Monthly Archives: February 2013

Family Matters 2

I’ve been spending a little more time with the World War 1 letters this morning – a good activity for a snowy day.   There are three ‘voices’ in the group:  my great-aunt Emma who served as a field nurse, my grandfather Ridd, who served as a chaplain and stretcher bearer, and my great-uncle Joe who was sent immediately to Europe as a non-commissioned officer.

Joe lied about his age on his attestation papers.  When he enlisted in June 1915, he said he was born in 1896.  Someone of authority noted in the side margin that “…birth certificate shews date of birth 19 March 1899.”    He was sixteen years old, but no one prevented him from being shipped to active duty in France.

His letters are expressive, and retain a chatty innocence.

letter Christmas

This one, dated France, 25/12/17  is written to his older brother Ridd who was still based in England at that time.  He starts writing it Christmas Day, thanking his brother for the gift of a new pair of warm gloves, and continues on page 3:

“It is just 3:40 am now of the 26th and there is about five inches of snow up on top.  This is one of the best ‘holes’ in the ground I have struck, warm as toast and very roomy.  Someone with lots of time, made a large desk, pigeon holes and all, so it is very comfy for writing letters on shift.  Have to call it off for now.  Love from Joe.”




Filed under 1917, Culture, Favourites

Family Matters

I’ve been spending a little time in Port Hope this week helping my parents.

I have returned to the city with what I call a real treasure.  THESE LETTERS:

letters 4

I’ve taken on the job of archiving my Grandfather Elliot’s  letters home from the European front during WW1.  Among other things,  my grandfather, Ridd, was a prolific writer who published articles, commentaries and stories in many newspapers from the 1920s on.  That is one reason why these letters, written mostly to his mother Sarah from various European locations, promise to be interesting reading.  In most cases, they look to be very descriptive and are many sheets long.

letters 1

I find these ‘postcards’ from the front fascinating   The boys serving there were obviously  encouraged to write home, but due to the sensitivity of their location (?) they were provided with these pre-printed postcards.  They clearly were instructed to cross off the information that wasn’t relevant so that the family members at home could at least receive some news.

letters 3


Here is a closer look:



As a historian, I must say that I have worked with centuries old documents in the Vatican Library that were in better condition than these letters.  The paper during wartime was obviously inferior  and is now very delicate and yellowed.  My self appointed  task now is to read, sort, photograph, and store these documents properly in order to preserve them for future generations of our family.   I LOVE doing this kind of work.  I can’t wait to read what he wrote on those pages and pages of letters to his mother.  I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.


Filed under 1917, Culture, War Correspondence, WW1

Happy Valentine’s Day!!



Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Toronto

What’s happening at the LYS?

On the weekend I decided to drop into Passionknit, my local yarn shop,  just to see what was on the needles there.

First, I went to my new favourite coffee spot ” I Deal Coffee”  located at 3336 Yonge Street.  As I’ve mentioned before, their Maple Syrup Latte is a must try, but the regular coffee drinks are all superior.


People were still digging out from the big storm the day before, so traffic in Passionknit was light to start, but it got very busy in the afternoon.


I was only there for a short time – enough to get some ideas for my next projects.

Patti is making “Pop Spots”, a shawl designed by Juju Vail of Loop, London.

Patti using

Patti using Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca Lace, a luxurious blend of 70% alpaca and 30% silk.  The colours are kettle dyed in Peru and are simply gorgeous.

Morgan is making these adorable Luvbots by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land.

Isn't he adorable?  I think they will be in the shop in time for Valentine's Day.

Isn’t he adorable? I think they will be in the shop in time for Valentine’s Day.

Meanwhile I spent some time surveying the Grignasco Loden wall….pondering the potential of using several of these colours together in one of Brooklyn Tweed’s new fair isle sweater patterns (see the Winter 2013 Collection).

The tweedy softness and the colours make this worsted weight yarn amazing.  The garment hanging below is awaiting finishing - can't wait to try it on.

The tweedy softness and the stunning colours make this worsted weight yarn amazing. The garment hanging below is awaiting finishing – can’t wait to try it on after it is blocked.

I left with seven colours of Baby Cashmerino – my inspiration for a new nautical themed fair isle cowl I’m working on.

nautical cowl 3

Passionknit is located at 3355 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4N 2N6  (416)322-0688

All patterns mentioned are available for purchase on 


Filed under Knitting, Toronto, Uncategorized, Yarn, Yarn Notes

Glorious Day


Leave a comment

February 9, 2013 · 7:55 pm

The Snowy Day

Toronto was buried under  continuous snowfall today.

A residential  street in the central part of the city.
ted 3

A view of Yonge Street during evening rush hour .  Usually the cars are bumper to bumper.

yonge street

Truly,  the only way to travel – via Canadian snow plough.

plough 2

A haven in the middle of the storm.  They make a delicious maple syrup latte.  I’m addicted.

ideal coffee

Tonight is guilt-free!!!   Stay inside and watch a movie, read, or…… knit!


Filed under Culture, Toronto

Crystal Storm

Downtown in the shopping district of Bloor and Avenue tonight, in spite of the severe storm watch posted for the city.

Two night pictures of the Royal Ontario Museum ‘Crystal’ by architect  Daniel Liebeskind:



When the structure officially opened in 2007, critics were harsh.  Many designated it as one of  the ugliest buildings in the world.

I think it is spectacular.



Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Toronto