Monday, December 27, 2010

Kingston - Part 3

There are a couple of things that you just can't ignore when you're in Kingston.  One is ice hockey.  From my earliest memories I remember being told that hockey started in Kingston.  British soldiers stationed at Kingston and Halifax played the first recorded hockey games in Kingston in the mid-1850s.  The first amateur hockey league was organized in Kingston in 1880.  Since I lived across the road from Lake Ontario, I was on skates around the age of 2 or 3.

There are skating rinks in parks all over the city.  Recently, this skating rink was built on the Market Square behind City Hall.  In August, this is the location of the main stage for the Limestone City Blues Festival.  There are other stages throughout the city, but the main one is here..
(Remember that you can click on the  photos to make them larger. Use your Back button to come back to this page.)
No trip to Kingston, or anywhere in Canada, would be complete without a stop at Tim Horton's.  It's not just a coffee/donut shop, it's an important way of life.  It doesn't hurt that it was created by a hockey player.  He would never get to see how huge his enterprise would grow as he died in a car accident, driving home after playing in a game in 1974.

The cup, now empty.

The donut, mere minutes before it was gone!
I hope that you enjoyed the little trip through Kingston.  I didn't include everything, but these are some of the highlights.  Today, I'm on my way to Toronto and fly back to Denver tomorrow morning.  The vacation was very enjoyable, but passed by much too quickly.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kingston - Part 2

Kingston is also known as The Limestone City.  I found this blog with interesting pictures.  Some of the pictures are of the Marine Museum which houses a number of artifacts from my ancestors who owned the Donnelly Salvage & Wrecking Company.  One of the people in this picture is either my Grandfather or Great-Grandfather.  I must ask my mother, who is a Donnelly, and the family historian.  She'll know.  Update:  The man who is seated on the left is my Great-grandfather.  A couple of the men on the ship are great uncles.

The many limestone buildings are beautiful, especially in the autumn.  The combination of the gray buildings and brightly colored maple leaves are awesome.  Many of the limestone buildings are part of Queen's University.  Here are a couple of them:

Ontario Hall
Grant Hall 
Also built with limestone is the Kingston Penitentiary, one of 9 prisons in the Kingston area.

This picture was taken through the front windshield, not out of fear but because it was cold outside and I thought I could get as good a picture from inside the car.

Kingston's City Hall is a beautiful building, across the street from Centennial Park and Lake Ontario.  It's a must-see for visitors for Kingston.  In the summer there are many boats from all over in the Habour.  It's a good starting point for tourists.

The last stops on our trip through Kingston will be tomorrow.  Stayed tuned for Part 3.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kingston - Part 1

Welcome to my hometown of Kingston, Ontario, Canada

It's an old city, established in 1693 and was Canada's first capital and home to the first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.  Later the capital was moved 100 miles inland to Ottawa as it was feared that Kingston was too close to the U.S. since it was located on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in City Park
Because of Kingston's location it has always been a site of military importance and defense.  There is Fort Henry and four Martello towers, which are now tourist attractions. When I was little, I lived across the road from one of them, Murney Tower.  Now the house has been torn down and replaced with part of the Kingston General Hospital.
Murney Tower, located on King Street in Macdonald Park.
I don't remember ever seeing water in the moat around the Tower.

Beside Murney Tower is this gazebo, a good place for a band or orchestra to play on a warm summer night. The windmills that you can see in the background are on Wolfe Island, about a 20-minute ferry ride away.

The Martello Tower in the water off Centennial Park
Another Martello Tower, this one is near the Royal Military College

More of the tour of Kingston tomorrow....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Braydon's Red Sweater

One of the nice things about being on vacation is having the time to knit. 

From Wool-Tyme I have a yarn I've never tried before, but I'm finding that I like it very much.  It's Lanett Superwash from SandesGarn in Norway.  The content is 100% merino wool, fingering weight and it's soft, but not so soft that you lose body and stitch definition.  It's still early in the project, but I can see myself using this wool again in the future

I'm making a little red pullover for my Grandson's first birthday next month.  I haven't done much knitting for him yet, but I'm hoping that will change in the coming months.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Somber Sight on the 401

Greetings from the frozen Great White North....which, in actuality, isn't all that frozen, or all that white.  For winter in Canada, I'm finding it quite mild and tolerable. I like that!

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, I was driving from Toronto, heading east to my hometown, Kingston on the 401.  I noticed that a lot of buildings, especially the very large, warehouse buildings/big box stores, gas stations, etc. were flying their large Canadian flags at half-staff.  I figured that perhaps some Canadian politician or someone very well-known person had died and I hadn't heard about it on the US news.

Then, I approached a bridge that goes over the 401 and there were a couple of firetrucks parked on it.  A few miles further down the highway and I saw another bridge with people gathering.  That's when it occured to me:  another Canadian serviceman would be travelling the "Highway of Heroes", a portion of this busy highway that had been renamed.  I'd heard about this occurence before and now I was going to experience it, and it was very touching and so sad.

When a Canadian serviceman or woman, dies in Afghanistan they are flown back to the air base in Trenton, Ontario.  From there they are taken by hearse, escorted by police cars, on Highway 401 from Trenton to the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, where they will then head to a medical facility to be autopsied before they go home to their family and their final resting place. 

It's a spontaneous guard of honor that has happened along the route, started a few years ago.  People learn of the time when the procession will be passing by their area and they gather on the bridge.  This includes the fire department, police and ordinary Canadians.  When the hearse approaches the bridge, they wave flags, some stand at attention, some salute. 

It's amazing to know about this way of honoring a fallen hero, but by seeing it, I was also feeling it.  Very quickly I grabbed my camera and snapped these pictures through my sideview mirror as I drove away from the bridge.  Just a minute later, in a lane in the other direction, came the sad procession, driving very quickly.  All the rest of the traffic, in both directions, was repectful and stopped. 

The young man died on December 19th.  His name is Cpl. Steve Martin of the 3rd battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, Valcartier, Quebec.  He was killed by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol in the Panjwaii district west of Kandahar City.  He died two days before his 25th birthday. 

R. I. P. Cpl. Martin

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Feliz Navidad

I'm actually writing this post on Saturday, the 18th and scheduling it to publish on the 22nd, and if all goes as planned then, today, the 22nd, I'm on an airplane heading to Toronto, then driving to my hometown of Kingston, Ontario to spend Christmas with my Mom.  I've become used to the moderate winters in Denver, so I hope that it's not too cold when I get to Canada.  I've packed warm sweaters, and of course, my winter coat.

Every month I look forward to an internet "TV" show called Live From Daryl's House, a product from Daryl Hall.  Do you remember Daryl Hall and John Oates?  A new episode is broadcast, beginning on the 15th of each month.  He invites a singer, or a band, to his country house where one of the buildings is set up for music, and food.  Up until now, my favorite past episode was when he had Smokey Robinson as a guest.

Do yourself a favor and check out this month's show with Jose Feliciano.  The music, especially the Christmas music, is wonderful.  So is the guitar-playing.  Sit back, knit, enjoy!

♫   "I want to wish you a Merry Christmas
       From the bottom of my heart."  ♪ ♪

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bartering for Qiviut

I unashamedly admit to a guilty pleasure.  I've enjoyed this pleasure since the early 1990s.  It's a British soap titled "The Eastenders".  I've missed months at a time, but always came back to Walford, The Queen Vic, the Mitchells, the Fowlers, Frank, Pat, Bianca, etc.  I wish that the earliest shows were available.  Here in Colorado we've been watching episodes that are about 7 years old.  Alfie's grandmother is starting to get confused, Gary and Lynn are at odds over Bobby, etc. etc.  Every Sunday night on PBS I've been watching the two episodes.  However, last night it was announced that it was no longer going to be on their schedule. 

I'm not happy about that at all.  To make matters worse, they are going to show 40 episodes (20 hours) of shows on Sunday, December 26th, and I'm going to be out of town, (channel 12 PBS in Denver).

That's where the bartering comes in.  If anyone is willing to record (DVD or VHS, although DVD would be best) the full day of shows, all 40 episodes......I'll trade you for a ball of 100% qiviut in either chocolate brown or rust.  Value:  $90.80.

If you're interested, email me as soon as possible as I'm leaving on vacation in the wee hours of tomorrow/Wednesday morning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Keep On Keeping On

Now that I'm doing some knitting again, and I plan to finish up languishing projects, I thought I'd start with the Moderne Log Cabin Afghan from Mason-Dixon Knitting - an easy, all garter stitch, mindless, watching-hockey-on-TV project.  If you click on the link, it takes you to Amazon and the book containing the pattern.  Actually, the entire pattern for this project is on Amazon, if you're interested.  The book, however, is worth adding to your knitting library.

When last I worked on the afghan, I was knitting block number 8, the second to last block before doing the border:

The pattern claims that there are 9 blocks, but the last two are actually done in intarsia (one of my favorite techniques), so it looks like there are 10 blocks:

I've rotated the schematic so that it's lying the same way as the picture of my afghan.  As you can see, number 8 is the last block on the bottom.  I still have to do number 9 - the two blocks at the left.

I don't mind row after row of garter stitch as it's a nice break from more challenging projects.  I have a new, intarsia project in the planning stages.  More on that later.

My goal is to finish up the Moderne Log Cabin by the middle of January.

**Note:  I had put up the wrong schematic earlier today (it was for the baby blanket).  The one shown now is the one I'm using.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Knitting and Planning Ahead

In 2009 and into 2010 I knitted, taught, worked and designed more than I ever have in my life.  At the time I enjoyed it, but the result was a big burn out.  These past few months I haven't felt like knitting and only done a few stitches at any time, with weeks of no knitting at all. 

Now, I'm working my way back, a little bit at a time and only when I feel like it.  My plan is twofold:  work on projects that have been hanging around for a while and knitting for my grandson, Braydon. 

The other thing I've planned is a vacation in April to Georgia.  I'll start out with a few days of sightseeing, listening to some bands and visiting friends - and ending with a visit to Stitches South in Atlanta. 

I've already booked my hotel room and flight.  I've registered for the banquet, dinner and both fashion shows.  As for classes, there was only one that I really wanted to take, and I don't want to push my limits and overdo it.  I'm going to take a 6-hour class on Bohus knitting with Susanna Hansson.  I've got a Bohus sweater on the needles right now and enjoy the historical aspects as well as the yarn and the project.

Now, to decide what unfinished object to work on first.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Raining Teddy Bears!

This is one of the coolest videos I've ever seen:

A few nights ago the Calgary Hitman hockey team had a drive to collect teddy bears to send to the Children's Hospital.  Fans have been known to throw hats and the occasional octopus onto the ice during games, but this is so much better.  

As soon as the first Calgary goal was scored the teddy bears started raining down onto the ice - a total of 23,096 teddy bears!! 

This had to be fun for the fans, and the children in the hospital will get a gift with a story on how it came to the hospital.

To me, this is the true spirit of Christmas.  I'm betting that the fans felt the good feelings of giving!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Playing For Change 2010

The Playing For Change touring band came back to Colorado in 2010, to the Boulder Theater.  I sat in almost the same location as in the previous year when they were at the Paramount Theater in Denver....front row, center. 

I spoke with the people around me, and it turns out that they sat within a couple of seats in the same row the year before.  We all wondered if we'd see each other again next year as I understand that the band are planning another tour.  Their concert is so much fun and the musicians so talented that I'll go again without hesitation.

Here are a few pictures from November 5, 2010: 

The Boulder Theater, Boulder, Colorado

Vocals/harmonica, the very popular  Grandpa Elliott (New Orleans) and vocalist Clarence Bekker (Netherlands/Suriname) - he, alone, is worth the price of of admission.

New addition of famed Senegalese guitarist Ilon Ba (Baaba Maal)

Percussionist Mohammed Alidu (Northern Ghana), playing the Talking Drum

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carlisle's Hat

A while ago I asked for help to recreate a hat owned by a co-worker, one that he'd bought somewhere.  I tried a number of techniques and variations, but nothing was working exactly as I would like.  The biggest problem was getting the earflaps so that they would hug the head as opposed to needing ties to hold them in, and trying to get the exact shape. 

Eventually, I just gave up as it was taking too long and I made a regular ski cap/toque-type of hat.  Carlisle, my coworker, wanted a yarn that appeared with flecks of a light color.  I found the perfect yarn:  100% baby alpaca - very soft and cozy and hugged the head perfectly.  He loved the hat and other co-workers "volunteered" to take a hat if I planned to knit more.  I don't have any immediate plans!!


Pattern:  My own,
Cast on 88 sts.
 Work 15 rounds in K2, P2 rib.
Work 22 rounds in Stocking Stitch.
Decrease 11 sts evenly on every other round until 11 sts. remain
K1, *K2tog. to end of round (6 sts).
Break yarn and thread through sts, tighten and fasten.

The Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn "Baby Alpaca Ampato"
100-gram skein
100% Baby Alpaca
Aran Weight
Color #500, black with gray flecks
Used less than a skein.

Needles:  US 7/4.5mm
16" circulars, then double-pointed needles.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Carmichael Aran - Finished

The Carmichael Aran has actually been finished for a few weeks, but it was only this morning that I got around to taking a picture.  The picture isn't that great, but it gives you an idea of how it turned out.  I'm hoping that Dennis, the recipient, will send me a better photo. One of my plans for the new year is to spend more time with my camera and learn what it, and I, can do. 

The sweater pattern is mine and I used tratitional cables. Since Mr. Carmichael lives near the ocean I used a wave-like pattern in the center.  I made the sweater with raglan sleeves for two reasons:  Dennis mentioned liking raglan construction when the sweater was first discussed, and I prefer a raglan shaping as it cuts down on the bulk under the arms that you get with a drop-shoulder.
Yarn:  Rowan Purelife Bristish Sheep Breeds DK Undyed
100% British Wool
Shade 00780 Ecru Bluefaced Leicester
13 balls, 50 grams each
Needles:  US #4/3.5 mm for ribbing
US #6/4.0 mm for the rest
Notes:  I blocked the pieces of the sweater before sewing them together and each seemed to grow dramatically in length.  However, after I sewed it all together and the sweater "rested", the lengths were right.  Now, I hope that the sweater fits Dennis and that he likes it.  I hope that the lengths are what he was hoping for. 

Off to package up the sweater and head to the post office......

Friday, November 19, 2010

HELP! I need somebody.....

I'm working on a new project, a hat for a guy I work with.  When he asked me to make it, many months ago, and described it, I thought it was a circular knitted cap.  Wrong! 

He brought his hat into work and asked if I could knit one similar to it.  Here's a picture:

Click on the picture to enlarge it.  Use your Back button to return to this page.
My co-workers were saying, "oh Joanne can make that, she can make anything".  Well, yes, I probably can make it, but it would take some time to deconstruct and then make the pattern and knit it.  I'd really like to speed things up and get knitting for my little grandson, so that's where you come in. 

Have you ever seen a hat constructed like this, knitted circularly, a snug-fitting, helmet-style?  A friend gave me a pattern that she found that was very similar (thanks!), but was knitted flat and seamed up the back.  I really want to work in the round.  I'm not concerned about the stitch that's used, although learning what it is would be a bonus.  I can always decide on a nice textured pattern later.  It's the construction that I'm striving for now.

I've already chosen the yarn:  Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca "Ampato", an aran/heavy-worsted weight, very nice and soft-to-the-touch yarn in a charcoal/gray tweed color (#500), about 4 stitches = 1 inch on size 8 needles.

This picture was found here:
He wanted a tweedy-effect yarn, and I'm willing to choose a thinner weight for a suitable pattern. you know of a pattern, or can you make a suggestion on how to make a hat like this?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot

I guess it's time that I got back to blogging.  I have done almost no knitting in the past few weeks, and my computer was "having issues", which are now fixed, so let's see....what shall I post about this time?

The Carmichael Aran sweater is finished.  I'll take a picture when the light is better.  I need to get it into the mail for the recipient.

I've been to two concerts in two weeks, so I'll tell you about one of them, the most recent, first.

Last Saturday night I went to the Paramount Theater in Denver to see Gordon Lightfoot.  The last time I saw him was in 1968 at the Grand Theatre in Kingston, Ontario.  Forty-two years have gone by, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to see him again.

The passage of time and a near-fatal long-term illness have taken its toll.  He's very thin and appears frail and has aged a great deal, appearing older than his years.  He'll be 72 years old on Wednesday (17th), but I'm very pleased that he's still able to go out on tour and share his amazing songs with us.  His voice was a little weak and he doesn't have the range that he used to have, but the voice is still unmistakenly Gordon Lightfoot.  He had a bit of the imp in his eyes when he told a couple of "adult" jokes.  He still has a lively spark about him! 

I took this picture as he was starting to sing The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald in the second half of the show.

Photos weren't really allowed, but I couldn't resist snapping a couple of quick pictures.  I've waited decades to see him perform again.  I didn't want to go home without a couple of photos to remember the evening.

If I had one wish for the evening, I wish he would have played "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", but I'm not complaining.  After more than two hours of playing and singing, including my favorite song, "Sundown", he came back for an encore and a final bow.

And then it was over, much, much too quickly. 

My vehicle was in the lot around the corner from the Paramount, and across the street was the tour bus and equipment truck.  I had a little thrill and bit of a taste of home when I saw the license plates on the truck... from Ontario:

I understand that the plate on the left is from a Canadian TV Show, Corner Gas.  I've never seen it, but if it's still showing, I'll try to check it out when I'm in Kingston again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Huge Thank You

Thank you seems like such a small word for the gratitude I feel.  Your donations to Compassion In Action (I, jokingly, call the group the CIA!) mean a lot, to me for your support, and to the homeless people in Denver who will be warmer and feel a little more appreciated after today.

The CIA group, men, women and children, met at my friend and the group's organizer, Kelly and Bill's house, at 9am.  Everyone helped, right down to the smallest child, to sort the clothing, shoes and blankets.  The children made cards and handed them out to the homeless people.  Lunch bags were prepared, with sandwiches, water, juice and more.  The lunches were each put into a sturdy bag or backpack, along with a hat, scarf, gloves, two pairs of socks, toothbrush, and bandaids.  The clothing and blankets were sorted and put into large plastic bags:  women's shirts, men's pants, shoes, blankets and so on.

Everyone found a small spot to work as they sorted the donated bags of clothing. The whole house, including the garage, was packed with volunteers and all the items. There was a lot of activity, but it all very organized.  That's our wonderful leader, Kelly, balancing the box on her head!

Five vehicles were loaded up for the trip.

All of us headed to parking lot which is across the road from the Denver Rescue Mission.  Plastic tarps were laid out and the bags and clothing were spread out.

We were still unloading the bags when word spread about what we were doing.  Men and women came along and chose what they needed and picked up lunches.  They were so appreciative, we shared hugs, and I heard lots of "thank yous" and "bless yous".

The arrow points to the Denver Rescue Mission.
After about 3 hours, we were out of food and almost out of clothing.  What was left was taken to the Denver Rescue Mission to be handed out by them.

We were lucky enough to have one of the most beautiful days to do this, in the mid to high 70s and sunny.  We couldn't have asked for a better day.

This is a yearly event, with the donations being given out in November.  If you'd like to donate anything for next year, please email me and let me know.  If you live anywhere near south Denver, I'll be glad to pick up what you have.  If you are farther away, we can find a more central place to meet.  This year, A Knitted Peace yarn store was kind enough to collect things for me.  However, since I no longer work or teach there, I really can't ask them to do it again. I'll be posting about it again next year in the fall. 

Again, thank you so very much.  No one in the Compassion In Action group takes even a penny, and many spend their own money for food, backpacks, toiletries and more, so your donations are really appreciated.  We couldn't do this without you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

David Taylar Daniels

I have an internet friend who creates beautiful quality work, whether it's knitting, spinning, dying, weaving, photography, or anything else he decides to do.  Sometimes he will sell the lovely things he creates.  I've purchased yarn from him in the past and I've been so pleased.

I hinted/suggested to Dave that he might dye some fingering-weight yarn, with the colors dyed to order.  If he does, I plan to be one of his first customers.  I've sworn off buying yarn for the foreseeable future, but I'm happy to make this exception.

Yesterday he blogged about the idea, "A Yarn Survey", including a survey in order for you to show your interest.

Check it out, take the survey, leave a comment....and tell him that Joanne sent you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions about how to resize the Carmichael aran.  I've had a lot of suggestions.  The one I'm going to try first came from Pat Kirtland, posting on the Knitting Beyond The Hebrides email group.
Here's her suggestion, quoted from her email:
"I would reblock the finished sweater to the size you want....and when it is dry hold a steam iron over the top of the sweater about an inch away from the sweater, this will "set" the yarn."
I had never heard of setting the yarn before, but I will certainly give it a try. 
In the past I'd always blocked individual pieces first, in order to make joining the pieces easier.  I'll probably think twice about doing that again.  Perhaps it is better to block sweaters after they are seamed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Colorado Avalanche Colors

I am not buying any new yarn.  At least that has been the plan for the past couple of months, and my plan for the foreseeable future.  Having said that, I did have a little relapse.  The one yarn I need the least is sock yarn, but I saw sock yarn that was dyed to match the colors of a favorite hocky team.  Being a big Colorado Avalanche fan, how could I resist? It from an Etsy shop online called Draygoneyarnes.

The yarn is 80% Superwash Merino / 20% Nylon, 100 grams/420 yds.

My skein seems to have more white than the skein, above and the colors are less rich and vibrant.

The yarn is fairly loosely plied and I'm not yet sure if I'll make socks. If I do, I'll need to reinforce the heels and toes, I'm sure.  Maybe I'll make a little neck shawl to wear on game days. If I decide on a scarf, I'll have to pick one that looks good in a self-striping yarn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carmichael Aran - The Dilemma

I haven't blogged lately as I really didn't have anything to say.  I've been knitting a bit, but nothing was quite photo-worthy along the way.

This evening I took a picture of the Carmichael Aran.  It's all finished, except for the neckband. 

However, I've run into a problem and I'm not quite sure what I'll do about it.  I welcome suggestions.
Each piece was knit to gauge and turned out to be just the size that I wanted it to be.  I soaked each piece in Soak and the pieces became large and loose.  I was worried.  I blocked each piece, nudging it back to the size that it was when I was knitting, the size I wanted the piece to be.  I thought that all was well.  I was wrong.

I sewed the pieces together and the sweater looked long.  I hoped that it was just an optical illusion, but unfortunately it wasn't.  The sleeves and body had grown by about 1-1/2" to 2" in length.  The width is about half an inch wider, nothing I'll worry about.
Now, the dilemma.  What do I do about it?  Should I wet and block the sweater again?  Would I dare to put in the dryer, even for a very short time?  Something else? 

I did do a swatch and it, too, came out looser and bigger, but when I pushed it gently back to the original measurements, the piece stayed put.  It didn't gow as the sweater did.
This is an overdue gift.  I'd like to get it in the mail and off to the recipient and start on something else. 

What's this knitter to do?


Monday, October 11, 2010


To Canadians everywhere:

Happy Thanksgiving

Heureux d'action de grĂ¢ces