Saturday, 27 February 2010

Mittens in Review

I finished my third pair of mittens on this trip. When I knit the second replacement mitten I forgot to insert the waste yarn for the thumb. Rather than rip back to insert it, I decided to press on and just insert it like any other after-thought thumb.

I blocked them and the other two pair a bit with a steam iron.

To avoid having to weave in a bunch of ends (two per colour change) I wove them in as I went. The finishing went a lot faster that way.

So I took all three pair outside to get a good photo:
We're heading for home tomorrow so we're starting to pack. Of course we have beautiful weather today (altho' still coolish) but it's supposed to go up to 25C on Monday and the rest of next week.

I'm pretty pleased with my 2010 Knitting Olympics results having completed two pairs of mittens. Today I'm trying to decide what will be my project for the drive home.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Last week I lost my Snowflake mittens aka White Witch Mittens. They were the first fair isle mittens I ever knit and I'd worn them all winter. I figured I'd need mittens for the trip home and by chance had all the yarn with me that I needed to re-knit them so I reviewed my notes on Ravelry . Whilst watching last night's Olympic coverage, I finished the first mitten (except for the thumb) and cast on the 2nd.  (▌♥ ▌ YAY CANADA !!! ▌♥ ▌BTW for our four medals earned yesterday!).

I'm about 1/3 finished the 2nd one and should have it done tonight. I'll try to get at least one thumb done, too.

Yay, Canada. Our women't hockey team just won the Gold again!!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Wicked Witch Mittens - DONE!

While Skip was hitting a bucket of balls at the golf course yesterday, I worked on the second thumb of the Wicked Witch Mittens. During the Olympic coverage last night, I finished it.


I then began a Swallowtail Shawl using Zealana Kiwi laceweight yarn. It has 40% NZ merino, 30% organic cotton and 30% possum. I'm using big needles (4.5mm) compared to the yarn because I like the open look. No photos yet - but soon.

Today was possibly our last sunny and warm day. We took another hour-long walk on the beach nd after lunch went birding at the Birding Center. We saw white egrets, a black-crowned night heron, tricolour herons, great and little blue herons, a long-billed curlew,  killdeer, a lone mallard drake, mottled ducks, brown pelicans, a ringed kingfisher, several white ibis, greater and lesser yellowlegs, willets, yellow-rumped warblers, Caspian terns, pied-bill grebes, the resident alligator, moorhens, coots, blue-winged teal and several laughing and ring-billed gulls.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Olympic Mittens - DONE!

I have been glued to the television, watching all the Olympic coverage NBC has to offer. Although their coverage is during primetime, I do appreciate that they run some of the Canadian highlights in the late night broadcast. While I'm watching, I'm knitting frenetically. Last night I finished  the thumbs on my Olympic knitting project - my Olympic mittens aka Annemor #16.
I also finished the Wicked Witch mittens (except for the thumbs):

I received a shipment I had ordered from KnitPicks and now have to decide what project I'll start next.

A Big Birding Day

This morning, we awoke to warmer temperatures and went for a 1.25hour walk on the beach. The fog lifted as the morning wore on. After lunch, we went to the Birding Centre to see what we could see. And this is some of what we saw:

 A great blue heron airing out his wings,

a great egret stalking his prey,

a long-billed curlew,

spotted sandpipers (they don't get spots 'til the summer),

a willet,

a dozen snoozing black-bellied whistling ducks,

14 roseate spoonbills,

a red-eared slider,

a big 'gator,

Mr. and Mrs. Widgeon,

a yellow-crowned night-heron (I'd never been that close before!),

and several white ibis.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Fin and Feather

Yesterday Skip and I went on a "Fins to Feathers" birding tour by boat. We explored some of the little islands and shoals in and around Port Isabel.
We had the opportunity to see a lot of shore birds in a fairly small period of time and were able to get really close to some of them.

Here are some we saw:

black-necked stilts,

marbled godwit,

royal tern (left) and Caspian tern (right),

a couple of American oystercatchers,

and a lone roseate spoonbill.

For the 'fin' portion of the trip, a couple of bottle-nose dolphins came to visit.

Rozzie, the dog, would get quite excited and run to see them. Skip thinks the dog could hear them before they'd surface.

Here are Rozzie and I enjoying the sunshine during the coldest winter they've seen in south Texas for a very long time. He's a very good dog.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Birding and Loving and Knitting, Oh My!

Yesterday we actually had a day that was warm enough to go out in shorts and sandals. We tried to go to one of our favourite birding spots - Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary - but it was closed. On closer investigation, we learned that due to a decrease in charitable contributions due to the economy and the fact that the 'wall' is to the north of it, thus cutting it off from the rest of the United States, people are less inclined to go there. It is very sad because it is home to many native species of plants and animals that reach the northernmost limit of their Mexican range here and do not occur elsewhere in the U.S.

Instead, we headed over the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) to look at the birds in the resaca (oxbow lake). I love the architecture of the university.




We saw a very determined golden-fronted woodpecker.


This black-crowned night heron was well hidden in this tree bent over the water. 

A great kiskadee. 

The anhinga (pictured) is related to the cormorant and is sometimes called the 'snake bird'.

On the other side of the resaca, we saw another black-crowned night heron.

And up in a tree was this great blue heron. I had never seen one so high up in a tree before. 


Some flowers are in bloom. This some kind of white Siberian iris.


And there are clumps of bird of paradise here and there. 

After we got back home, we went for a walk on the beach. It is our first beach walk since we got here. The purple flag was up indicating "venemous sea life" on the beach. We encountered several jelly fish (man-o-war?) with a diameter of about 30cm washed up on the beach.

This sand castle had just been completed by the artist.



We witnessed a wedding taking place at one of the beach resort hotels. It was right at the part of the ceremony where the groomsmen were assembling with the groom.

Continuing on our walk, I noticed a young man writing "Te quieres casarme?" (Will you marry me) in the sand. His sweetie was facing the other way out to the Gulf. We walked away from them, continuing to look back to see the goings on. He then pulled a ring box out of his tote bag and told her to turn around. He didn't get down on one knee but we did see her throw her arms around his neck when he gave her the ring. We continued walking and looked back one last time before leaving the beach and they were still hugging. It was really nice to see. I'm sure she'll remember this Valentine's Day for the rest of her life.

Back at home, I resumed my Olympic knitting.
I was thrilled that Alexandre Bilodeau won a gold for Canada - our first in any of the Olympic games we've hosted. I was bummed out not to see the flag ceremony as, not surprisingly, NBC doesn't care about our gold medal ceremonies. I hope to find it on the CTV website or YouTube sometime when I have a half-decent wireless Internet signal.

I should have the first mitten finished during this evening's Olympic highlight viewing.