Grand Rapids Fish Ladder Park

This place is a little strange. Not really a dam’s normal fish ladder. It’s an architect’s vision of a fish ladder. A stark and brutalist vision though.

Joseph E. Kinnebrew (the IV, to distinguish him from his three ancestors of the same name) is the architect who designed this “sculpture and fish ladder” for the Grand River as it flows through the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was dedicated not quite 50 years ago, on June 6, 1975.

Seems to me like Joe struggled some to capture “the aesthetic significance of our environment.” But maybe not. I am no proper art critic. And I definitely totally enjoyed seeing the ladder sculpture and the river that runs through it.

Salmon, steelhead, and brown trout use the ladder regularly in the fall and into the winter. The height of the dam means they can’t get to their spawning spots upriver when the time is right. So they need a boost from the humans who set up the obstructive dam in the first place.

There’s been a push locally to return the river to itself–minus the dam–but that’s a tough sell.

Fall fishing can be really good at the dam and near the ladder. Maybe a fisherman needs to keep a lookout that one of those big logs doesn’t dislodge though.

We didn’t see much being caught. But we did see a few fish get hooked and manage to outsmart the humans.

This guy reeled in a pretty big one while we watched.

The cormorants were watching too.

The mallards though? They were disinterested in the hullabaloo and just dabbled around in the shallows.

The giant soap bubbles at the river’s edge didn’t pop.

You probably would like a closer look at those.

The giant bubbles are “Evanescent” by Atelier Sisu. The installation was part of GR’s Art Prize 2023. This city is a more cool place than uncool me deserves to be hanging out in. Cormorants, big fish, and giant soap bubbles. What an unlikely combination.

Check out these You Tube videos if you want to see fish actually running the fish ladder and drone shots of the dam area.

More hats

The major season of hat-knitting is upon us! I knit hats year-round. But from now until spring, they finally start disappearing from my finished knits stash.

This first hat is Tanya Thoman’s (of Maybea Crafted’s) excellent design, Munising. I purchased the kit from Thoman at the Tip of the Mitt Fiber Festival at the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Petoskey Michigan. What a great venue for a yarnie event. The yarn is Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport. The kit had plenty of yarn, in each color.

Munising is near the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. The Lake Superior shore is home to amazing sandstone cliffs. Streaks of minerals stain the face of the weather-sculpted sandstone when groundwater oozes out of cracks and trickles down the rock face. Iron (red and orange), copper (blue and green), manganese (brown and black), and limonite (white) are among the most common color-producing minerals. The cliffs near Munising inspired this hat’s design.

Pictured Rocks is an amazing feature of our “Pure Michigan.” Plan a visit if you can and be sure to include a visit to some of the many waterfalls around Munising (the city).

Munising (the hat) also has colorful swirling crown.

Shifting gears completely, next up is the popular Ravelry freebie, Ditto. It’s designed by Anne Gagnon. I’ve knit it before. This time I pinked it up with a sweet shade of 7 Veljesta by Novita.

Ditto’s crown is stunningly beautiful but easily knit.

And how could I not knit a second Ditto soon after the pink one? Ditto’s pattern name, not to mention how pretty it is, calls for a second knit. I used Sugarbush Bold, a discontinued yarn whose passing I continue to mourn.

If you’re looking for a fun quick knit that yields great results give Ditto a try. Or two tries. It’s totally worth it.

Next up is the 1898 Hat. It’s a free pattern available via Ravelry or direct from Seaman’s Church Institute’s website. The mission of the institute is provide services to the maritime community. For many decades that has included a Christmas at Sea program. The Institute’s website says the program is one of the “oldest and longest continuously-running charter knitting program in the U.S.” It delivers knitted gifts to the “thousands of professional U.S. mariners at work aboard towboats, harbor tugs, and dredges on the Mississippi River system and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterways” as well as to certain international seafarers. Maybe knit one for your ears and send another to warm a mariners’.

The 1898 Hat is Kristine Byrnes’s winning design in the Institute’s contest looking for hats with earflaps. This hat’s earflaps are the best earflaps ever–amazingly warm, double thick.

We probably can say aloud that this hat is not for the fashionistas among us. But if you’re a person with ears you should definitely considering knitting, wearing, and gifting this hat. I knit this one in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted.

The 1898 Hat is said to be inspired by a pattern that Byrnes found in a magazine published around 1910. Demonstrating that I am an incorrigible knitpicker, I admit that I wonder why it isn’t called the 1910 Hat.

My next knit is Jo-Anne Klim’s Totalee Slouchy hat. If you’re interested in checking out my five prior knits of this hat, type misspelled Totallee into the search window and they’ll show up. Klim’s versions are very dignified. My versions tend to the wild side and this version is the wildest yet.

It’s knit in Ella Rae’s Cozy Soft Prints, a DK weight. That’s the yarn in the body of the hat. And the brim is knit in Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 120. I’d knit a A Bunny Named Quwi in this Ella Rae yarn…

…and this Totallee Slouchy project was designed to use up the remainder. An excellent bunny, methinks, and an interesting hat.

The crown decreases work out into a very pleasing swirl. Kind of a kaleidoscope effect in this difficult-to-tame yarn.

This post has definitely gotten my knit-a-hat juices flowing. So has a few 40 degree mornings!