Molokai – The Friendly Isle (Day 2 & 3 – North and East Side…Plus a little car key mishap)

BugleIn case you missed our first day on the island, catch – up here.

Day 2 started out perfect.  We woke up to birds chirping and cool and refreshing breeze blowing through our little hotel room.  I was a little worried about how hot the room would get at night, but with the sliding door and windows open, the breeze was perfect.

We ate at Kanemitsu’s Bakery for breakfast before heading to the north to see Phallic Rock and the Kalaupapa Lookout.  I thought that this would take the better part of a day to accomplish, but the drive was a quick, but scenic one.  After a short walk down a paved trail, the trees parted and we were at the edge of a cliff overlooking the pacific and the settlement of Kalaupapa.  The settlement of Kalaupapa is the main attraction on Molokai.  There are only three ways to see the former leprosy colony, you can hike down by foot, ride down on a mule, or fly in via a plane.  We were not able to take the tour because you must be 16 or older to enter the colony and we had Ellie with us, so maybe next time.  It was such a sight to see this small settlement surrounded by the world’s tallest sea cliffs.  Talk about isolation, even by today’s means of transportation.

After the outlook, we walked in the opposite direction for another short walk to view Phallic Rock.

On our way back toward town, we stopped at the Old Sugar Mill and attempted to look through the museum and mill, but Ellie was running around and starting to get cranky, so we had to cut our visit short.  She passed out as soon as we put her in the car.  We headed back to Kaunakakai, the main town, and grab us some burgers to go and headed to a park to eat them.  We stopped at this nice park right past our hotel and ate our burgers near the water.  It was nice to look out and see Lanai directly across from us.  You can even see the evidence of the ancient fish ponds that used to dot the south shoreline.

It was still early in the day, so we headed off to the east.  It was such a beautiful and scenic drive.  Since the road runs next to the water, we had perfect views of the water throughout most of the drive.  The further we went the narrower and winding the road became curving in and out of coves and hugging the mountain.  Towards the end, we came around a deep curve and a beautiful waterfall came into view.  You can actually set up to take a tour through the Halawa Valley and to the falls, but again, we had Ellie with us and didn’t want to drag her through a 4 mile hike.  We were content seeing Hawaii’s tallest waterfall from a distance and driving to the end of road to view the Halawa Valley.

We noticed this little sandy beach along our drive and decided to stop on the way back to enjoy a quick break.  Ellie had just woken up from her nap, so it was the perfect time to stop.  Our quick break turned into about a three hour ordeal…why you wonder…well silly me lost our keys.  In my defense, I think the ocean decided to play a trick on me.  I forgot my camera in the car and went back to grab it and am not sure what happened to the keys after that.  Our cell phones, water, snacks, you name it, were all locked in the car and no keys in sight.  Thankfully some locals were enjoying the beach as well and were gracious enough to help me call the Alamo Roadside Assistance…luckily I added the package to our contract when we picked-up the car…the extra $5 a day is soooooooooo worth it.  So there I am on the phone with roadside assistance and we get to the part in the conversation where we have to locate where we are so they can send someone out to us…well…we have no idea where we are.  The people helping us said that we are at a beach called Sandy Beach….go figure.  The guy on the phone kept asking me if we were near any landmarks…no…houses…no…anything…no.  I am guessing at this point in time, the guy on the phone has never been to Molokai or else he would understand the lack of anything that would be near us.  All I could say was that we were directly off of the only paved road on the east side of the island on some random beach in a small cove.   Finally after him looking on google maps, he thinks he has found our location and will send someone out…fingers crossed.  The people that had let me borrow their cell phone also gave us some bottled water, a baggie full of trail mix, and even let me borrow a sarong to wrap around my shoulders that were becoming burned.  I had to stand next to the road in the midday sun in order to get phone service…in fact, if we were about 100 yards in either direction, we wouldn’t have phone service.  We pretty much didn’t have any phone service on the island unless we were in town…or….where we were at that moment…talk about lucky.  The locals that were helping us had to leave before the roadside assistance showed up, but they said that they would come back in a couple of hours to check on us.  It warms my heart how helpful these people where, not only did they loan out their phone to us, but the snacks…and the water…and the sarong, which she let me keep…and I could just go on and on.  They also stopped by the fire department and sent them out to see if they could help us.  The fire department and the roadside assistance showed up about the same time.  While the roadside guy worked to open the car, the fire department scoured the beach in search of our keys.  The airport did not have a spare on hand, so they were hoping maybe I somehow dropped it in the car or on the beach.  Whatever happened to the keys…they were gone…never to be found again.  We grabbed all of our belongings out of the car and hopped into the roadside assistance car and headed back to the airport to get another car.  Thankfully the crime rate is really low on Molokai, so the chances of our rental being there the next day without a scratch was pretty high.  We were given another rental at the airport and we were on our way again….just in time to grab dinner and head back to the hotel for the night.  I’ll take a beautiful beach to be stranded at any day.  Despite the key mishap, we had another wonderful day and had one more to look forward to.

Our last day on the island was really relaxed.  We grabbed breakfast at the bakery again and then headed to a different beach on the west side.  Kepuhi Beach was beautiful, but the surf was rough, so we just relaxed on the sand until it was time to head back to the airport.  We grabbed some sandwiches at a one of the local grocers and headed back to the same park to picnic.  Afterwards, we headed back to the airport, boarded our little prop plane, and headed home, just in time to beat some bad weather making its way over the mountains.

This is one of those vacations that will remain at the top of my favorites list.  We didn’t do much, but something about not doing anything seems to make the best vacations…even if the most exciting thing to happen was to lose the car keys.

Molokai – The Friendly Isle (Day 1 – The West Side)

BugleOne of our goals while living here in Hawaii is to visit all of the other Hawaiian Islands that we can…minus two that are kind of difficult and probably won’t happen.  First up for the Yetman family…Molokai – the Friendly Isle.  Talk about an amazing weekend.  We left early Friday morning, spend two nights, and came home Sunday afternoon.  The perfect amount of time to see this quaint little island.

We flew with Makani Kai Air in this tiny 9 seat prop plane.  I thought I would be nervous or be more prone to motion sickness, but it was just the opposite for me.  It was such a nice flight.  Of course, it helped to be able to see out of the front of the plane.  Ellie loved every second of it.  She pointed to all of the planes we pasted on the runway and just stared out the window the whole time.

After landing, we grabbed our luggage from the baggage claim bench…this place didn’t even have a baggage carousel…I knew at that moment that we were away from crowds of Oahu and entering small island living.  We grabbed our rental car from across the street and were off to explore the island. 

Check-in wasn’t until 4pm, so we headed off to explore the West side of the island.  We went through the old pineapple plantation town of Maunaloa.  It seemed like a ghost town minus this cute little kite shop.  Ellie was sleeping so we decided to go back later.  The paved road ended and a dirt road continued to which Matt said “YOLO” and kept driving down it in our two-wheel drive Nissan Altima.  Lessoned learned…rent the 4-wheel drive jeep next time.  We ended at what looked like and old harbor where there were some locals fishing.  We enjoyed the view and then turned around to go back up the same route we had just descended.  Lucky we made it out without a scratch on the car…phew.  I on the other hand needed to reapply some deodorant and air out my shirt, but it was worth the view and part of the fun.  Matt kept turning to look at me the whole time laughing at the look on my face. 

After our dirt road fun, we drove back down the “paved” road to find a beach….and boy did we!!!  We stopped at Papohaku Beach just as Ellie was stirring from her nap. After walking through a cute little park and burning our feet on molten hot sand (I’m not convinced that the volcano that made this island is extinct…that sand was hot!!!!) we made to a beautiful, pristine, and almost empty beach.   WHAT???  An empty beach all to ourselves!!!  The water was very rough, but we had fun just playing and lounging in the sand.  I walked down the beach a little ways and found a treasure trove of shells.  The tide was starting to come up at that time and was creating a little pool area as the waves washed over the berm, so Ellie started stomping around the water while I combed the beach for some amazing sea shells.  It was then about time to head back to town to check-in at the hotel and find some dinner.

Our hotel was super cute and had this Polynesian village feel to it with beautiful blooms, roaming chickens, and hammocks strung between palm trees.  Our room didn’t have any air conditioning, but had this huge sliding door with a screen to open at night.  We dropped our luggage, freshened up…which really means wash the sand off of us…and headed to dinner.  We found this Pizza Café with some arcade games, quarter ride toys, and a monkey machine that dispenses dinosaur toys.  Ellie was having a blast while we waited for our food.

After we ate, we stopped by the grocery store, grabbed some water bottles, and headed back to the hotel.  Matt and Ellie enjoyed a quick dip in the pool, while I sat on the side swirling my legs in the water and watched a beautiful sunset.  What a perfect first day.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cookies

BugleHappy Fall Y’all!!!  With fall in full swing…I am breaking out Ol’ Betsy…she really isn’t that old, but she has an old soul.  She has traveled far and wide and has been a rock in my baking adventures.  I’m speaking of my amazing Kitchen Aid Mixer…duh.

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Anyways, fall always makes me want to bake.  So here I am to share a recipe that I sort of concocted.  It’s not truly original, but I took this recipe for Cream Cheese Cookies and tweaked it a little.  This makes a very thick cookie batter, so I recommend using a mixer…unless you need an arm workout.  It also makes a dense cookie with just a hint of pumpkin, so if you aren’t super into pumpkin, this is the cookie for you.  You know pumpkin is a superfood #justsoyaknow.  Grab your apron and oven mittens and here we go.

Ingredients

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–        1 cup of butter

–        1 – 8 oz. pack of cream cheese

–        1/3 cup of pumpkin puree

–        2 egg yolks

–        5 cups of flour

–        1 teaspoon vanilla

–        2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

–        ¼ cup of sugar (optional)

–        ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

In a mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together.

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Add in pumpkin puree on a low setting until incorporated.  I made mine from scratch…because I did…but you can use the can if you want to…I promise I won’t judge you.

Add in the sugar a little at a time and beat until it is fluffy.

Add in the egg yolks, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and mix until incorporated

Add in the flour a little at a time.  This is where the mixer comes in handy and really makes your life easier.  The batter will be very, very thick.

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Cover with some cling wrap, a towel, press-n-seal, or whatever you have laying around and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.  You can leave overnight or freeze for later.  It seems to be pretty versatile.  I will not make any claims to the freezing part just because I haven’t personally tried it yet.

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While your dough is chilling…literally…lol, lick the mixing paddle…because you cannot make any baking goods without licking the spoon…it’s law around here.  Of course someone woke up from their nap, so I had to share…whomp whomp…#parentproblems.

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Oh…and mix together the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

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After your dough has chilled, roll into balls about 1-inch thick and place on greased cookie sheet.

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Take a spatula or whatever flat tool you want and slightly smoosh down the dough balls.  After not doing this for the first batch, I found that they cook better this way.

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*You could also probably roll out the dough and use cookie cutters, since it doesn’t seem to melt down any while baking.  I didn’t try it this way yet, so don’t take my word for it.  The baking times may vary if you do decide to go this route.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix on top.

Bake in oven at 325° for 16-18 minutes.  You want them to lose their sheen.  They will not brown around the edges.  I took one cookie out and broke it in half to make sure the inside is cooked.  It is a dense cookie, so it will look a little more cake like on the inside.

Place on cooling rack or plate and enjoy!!!

Here is a printable pdf version of the recipe…without all of my commentary and pictures.

Pumpkin Patch Adventure

BugleI was scrolling through my feed on Facebook jealous of all of the pumpkin patch photos, until I came across a friend of mine who brought their little girl to the pumpkin patch…and they live in Hawaii too…wait…what???  Hawaiian pumpkin patch!!!!  So the next day we brought Ellie to pick-out her very first pumpkin.  She was barely a month old last Halloween and Matt was off doing some army thing, so needless to say, we didn’t really celebrate.  This is the first time in four years that Matt has been home for Halloween, and the first with Ellie, so we are doing it all!!!  And since Ellie is too little to eat the candy….someone is going to have to do it…I guess I will reluctantly volunteer for the position.

Sunday, we drove down to Aloun Farms where they are having a Pumpkin Patch Festival every weekend until Halloween.  Hayrides, Music, Food, Rides, you name it….and it’s a real pumpkin patch!!!  All of the pumpkin patches that I have been to, have been fake…a bunch of pumpkins dumped into a pile with a Pumpkin Patch sign hanging next to it.  Here, you can actually walk down rows and rows to pick-out the perfect pumpkin.

We ate lunch and then hopped on the hayride that took us around the patches and corn fields.  It was a beautiful site with the Mountains in the background.  After the hayride, we walked down to find the perfect pumpkin.  There were quite a few varieties to choose from and quite a bit of walking involved, so with naptime creeping in closer and closer, we decided to stop at the first field, take some pictures, and pick one of the pumpkins that was already lying by the side of the road.

It was a great ending to a wonderful weekend and a great beginning to our Halloween festivities.

How to Survive a PCS Move – Part 2

Finally…Finally…Hallelujah…Whoopee…Our stuff is here!!!!

The explanation of my MIA status this past week.

Break out that wine again…or in this case unpack it with some wine glasses.  Remember my moving tips in Part 1, well now that you got the first part of the moving process out of the way, it’s time to receive all of your stuff.  So sit back and here we go with some tips and tricks about receiving your household goods at your new destination.

Before I begin with my numbered list.  Let me start by saying that all those little stickers that they place on all of your furniture and boxes meant something.  You should already have a big list of paperwork with all of the numbers listed out and what they are attached to.  Well…I didn’t know this my very first rodeo, but when you receive your stuff, they give you this neat little checklist with all of the numbers already on it so you can check the numbers as they come into the house.  Then, you can reference your original list later if some numbers are missing.  My first move…I was that girl up  midnight the night before making copies of my sheets thinking I needed a way to track what was being delivered….silly me…you live and you learn…right???

Okay, so on with the list…

1.)    Have an idea of where you want all of your furniture to go.  Typically you have some time  between getting into a new house and the truck arriving with your stuff, so prior to their arrival, I like to go through the house with sticky notes…or pieces of paper with tape…and put what furniture I want to go where with a sticky note on the wall.  The movers are only required to move and place the furniture once, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.  It helps me from running room to room pointing to where I want things while also checking off each sticker that comes through the door.  I also like to label the bedrooms so I’m not constantly having to point people in the right direction.

2.)    Put away what you already have with you.  I basically take everything and put it in drawers, cabinets, and closets.  It makes it easier for the movers to bring everything in and set it up where you want it.  No one wants to be weaving and bobbing around an already cluttered house to bring more clutter in.

3.)    Once again with the food.  This time around I usually just do snacky foods and water.  Maybe pick-up a box of pastries, bags of chips, that sort of thing.  Reason being, it seems to take a lot less time to unload the trucks.

4.)    Keep and eye out for any damages to your stuff and to the house.  Once it is all said and done, you can claim any damages.  I find that the movers are pretty good about pointing out damaged items that they unload, but always go around and double-check everything.  You have so many days to make any necessary claims…so better unpack sooner than later.

Well there you have it.  The basics of receiving your stuff.  Hopefully everything will arrive in one piece and in the condition that you left it.  If not, the movers and your Housing Office will be there to help you through the claims process.

Cheap and Easy Moving Announcements

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BugleI am not sure if moving announcements are still really done with today’s technology and lack of mailing, but I still like snail mail and a good ole’ handwritten letter once in a while.  On top of that, being so far away from family means a lot of package mailing.

While searching online, I found quite a few options available, but the price tag for telling someone your new address was a little more than I was willing to spend.  And since Christmas is right around the corner, I have Christmas cards to think about as well, and I like to go all out for those.  So while out shopping at Target, I came up with an easy idea that is probably unheard of today…Postcards!!!  Has anyone received a postcard lately…#wishyouwerehere.  Well, Target had a display case full of them and a light bulb went off in my head…and at 79¢ apiece…I figured why not.

So if you are still in the snail mail realm with me and just so happen to move to someplace far away where they sell postcards…grab a few, write a cute note with your new address, and send away.

P.S. Don’t forget the stamp

An Evening Hike – Kolekole Pass

BugleWhat better way to end a perfect weekend than with an easy evening hike in the mountains.

The Waianae Mountain Range is the group of mountains that inhabit the west side of the Oahu (made from an old extinct volcano rather than your typical tectonic plates merging).  Nestled in this range is Kolekole Pass.  This was once a road for traveling between Wahiawa in the middle of the island to Waianae in the west, but a landslide has since ruined the road and the Army has been using part of the area for live fire training for a while now.  Off of the former pass road is where you will find the hiking path.

To access the pass, you need to either have a military id or be able to get a visitor’s pass to get onto Schofield Barracks.  If you go to the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Website, it will tell you how access the trail and also when the trail will be open, since it is used for live fire training, it is only open on certain weekends.

I saw on the Hawaii Army Facebook Page that the pass would be open this weekend, so on Sunday evening, we packed some essentials and headed off.  You basically drive until you reach a big gate and stop sign at the end of the road, and just park.  We were at the beginning of the path within minutes of driving and it felt like a whole other world.  So peaceful and quiet….and with a perfect crisp, cool breeze blowing.  There are hiking trail signs pointing you in the right direction making it easy to follow.  There were very few people at this time, but I have heard where the path can get pretty busy.

We came to a few clearings where the scenic views were absolutely breath taking.  On one side, you could see clear to the ocean and on the other side, across Central Oahu.  I think I found our new picnic spot.  Everyone always talks about the beaches here, but the mountains here…in my opinion…are just as amazing.

North Shore Picnic

BugleOn Saturday, we decided to have an impromptu picnic at the beach.  I made a few sandwiches, washed some grapes, and we headed out to check out a new beach on the North Shore.  It was overcast all morning and we thought that if we headed towards the beach, it would be sunny…and it wasn’t.  But it was still a nice, warm, and breezy day with no rain, so we didn’t mind one bit.  Since it is becoming “winter” as you would call it, the North Shore tends to become rough and unpredictable.  In fact, that is where all of the amazing pipeline surfing happens.  Needless to say, we did not go in the water, but it was still nice to sit and watch the waves crash onto the rocks and Ellie had a blast playing in the sand, digging up rocks.

Oh hey…and I needed a reason to use my new tote bag!!!  Like it???  You can crochet it yourself…check out the pattern here.  Best part…it’s free!!!dsc04731

Hope you guys had an awesome weekend.  And with the weather hopefully starting to cool down, throw together some sandwiches and snacks and go have a picnic somewhere.  Nothing beats an impromptu picnic date.

The “Use for Everything” Crocheted Tote Bag

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BugleI know…not a very creative name…right?  But I didn’t know what to call this awesome tote bag project that I decided to whip-up in an afternoon.  I have been feeling so lost without any of my crafting/sewing/woodworking supplies.  The only thing that I could easily fit into my already busting-at-the-seams suitcase was my small bag of crochet tools.  Our stuff isn’t scheduled to arrive until October, so that is basically all of the fun projects that you will be getting until then…crochet, crochet, crochet.  Besides, since fall and winter is a time for couch cuddling and cozy project making…it just so happens to be an awesome time for crocheting.

I have recently been obsessed with cotton yarn.  It’s easy to wash and durable enough to hold up through multiple uses.  I made a couple of beach totes for the mothers for Mother’s Day.  They were super easy to throw together and turned out so cute.

Well here I am sitting months later with all of my cute tote bags packed away and sailing on some cargo ship with nothing but plastic bags to take to the beach with me…tacky, I know.  Good thing I happen to have my handy dandy crochet tool kit with me…so I decided to whip up a beach bag for myself.  It also makes a great market tote, which especially comes in handy here on the island since many shops don’t provide bags to put your purchased goods in…and there is also an abundance of farmer’s markets here too…see, I told you this tote was for everything.

Let’s Begin…

The Multi-Use Tote

To make the bag, I used 3 strands of cotton yarn together.  You can really play around with the yarn choice here and use one thick and bulky strand or string together multiple strands for a even thicker look…it’s really up to you.  This tote is crocheted in the round and joined with a slip-stitch at the end of each round. It’s super easy to stitch up and can be completed in one afternoon.

Supplies:

–        Size M (9.00mm) Crochet Hook

–        Yarn (I used almost 9 skeins of Peaches & Crème Cotton Yarn, but you could get away with 3 if you only use one strand)

–        Yarn Needle

–        Stitch Markers

–        Scissors (Optional)

 

Stiches Used:

–        sl st (Slip Stitch)

–        hdc (Half Double Crochet)

–        dc (Double Crochet)

–        sc (Single Crochet)

–        ch (Chain)

Foundation Chain:  Chain 18

Round 1:  hdc into the third chain from hook 4 times, hdc into the next 14 chains, 5 hdc into the last chain,  (continuing on the underside) hdc into the next 14 chains, sl st into the top of the 2 beginning chain. (38 sts total including the 2 beginning chain)

Round 2:  ch 2, hdc into the sl st, 2 hdc into the next 4 sts, hdc into the next 14 sts, 2 hdc into the next 5 sts, hdc into the next 14 sts, sl st into the of ch 2. (48 sts total including the ch 2)

Round 3:  ch2, hdc into the sl st, 2 hdc into the next 9 sts, hdc into the next 14 sts, 2 hdc into the next 10 sts, hdc into the next 14 sts, sl st into the top of ch 2. (68 sts total including the ch 2)

Round 4-6:  ch 2, hdc into each sts, sl st into top of ch 2.

Round 7:  ch 2, skip first stitch, *2 dc into next sts, skip next sts; repeat * until last stitch, 1 dc into last sts, sl st into top of ch 2. (68 sts total including the ch 2)

Round 8-20:  ch 2, 2 dc into each space between the 2 dc of the row below until the last sts, 1 dc into the last sts space, sl st into top of ch 2. (side note:  the last sts space and the sl st sort of make their own v-stitch)(68 sts total including the ch 2)

Round 21:  ch 2, hdc into each stitch sts, sl st into top of ch 2.

Round 22:  (so this is where we need the stitch markers, lay bag flat on ground and mark off each side of 34 sts, then mark off 12 sts from each side towards the middle of the bag, this should create a 10 sts gap on each side for the handles…I do it like this instead of just counting to ensure the bag is even, since my joins tend to sometimes travel)  ch 2, hdc in each sts up to the 10 sts gap, ch 30, (skipping the 10 sts gap) hdc in each sts until the next 10 sts gap, ch 30, (skipping the 10 sts gap) hdc in each sts across, sl st into the top of ch 2.

Round 23:  ch 2, hdc in each sts until you reach the ch handle, 34 sc around the ch handle, hdc in each sts to the next ch handle, 34 sc around the ch handle, hdc in each sts across, sl st into the top of ch 2.

Weave in the ends

And there you have it…a fast and easy tote for the beach, market, whatever!!!  Enjoy!!!

Fun Textured Crochet Stitch for Fall

With fall right around the corner, I wanted to share a cozy, textured crochet stitch that is sure to get you in the mood for pumpkin-spice-everything.

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Now I know what you are thinking…why in the world would I need anything fall living in a place that has a constant warm, tropical climate year-round…a girl can dream can’t she.  I love fall and everything that comes with it.  Besides…I have presents to make for people who do endure the hibernation period.

I just love this stitch because you can incorporate it into just about anything, and it is easy enough to do mindlessly while watching TV.

Moss Stitch

Stiches Used:

–        sl st (Slip Stitch)

–        hdc (Half Double Crochet)

–        ch (chain)

Foundation Chain:  Multiples of 2+1

Row 1:  hdc into the second chain from hook, *sl st into next chain, hdc into next chain; repeat * until last chain, sl st into last chain, turn. (you should have an even number of sts)

Row 2:  1 ch, hdc into the first st, *sl st into the next st, hdc into the next st; repeat * until last st, sl st into the last st, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you have reached your desired length

I made a cozy fringed scarf with this stitch using Kroy Sock Yarn in Rusty Stripes.  The scarf measures just over 60’’, which is the perfect length to wrap once around your neck or just leave hanging.

Sock yarn is a finer weight yarn, so it took a little longer to work up, but I was able to make a scarf the exact same size with a chunkier yarn in just one evening.  So go grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, get those hooks out, curl-up on the couch, and enjoy!