Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listen To The Music

Well, crap.  I was going to wrap up my posts about Texas with pictures of the Doobie Brothers concert that I went to.  BUT, I conscientiously put the photos from my camera on my fairly new back-up external hard drive and now I can't access it - something about an I/O error.  I'll take it to the computer repair people next week but I'm preparing myself for the worst.

So, I have a few blurry concert photos that I took on my phone and I'll share those with you.  If I ever get my files (pictures, knitting patterns, music and more) back, I'll post some decent pictures at a later date.

The Doobie Brothers concert was held at the aptly-named Majestic Theater in San Antonio.  In the afternoon before the concert I went for a walk around the block that the theater is on and saw the tour buses and equipment van that was being unloaded.  There was a policeman watching the backstage door but he let me have a look inside where the stage was being set up.

Click on any picture to enlarge it
The outside may look rather plain but inside....what an incredibly beautiful venue.  This decor, below, is on both sides.  During the concert one of the band members commented that this was the prettiest venue they've ever played.  Perhaps they say that no matter where they are playing, but I tend to agree with the sentiment.  The theater has an interesting history.  If interested, you can read about it here.

 Patrick Simmons is the original member of the Doobie Brothers from when they first began decades ago.  He played a beautiful song called Far From Home from their new album.  I checked out the official video and it's very touching.  At the end of the concert, I got to shake his hand...very cool for a fan like me!

The show was sooooo good and the time flew by much too quickly.  Tom Johnston has a lot of energy and great interaction with the crowd.  It appeared that he was having as much fun as the audience.

Here is guitarist, John McFee and drummer Tony Pia in back.

The Doobies did a lot of their classic hits and had the crowd singing along with them.  By the end of the concert I was only a little disappointed as they didn't play a song that I particularly like:  China Grove.  Well, China Grove is the name of a little town outside of San Antonio (yes, I went there!) and they saved this for the encore and the audience showed their appreciation....loudly!

 When the sun comes up on a sleepy little town
Down around San Antone
And the folks are risin' for another day
'round about their homes.
The people of the town are strange
And they're proud of where they came.

Well, you're talkin' 'bout China Grove, wo, oh, oh,
Oh, China Grove

I hope I get a chance to go to one of their shows again someday.  It was fantastic.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scuderia Toro Rosso

I work for a very good company, NOVA Chemicals, and I'm constantly finding out that they have interests beyond what I see at work. One of those interests is its sponsorship of Scuderia Toro Rosso, a Grand Prix racing team. This is one of the cars in their stable:

Employees were offered a chance at a very unique experience if we were going to be in Austin on Friday, November 15th.  Since I wasn't that far away, on vacation in San Antonio, I was anxious to take them up on their generous offer.  We were given passes to the Paddock Club, the beautiful suite located across from the Grandstand and directly above the Toro Rosso garages.  Follow the Paddock Club link and click on the various parts of the site for some great pictures.  Amazing.  We walked along Pit Lane and saw the cars, crews and drivers up close and some company personnel were on hand to answer all of our questions.  There are garages along Pit Lane and the driver's name is above each one, along with a flag of his home country.  For the Toro Rosso team the drivers were Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Jean-√Čric Vergne of France. After a fabulous gourmet lunch we went behind the garages and saw the area where the break rooms were for the crews, the Engineer's office and more.  Then, it was into the garage where we put on headphones and listened to the driver talking to his teammates.

Click to Enlarge

It was amazing to see how fast the tires were changed - in 2.5 seconds or less.  The cars are able to go from 0 to 100mph and back to 0 in 7 seconds.  The sounds of the cars going around the track were deafening.  I learned a lot.

It was a full and exciting day and an experience that I never thought I'd have.  Now, I'm hooked on Formula One and watched all the coverage on TV from that weekend as well as the following weekend when the race was in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

If the chance to go again comes up again next year, I'm going to be very, very tempted.  I'm collecting adventures in life and this is certainly a favorite.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Travel Afghan - Block #55

The blocks of my Travel Afghan are finished, all 55 of them.  Now, I have to think about what I want to do for the border.  Right now I'm thinking that I will do one side at a time in garter stitch with mitered corners, getting the yarn from each of 4 more future trips.  It gives me an excuse to I need one!  This last block represents my trip to San Antonio and Austin, Texas.


Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations
Large block - started with 80 sts.

Yarn:  Wonderland Yarns, Fingering weight is called Cheshire Cat.
Color:  Barley Sugar
Yarn held double.
Purchased at:  Yarnivore in San Antonio
The skein of yarn was a generous 500+ yards so there is plenty left for other projects.

  Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm 

Note:  I chose this yarn as I'd never seen it anywhere else before.  If I think of a color that is associated with Texas it would be yellow for the "yellow rose of Texas".  Yellow is also the color on the sign on the yarn store.

Next time.... the Grand Prix...

Friday, November 22, 2013

President Kennedy

Like many, I remember where I was, how I felt and how the world changed after the assassination of the President.  It was a sad time for everyone no matter your politics and no matter what side of the border you lived on. 

Sometimes it does feel like it's been 50 years and sometimes it feels like it's much closer.  I wonder how history would have been different had this never happened.  We'll never really know.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Of course, I had to visit a yarn store while I was in San Antonio.  Visiting a shop or two during a trip is a must and I found a warm and friendly one called Yarnivore. I like the name and I do understand having an appetite for yarn.

I was welcomed by George who showed me around the shop, explaining how the yarn was sorted, which was by weight.

The shop is bright and cheery and there were plenty of temptations on the shelves, including books and notions.  I bought a circular needle called a "sock rocket", which is new to me.  It's lovely to work with, although I don't know the difference between it and the Addi lace needles.  Both have good points and a flexible cord.

George asked me if I was a spinner and I told him that I wasn't, that I'd never tried.  He was walking around the shop spinning with a drop spindle.  He explained to me how it was done and the next thing I knew I had the spindle in my hands and I was giving it a try.  I could tell that spinning could be very tempting to me if I didn't already have enough yarn to last me for a good long time, so I don't need to create more.

After I tried the spinning, he showed me how the yarn could twist back on itself, plied so that it stabilized.  I have to admit that I rather enjoyed myself and he is a good teacher.  Check out the picture from my instant mini-lesson.  I know that you're impressed!  He also talked about weaving and this is something that I've thought about for quite a while.  Maybe someday.  Maybe.  So many temptations.

It's probably a good thing that I don't live near the shop or George would have me trying out all kinds of new things.... just at a time when I'm trying to use the yarn that I already have.

I was on a mission to find yarn for my Travel Afghan to represent my trip to Texas.  I found it and will be blogging about it soon.  Did I mention how much I liked the shop? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is a pretty and vibrant city, rich in history and culture.  I especially liked the River Walk with the paths snaking along the river, the restaurants, the music and general feeling of relaxation.

Click to enlarge.
It's very easy to forget that you are still in the US because of the strong Mexican influence, including the Mariachi band strolling along and playing songs.  It was a vacation to Mexico inside a vacation to Texas and I loved it!

Of course the city renowned for the Alamo. It was amazing to walk through the shrine and museum and see items that belonged to Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, among others.  The Texas Revolution and the year 1836 is brought to life

Pictures aren't allowed to be taken inside, but if you click here and then go to the Virtual Tour link you can see more.

The weather in San Antonio was gorgeous.  It was in the high 70s, low 80s - not bad for November!  It was hard to look at the snow when I returned.

No trip is complete without a visit to a yarn

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance/Veterans' Day

Tomorrow is Remembrance or Veterans' Day, depending on which side of the border you live.  I hope that you will take time to think of why we celebrate the day.  In Canada, people wear poppies in remembrance of the soldiers who fought for our freedom.  The poppies are sold by the Legion on street corners or can be found by the cash register in many shops.  Just drop in a donation and take a poppy.

I've bought several.  Somehow, they seem to work their way off my coat and get lost.  I also decided to knit a poppy.  I used the pattern by Laura Chau, which can be found by clicking here.  It's a free pattern but she is asking for donations what she will give to the Canadian Legion.  I made my donation.


Pattern:  A Poppy For Remembrance by Laura Chau.

Yarn:  Mary Maxim Starlette from my stash - worsted weight
Small amounts of #033 Dark Willow and $105 Berry Red.

The center of the poppy should be black but since the dark green was at hand I used it instead.

Needles: US #2 / 2.75 mm
Note:  I made a small change to the pattern, making the red section a bit wider by adding one more round.  Round 10: *(Kfb, k2) 3 times, Kfb. Repeat from * to the end of the round. 56 sts.Then, I went back to following the pattern as written.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Outside - Inside

In an earlier blog post I said that I disagreed with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably on one point that they made during their workshop and lecture.  Each of them said that knots are okay and that you shouldn't show the inside of your knitting.

I could not disagree more.  If you care enough to knit something, put the time and money into it, why wouldn't you want it to look good, inside and out.  It takes very little extra effort to join and weave in new yarns.  Besides, knots could come undone unless the sweater felts a little.  I believe that if you are proud of your knitted project, be proud of both sides.

If someone wants to see the inside of my sweaters I won't say, "sorry, but I don't show the other side of my work."

To prove my point, here are a couple of sweaters, designed by Kaffe Fassett, that I've knitted.  I'm happy to show both sides and make no apologies.  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Foolish Virgins