is less lovely, but he thought a behind-the-scenes shot would be hilarious, so…

Certainly one of the reasons these socks were so quick to knit was because they are knit in worsted weight. Man, what a difference that makes! Besides the heavier yarn, though, these socks have a delightfully fluid and quick stitch pattern that only takes two rows to memorize. Honestly, I will knit these socks again and again, and because it’s a six-stitch repeat, it’s an easy pattern to adjust for size and yarn weight. All that being said, I found the subtle change from leg to instep pattern weirdly hard to adjust to; it just didn’t flow as well for me. The instep is just a little less intuitive (it also involved more counting) and while I like how it looks, I think the next time I make these I’ll continue the leg pattern down the foot and see how it looks.

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I knit these socks over two weeks, but actual knitting time was only about four days, so these would make an excellent last-minute gift. My mum requested that the socks be a little taller than the ones I knit for myself, so I knit the legs to 7 inches. She also has slightly longer feet than I do. Those two factors meant I needed just a bit more than 100g to knit these, but you could easily make them from one 100g skein. I now have 82g of red yarn leftover, but I might just whip that up into another Puerperium Cardigan (our friends had a baby girl last night!), so I’m not annoyed in the least that I needed that little bit of extra.

Details
Pattern: Stepping-Stones by Clara Parkes (from The Knitter’s Books of Socks, but also available for free on Ravelry!)
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in Ravelry Red
Needles: 3.5mm
Modifications: First of all, I changed the needle size. I thought the large size would be too big for my mum, so I just adjusted the small. They knit up perfectly to fit a size-10 foot (9-ish inches in circumference). I also changed the heel. Since I went up a needle size I was worried that the one in the pattern would be too thick/bulky for a comfortable fit, so I just went with my normal slip-stitch heel (also saving me extra ends to weave in). Other than that, I knit it exactly as written. (My socks are Ravelled here, if you’re curious.)

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I also finished another pair of socks while away, but I’ll save them for another post.