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.