Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Better Pics

I took the sweater outside for some pics in the shade this morning.

This is the grafted underarm.
Here's the other one waiting to be grafted.
This is the edge of the front after steeking.
The yellow crocheted stitches have grabbed half of the centre stitch of the steek and half of the stitch beside it. With that, the sweater will not unravel sideways nor up and down. It's also fairly elastic.
I decided to err on caution and have ordered a ball of the lime yarn.
It is used for the first i-cord edge up the fronts and around the neck.
c. Janine Bajus
Then a second, wider i-cord is knit on top of the lime one, leaving gaps for button holes.

My concern about the gaping neck was allayed with a Ravelry friend messaging me that there were additional instructions in the pattern on the subject. Sure enough, buried in the instructions for the i-cord edging was one sentence about doing k2togs a few times across the back of the neck. Thank you, Robin for the 'heads up'!

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Steek is Cut!

I bit the bullet tonight and reinforced the stitches on either side of the centre stitch of the steek.

As there are no contrasting stitches on the solid colour part, I ran a contrasting yarn up the centre of the centre stitch of the steek.

Then following the aforementioned video tutorial, I single crocheted up one side, crocheting into the left side of the stitch beside the centre stitch and the right side of the centre stitch. This really locks them together so nothing will unravel horizontally or vertically. The pink yarn is visible up the centre.
 The crocheted stitches look like knit stitches but are actually horizontal through the two stitch halves.
And all the way up through the colourwork on the yoke.
Then I turned it around and did the crochet stitches down the other side of the centre stitch. Now it was ready to cut.

With one side of the centre stitch anchored to its neighbour on the left and the other side to its neighbour on the right, the bars in the centre of the centre stitch are clearly visible and are ready for snipping.
Snip, snip, snip! Easy peasy.
The light is crappy in the condo so I'll post better pics tomorrow. I do have my OTT light with me but it's only good for illuminating small areas.

Also pictured above are my new folding Fiskars scissors. I found them at the grocery store (HEB) and they only cost $3.67 (US). I have at least 4 pairs of scissors with me but I couldn't pass up a good deal.

I decided to order another ball of the lime yarn to do the i-cord edge along the fronts and neck. It should arrive in a few days from Schoolhouse Press. Man, is it ever cheaper to ship stuff within the US than within Canada. In the meantime, I'll decide if I need to make the neck smaller and tidy up all the loose ends. Most can be just snipped off at the steek. I have grafted one underarm and will do the other. I'll also get a set of 3.25mm dpns to make my knitting my i-cord easier than using a circular needle.

I like the look of the sweater on me so far. I really like the weight of it as it's mostly a single thickness of the 2-ply Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. I'm itching to do another project with this yarn.

Yoke is Done!

I finished the yoke last night.
I'd like the neck to gape less so I will knit a couple more rounds and another decrease round before anchoring and cutting the steek.
I plan to use the anchoring technique for the steek that we learned at the Janine Bajus workshop at the retreat last November. Basically, with a crochet hook you crochet a line of single crochet stitches through the halves of the stitches in the centre column and right beside it. I'm not sure what colour yarn I will use - possibly the lighter blue. That way it will show up differently from the darker blue, yet blend in fairly with it. This video explains it probably better than I did.

Once I get the neck finished, I'll take a deep breath and start in on the steek.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

More Progress

I finished Chart B last night and am ready to do another decrease round. Then another 'starry' chart.
It looks a bit 'pucker-y' but a good blocking will smooth out everything. I'll have enough of the lime colour to finish the charts but really doubt there will be enough to do the first band of i-cord. I will continue knitting until I run out.
I love the weight of the sweater and would definitely consider knitting another with this yarn. Janine Bajus' 'Dicentra' sweater intrigues me, although I'm not sure I'd use black as the main colour.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Yoke Prep, Flora and Fauna, and a New Camera

Once I got all the yoke stitches on the needle, I had to knit 4.25" of plain knitting before starting the colourwork.

That was a whole night of knitting with 436 sts per round...  I completed one round and a bit of the first chart of the yoke chart. The second round is a duplicate of the first with a different contrast colour - lime green in this case.
I'll knit all of the first chart ('stars') before starting some of the decreases. The stitch markers on the front indicate the rounds where I decreased for the waist then increased for the bust.
I think I'm going to run out of the lime yarn as it is used for the first i-cord edging up the fronts and around the neck. I'm sure I can get it shipped to me here in sunny south Texas.

I have been enjoying watching the Olympics but it really isn't a big deal in most of the US and NBC just picks and chooses what it will cover. The women's figure skating last night was wonderful. I like it when there isn't a lot of 'splat and splatter'.

This morning Skip and I attended Market Days at the Convention Center here on the island. Winter Texans from near and far come to shop at many booths geared to our interests and needs. After that we strolled around the water feature at the Convention Center. I didn't have my binoculars with me but did bring my camera.

I saw this larva on a mostly denuded milkweed stem. It looks a lot like a monarch larva but it is in fact a queen butterfly larva. They, as well as the soldier butterfly like milkweed. I'm very concerned that there isn't enough milkweed there. All the milkweed I saw today were on stripped stems. Hopefully there are other sources of milkweed that I don't know about as it is where monarchs, queens, and soldiers lay their eggs and where the larvae feed.
Yellow-rumped warblers are the migrating birds we're seeing the most right now.

We then decided to go to the Sheepshead lots to see if there were any butterflies. The lots are two natural wooded lots across the street from each other where many native plants have been planted, water features have been added, and invasive species have been ripped out. It is a welcome resting place for migrating birds. This time of year and time of day, it is a great place to see butterflies.

A lot of milkweed has been planted here. We saw a couple of monarchs flitting around and several queen butterflies, often nectaring on the tropical milkweed planted there. It is a very different plant than what we have in Canada.
Queen butterfly on tropical milkweed
The red admiral butterly is quite a bit smaller and seems to prefer the ageratum plant.
This is it with its wings closed.
These cacti don't seem to have spines, however they appear to be getting ready to bloom and bear fruit.
The milkweed flower is quite beautiful.
The queens really put on a show today.
Earlier this week, I smacked my camera on a rock when I was trying to sit down at a rocky beach on the Laguna. The lens cover won't close properly any more. It didn't really affect the camera's performance, but I decided to replace the 2 or 3 year old camera with almost the identical model which has more megapixels. The new one (Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70) is a convenient point and shoot, with a Leica lens, 30x optical zoom, and 4K recording capability. It also has GPS and Wifi. I don't really use the Wifi because I figure it will just suck battery power. Of course, the battery is different from my current camera but the charger is simply a mini USB. The previous camera had lots of dust inside. I'm going to buy a new case for this one as the interior dust thing has been a chronic problem with the other 4 Lumix cameras I've used. I could have bought a bigger, bulkier camera but when using binoculars, a point and shoot makes a lot more sense for me.

Here's an example with no zoom. Birds on lower wire mid-photo.
 And zooming in on these rock doves (pigeons) from the same spot.
In good light, it takes great pics. I look forward to taking it birding.

Tomorrow is BirdFest at the Golf Club in Laguna Vista (on the mainland). There will be a couple of informative speakers and some raffles.
Image may contain: text

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Starting the Yoke

I finally got the counts right and got the sleeves attached to the body last night. I'm knitting 8 rows of the blue until I do some short rows at the tops of the sleeves.
31 stitches on the sleeve underarm are on slippery waste yarn as are the corresponding underarm stitches from the body. They will be grafted together once the yoke is finished.
The tedious stocking stitch was great to knit whilst watching Olympics. Once the short rows are done, the colourwork will begin and I'll have to really pay attention.

There are lots of parts to knitting this sweater but none of them are difficult. I just plug away. I really like working with the Jamieson's Spindrift yarn. It's a bit scratchy but will soften with a bit of hair conditioner in the water when I wet block it.

Speaking of Fair Isle... I just saw this lovely, stranded, triangular shawl on Facebook.
It's the Oland shawl on Ravelry. Wouldn't that be an amazing blanket? The shawl is knit as a cone with steeks that are cut open to created the triangle. Like this:
To knit a blanket, one would just need to knit it as a tube with steeks and cut it open, much like the Rams and Yowes blanket. Determining the correct yarn amounts might be a bit tricky but it still would be really fun to knit.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Hummingbird Biscornu

I finished the hummingbird biscornu. I only stitched on one side

and left the other side blank.

For stuffing, I just used the fibrefill from the pillow I had recently purchased to use down here and just stitched up the pillow when I had used enough stuffing. I certainly didn't need to buy a whole big bag of stuffing for one biscornu.

I am donating it to our birding group, the Bay Area Birders, for the money-making raffle on Saturday.
We need to raise money to pay for the advertising for BirdFest in the two local newspapers.
I hope it makes a lot of money for our group.
It's my favourite kind of raffle, too. Each raffle item has a little bag. We buy a bunch of tickets and drop a ticket into the bag in front of the item we want. That way you win stuff you want.

I'll try to get a photo of the lucky winner on Saturday.

Now I can get back to knitting my Starry Night cardigan. I had to frog both sleeves back to the increases and increase 10 more sts to make the stitch count work when I join the body for the yoke. I think I'm finally ready to start the yoke.

I'm not sure the sweater is as long as I'd like but I can always add more length by cutting across the waist and knitting in another few rounds and grafting it all back together.

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.