Tuesday, 13 February 2018


I've been beavering away on the Starry Night cardigan but last night decided to start a hummingbird biscornu. Our birding group is holding BirdFest in a couple of weeks and they need items for their raffle which raises money for the advertising for BirdFest.

I'm hoping my donation of a hummingbird biscornu will help a little bit.

I had all the floss colours and the beads on hand because I made a couple of them last year.

Yesterday at the big box craft store, I picked up several sizes of the new locking stitching hoops and am using one of them for the project. This is the pattern I'm using.
Hummingbirds are done.
Now for the other elements.
I may get this finished tonight while I'm watching the half-pipe snowboarding and pairs figure-skating short program.

The weather continues to be crappy here - foggy and cool. It is supposed to warm up tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get out for a good walk or maybe do some birding.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Olympic Knitting

Or should I say, knitting whilst watching the Olympics on TV.

I have been working away on the Starry Night cardigan. I have completed the waist decreases and then then increases and now just have to knit straight to the underarms. Then I'll put the sleeves and the body on the needles and start the yoke. The markers up the front helped me keep track of where my decreases and increases were, where my steek stitches are, and the double stitch markers on each side show the centre of the sides. This will be important when I centre the sleeves.
The vertical lines are the 9-stitch steek. I will reinforce each side of the middle column and cut right up the centre once I'm done all the knitting. All the colour changes occur right at the centre, hence the 'jog'. This will not be visible once the piece has been 'cardiganized'.
I keep measuring every few rounds...
Only one more inch to go before I start the yoke.
The colour isn't that great as it has been so overcast and gloomy here. Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer out.

Once the steek has been cut, I will pick up stitches up one side, around the neck and down the other side and create one column of i-cord in the lime colour. Then another column of i-cord is added in the lighter blue with buttonholes between the two columns.
c. Janine Bajus
I am using Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift colours that are named in the pattern as alternatives to the Elemental Effects Shetland Fingering.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Guided Bird Walk

Skip and I went on a guided bird walk at the Birding and Nature Center this morning. Robert Pritchard, whom we know from the Bay Area Birders and whose summer home is near us in Wilmot Creek, was our guide.
Great blue heron
Reddish egret
Mr and Mrs Mottled Duck
Red-eared slider
Roseate spoonbill
Blue-wing teal
Young gator
Green heron
Big gator
'Flotilla' of redheads + a few American wigeons
80% of the world's redheads pass through this area.

Snoozing brown pelicans
More redheads
Coot with lobed feet
Spotted sandpiper
We saw most of these this morning...
It was cool-ish and foggy when we first went out. Just as we were finishing 2 hours later, the sun came out and it is now warm. We may go back out later this afternoon, then follow that activity with happy hour drinks and snacks.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Starry Night Continued... TV Guide apps and Good Eats

I finished the colourwork

and have completed the waist decreases. I'm now knitting a few more rounds before starting the increases. The stocking stitch is pretty monotonous but it's great for watching opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

I'm over half finished the body.

I'm trying to decide if I'll order a longer circular to do the yoke as there will be 436 sts in a round at the bottom of the yoke.

Down here, not surprisingly, the channels are all different numbers than at home. I discovered the (free) TV Guide app can be programmed for the local area and service provider. It's great for trying to find shows I want to watch that I would normally PVR at home. We have 2 HD TVs but no PVR.

Skip and I went into Brownsville today to pick up another pay-as-you-go cell phone to use down here. On the way we stopped at on of our favourite restaurants - Emilia's. We love it there because we get a 3-course meal and excellent Mexican music.

I ordered tacos de bifstek al carbon (Mexican beefsteak tacos). First comes the sopa de fideo (noodle soup)
then the 6 tacos in soft corn tortillas with charro beans, avocado, onion, cilantro, and queso fresco (literally 'fresh cheese) with a side of limes. The onion is in the foil ball.
Then for dessert, there is a choice of cake or flan. I always pick the flan. It is about 1.5" x 1.5" square.

All of this for $6.99US. We couldn't eat it all so each brought home 3 tacos which we'll be reheating for supper.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Random Stuff in South Texas

Of the 11 winters we've spent in the southern US, this will be the 8th we've spent on South Padre Island in south Texas. On the mainland before we cross the bridge/causeway, is the town of Port Isabel. We noted the lighthouse has been repainted since last year. It is open for visitors and it is possible to climb the stairs to the top for the panoramic view of the area.
The 'deicer' windshield washer liquid only goes to 0 degrees F or -17C.
HEB is our favourite grocery store here. It is a Texan company that also has stores in Oklahoma and Mexico.  They pride themselves on their local produce. Green peppers are usually 3 for a dollar and a head of lettuce is $0.98.
6 limes for $1.
We stopped in at one of our favourite restaurants for lunch after our shopping trip.

We are in the heart of gun-toting country. It is legal to carry concealed weapons here with the appropriate licence.

 On Skip's walk this morning, he spotted this bumper sticker on a pickup truck from Arkansas.
Captain Roy's is one of our favourite restaurants on the island. They have excellent fish tacos and mexican food.
 We went birding yesterday at the Birding and Nature Center on the island. I didn't have my good camera with me so these were taken with Skip's iPhone.
Blue-wing teal and a moorhen
Green heron
We always have to take a birding photo on the boardwalk with the Birding and Nature Centre in the background.

Other birds we spotted yesterday were:

  • long-billed curlew
  • mottled ducks
  • spotted sandpiper
  • great blue herons
  • moorhen (common gallinule)
  • coots
  • willets
  • white ibis
  • reddish egrets
  • tricolour heron
  • belted kingfisher
  • redhead ducks
  • black skimmers
  • double-crested cormorants
  • widgeons
  • pied-bill grebes
  • roseate spoonbills
  • snowy egret
  • brown pelicans
  • green heron
Today it is foggy as the temperature has dropped with the cold front that came through.
Gulf Boulevard in the mist

It is currently 16C - down from 26C yesterday. It will be intermittently rainy until after the weekend. Normally we would go birding with our group, the Bay Area Birders, tomorrow but it's supposed to rain. We're going instead to the little cinema on the island tomorrow and see the '3 Billboards' movie with Frances McDormand.

Starry Night Chart

I finished the Starry Night chart - Chart #2.
The lighter blue, lime and gold yarns are the background to the midnight blue pattern.

The next chart has more 'stars' then lots of stocking stitch with the darker yarn up to the underarms.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Back to Sweater Knitting

I finished the second sleeve of my Starry Nights sweater

in the car on the way down to TX.
Sleeve #1
I cast on for the body and have completed the first chart of colourwork. The colour above is more accurate.
Between the stitch markers are the 9 steek stitches. There will be lots of yarn ends but once the steek is secured and cut open, all the ends can be trimmed off and won't even need to be woven in.
The waist shaping is built into the pattern. I'm now starting chart 2 for the 'Starry Night' border.
There will be a lot of plain stocking stitch up to the underarms once the colorwork on the bottom is done but the lovely Karbonz circular helps make things really move along smoothly.

My goal is to finish this sweater before the next retreat in November so I can buy the kit for the sweater on the cover of Janine Bajus' book, 'The Joy of Color'.
She clearly loves the colour blue, as do I. The shades of maize/yellow/brown go so nicely with the denim colours.