Relationship of fabric to design

Well, at this point, this project has been knitted twice.  Not by choice, of course, but to eliminate too much shelf time, aka, not be worn.  I knit to wear so if there is something about a garment that doesn’t feel right or comfortable, I know its future is doomed.   I must say, the fabric that was created by this stitch was the conundrum.

The honeycomb stitch is a type of cable that is dense, especially when using Lion Brand’s fisherman wool . .  held double.  Not so much dense in weight as the pulled stitches create a kind of air hole behind it.  Maybe, you can make this out here, but dense in body.

I have knitted many of Vladimir Teriokhin’s patterns, many, or most of which are an oversized design.  Meaning the style is such that the garment is meant to skim over the body or hang loosely.  This is a FREE pattern, off the Lion Brand website.  You can see the oversized nature of the pattern.  I went happily knitting along with my gauge and knitted the pieces as per the schematic thinking nothing of what I was about to see.


Well, how exciting to finish knitting a sweater coat! I sewed the pieces together, wove the ends in, sewed the buttons and label  in, bragged to my knitting friends I had finished, and had a photo or two taken. Only then, AFTER seeing the photos, did I realize I had a garment that would never see the light of day.  In other words, it was awful.  No, you’re not going to see a picture of that.  You’re going to wonder . .  Had I tried it on?  yes, of course.  Didn’t I notice the fit issue?  no.  Didn’t the mirror tell you there was a concern?  no.

I have noticed this before that sometimes a photo talks back to me where a mirror does not.  I believe it has something to do with distance.  In the past I have caught mistakes in my knitted fabric regarding the stitch pattern, have found color mishaps, and with this project, fit issues via photos when I had not caught these mistakes simply by looking directly at the garment or in a mirror.  Lesson?  I now actually take photos through the knitting process to help me catch these errors.

The issue was the dense fabric and oversized shape was much, much too overwhelming for me.  I had to cut way back on the amount of fabric, both in length and width, if I was to keep the honey comb stitch.  I could no longer use the pattern I was using as now I wanted a closer fitting design.  I pulled a coat I had from my closet that fit the way I wanted this to fit and thought it could work as my pattern.  I took the measurements, kept my gauge, and re-figured stitch and row count to establish a plan for the size I now realized I needed. Oh joy . . .

Whether opened

or closed

the coat is working for me.

The weather was perfect for this shoot

We were along the Erie Canal

looking over in anticipation of the warmer weather to come.

Here is a picture of the yarn that was taken OUT of coat-attempt-one.  Keep in mind these balls of yarn is double yarn, so really I have twice the amount left over, about 3 skeins.

Now, I feel this a successful project and will remember to take into consideration a garment’s fabric in relation to the suitability of the design.

Vintage Art

I’m always talking about Vogue Knitting. Likely, I will always be talking about Vogue Knitting. Not only have I found this publication the most fashionable, fashion is my motivation to knit, I have come to understand the way their patterns are written and follow designers who have found their work published there. Adding to my attraction and deep dedication to this magazine are the more recent events of attending Vogue Knitting Live, walking the runway at the event, and being recognized for my knitted garments. That does not mean I am not aware or do not appreciate other publications for knitting, crocheting, and sewing that are forever beckoning our attention.

While at last year’s VKL in NYC, I took classes, many of them. The classes I chose were specific to the theme of design. For me, choosing a theme made it easier to choose what classes to take. There are literally hundreds of classes not to mention lectures, fashion shows, and vendors at these events. One of the classes in particular was with Deborah Newton, a VK designer who’s patterns I have knit and who’s books I have read. The topic for her class was sketching, sketching fashion, for me the highlight of the entire weekend. I couldn’t wait for it and I couldn’t wait to meet her. She showed many examples of sketches explaining the purpose of them and the importance of honing that skill. Her enthusiasm for the artists of the sketches as well as the aesthetic nature of each was infectious. That enthusiasm, maybe more than my actual desire to sketch, has stayed with me. The below are exercises from the class.

So, when a friend of mine, who knows I love to knit and who seems to love to find treasures for people (a genuine act of kindness), handed me a box of vintage knitting magazines, I was not only appreciative that he would think of me while rummaging, but I fell in love with the covers. They reminded me of the sketches from Deborah’s class. None of these publications were Vogue Knitting, but all of them represented some collective aspect of what I hold dear when thinking of my knittings’ past. Such titles as Gifts, Brunswick hits, Fashion and Accessories, Headliners, Modern Knitting all called to me as I could relate to each of them. “Yes, I’ve knitted gifts. I remember knitting with Brunswick yarns. Modern knitting? That’s what VK is all about!”, I was saying to myself. These covers were literally speaking to me.

How fortunate am I that my DB is a graphic designer. I showed him the box of these vintage magazines, all of different sizes, fragile, and color-aged. I explained my passion over the covers and asked if they could somehow become art for my wall. He did what he does. Many pdfs, lots of frame discussions, measurements . . . he planned to solve what potential challenges there might be.

I love the way the kindness of one, the enthusiastic teachings of another, and the willing and abled spirit of a third has come together to make this most meaningful wall art display for me.

And, what’s more? The magazines are still intact, so now I can begin perusing ideas for knitting!


Sometimes you cheat on your own website. My View, a column in the Buffalo News offers a place for writers to express their own personal thoughts on a topic of your choosing. There are some guidelines (of course) which can easily be found online. Today, I was published.  Some of you have been asking how I’ve been since my great loss(es) of 2017 and here I try (within the word count allowed) to express where I am today.

My View: Beginning life again after a year full of loss

By My View Published

By Holly Olmstead

As we live our lives, we can expect to lose our elderly loved ones. We are saddened, of course, and we respectfully mourn those we loved. We realize it is the natural order of things when the aged pass away. The stone that is cast by that death has rippling effects that last for years.

Adult children who may have come into town to visit that parent stop doing so, family gatherings are less frequent and sometimes difficult without an identifiable matriarch or patriarch, and the next generation of babies born to those adult children are born and create new, exciting attentions.

Now, when there are losses of loved ones that are unexpected and do not align with the natural circle of life, that brings on a grief of a whole other kind. You wonder how your life will go on. After a long and successful marriage, I lost my husband of 35 years. He was my best friend, cheerleader and protective caretaker my entire adult life.

Through the last few months of his life, we had to re-home our Labrador of five years, a sacrifice for hubby’s safety in the household. Even though it was a successful transition, one’s pet is like one’s child, a terrific loss.

In the meantime, my sister with Down syndrome passed away, a death more bittersweet than upsetting as at the age of 62 and born in the 1950s we felt she lived a full life. However, it was indeed a significant, heartfelt loss to me. Having lost my sister, pooch and hubby all in one year, I felt like I had lost my entire identity.

Holly Olmstead

This was overwhelming, to say the least, for me. Where to begin? Where to pick up the pieces? Where to turn?

At first I was numb. In shock, anger, and likely, in denial. So, I did nothing. Mourning: Who knows what that looks like? They say gather with others, join groups. Keep old traditions, consider new. Give permission to yourself for time, space and for your family.

So, I took on some new things. I now volunteer at Habitat for Humanity at the construction site and run with a group from Fleet Feet. I’ve just signed on to teach knitting at Cornerstone for the winter semester and completed a grief group session at Hospice.

I’ve learned how to time manage the job of two people regarding house maintenance, including grocery shopping and cooking. Children are out of the area and trips scheduled to see them are and will always be in the works.

It has been over one year. I am dating. While all this was well and good, the busy, full schedule was not filling the void and the loneliness I was continuing to feel. It wasn’t until I had a euphoric moment that things began to take a turn for me. My past and present do not need to look the same in relationships. While I understood and had accepted my activities looking different, why not my relationships, as well?

This simple shift in thinking, of taking off the parameters of expectation of the familiar interpersonal relationships I had known, is allowing me to be more open to friendships of all kinds.

Much like starting adulthood over, I can enjoy people I meet, find joy in others’ ways and traditions, and accept new ideas in conversation and lifestyle. The world actually feels like a bright promising place for happiness and love, once again.

Holly Olmstead, of Kenmore, is a retired teacher from the Sweet Home Central School District.

PS.  The photo, above is of my home where I’ve hung outside lights for the first time, have a new storm door, new mailbox, and hung a vintage poinsettia wreath, a wreath that hung on the front door during my childhood recently given to me by my mom.  Not forgotten, the beautiful wreath hubby gave me a few years back is hanging on the mantle, where sweet memories of Christmas past remain present.

[HERE] is how the article appeared in the Buffalo Evening News.

A Star(lab) for the teacher

This is one of those rare, it-only-happens-to-other-people kind of stories, a story that whether you are a family member, a friend, or a person of the human race would appreciate. But, in this case, it didn’t happen to a stranger, it happened to my Dad!  So, I must capture the beauty of it so I can spread the word that values of appreciation, kindness, and gratitude are still evident in our world today.  Passionate in every way, here is how a lifelong interest of one inspired another not only through the years of direct instruction but also motivated her esteemed career in the field of science.  And how ultimately, over 50 years later, that student came back to this Buffalo area to thank him.

That teacher is my dad, Richard Zygmunt. Growing up, his enthusiasm for astronomy filled our backyard with his homemade telescopes, filled our Saturdays with lessons taught at the Buffalo Museum of Science, and filled our summers with the lessons he taught about the celestial skies from the little observatory he built on the hill of a local summer camp.

Through the years, he would study the sky either on his own or in groups with fellow astronomers. Telescopes were built by them and used for study. Here, a star-gazing group has convened.

As any astronomy-enthusiast would, he and others attended the very recent re-opening of Buffalo Museum of Science’s Kellogg Observatory.  After checking out the new telescopic equipment,  well, they posed.

It was in early August of 2018 when my Dad received this letter.

“Thank you for attending the grand opening celebration for the Kellogg Observatory.  With the re-opening of the Kellogg Observatory, the Buffalo Museum of Science cotinues its transformation, our reverence for our past informing ambitions for the future.
As an educator, you shaped Museum experiences and crafted memories your students cherish to this day.  You instilled a love of learning and an appreciation for the boundless possibilities space holds.  I am honored to inform you that your legacy of inspiration will continue to touch generations of Museum goers for years to come.
With this letter, the Buffalo Museum of Science formally acknowledges that your former student, Dr. Cora Musial has gifted a digital planetarium in your honor.  You taught Cora when she was a Museum Kid, and took her on her first visits to the Kellogg Observatory.  Cora explained that your astronomy classes “Stars and Constellations” and “The Sun and Its Family” inspired her and instilled in her a lifelong love of all things celestial.  To this day, she still has the notebooks from your classes.  
In the Richard Zygmunt Planetarium, the Buffalo Museum of Science will continue your work of capturing the imagination and fostering a new generation of star-gazers.  We are honored.” Sincerely, Marisa Wigglesworth, President & CEO
December 12, 2018

Family and friends gathered and celebrated. Here we are listening to the plan for the evening which included a demo of the digital planetarium’s possibilities for education and party sleep-overs.

We gathered outside the starlab, first, for a family photo and then, inside the structure to more fully understand the power of this high-tech learning tool.

Below, is a close-up of the plaque printed right on the digital starlab’s fabric.  No question about this dedication, a truly heartfelt thank you from student to teacher.

Cora, as you can see, was a museum kid turned Dr. Cora Musial, Infectious Disease Specialist.  Check out to what extent she shared his passion. Below, she is showing her former teacher the notebook that she still has with the notes she took from his classes.

Check out the date.  If you’re wondering, yes, she took her notes in handwriting during class, then re-typed them at home!  I heard it being discussed that these notebooks will be placed into the archives of the Buffalo Museum of Science.

May the minds of young ones be filled with the knowledge, interest, and wonderment of the skies above with help from the Richard Zygmunt Planetarium for years to come. And, not so bad that my Dad was given this recognition and appreciated for his fine teachings in this field.

Leg-o-Mutton ‘THEN’

I think it is interesting to hear of what inspires each of us.  For my inspiration, I can’t think of a time when I reached for any Vogue Knitting publication that I didn’t end up wanting to make at least one item from it.  Oftentimes, more.  This has remained true for over 40 years.  Now, currently on Ravelry, such magazines, publications, designers of well-known fame as well as fledglings have ‘groups’ one can follow.  From there one can drill down and find things like KALs (knit alongs) and surprise KALs (just that, clues per week to lead to a surprise garment in the end).  These things are found in ‘forums’.  These niceties  are all meant to inspire or motivate the knitter in us.  Well, the Vogue Knitting Group is no exception.  It offers challenges, and I am right in line to accept them.

This particular project is an entry for the 2018 Vintage Vogue KAL:  THEN AND NOW,  This challenge offers:

1. One “Now” project from 2018 VK (tag: VK2018now) – potential designs here

One “Then“ project (tag: VK2018then)

(a) from previous VK “8” year – potential designs here

(b) featured as “Then and Now” or “Flashback” in any VK – potential designs here

Cannot combine “Then” and “Now” as one (i.e. 2018 Flashback), two required

No finish time limit if start in 2018 (except post #1 describes WIP loophole)

I chose Edna Hart’s Striped Pullover from VK Winter 2007/2008 as my ‘then’ leaning on the happiness of the stripes and shape of the sleeves.  This leg-o-mutton sleeve or some interpretation of it is everywhere in today’s fashion.

Another reason for choosing this pattern is the opportunity to use up stash remnants.  An idea for your little annoying balls of yarn . . . I love using up those unwanted scraps and am always perusing patterns or thinking of how to use them up, These little bundles were colors with a similar hue and similar to the colors shown in the pattern..  (My color mantra is colors of a similar hue go together.) This gave me 50% of the yarn I needed to knit this project.

The black stripes?  I’ve learned from another how Ravelry’s yarn data base has people willing to sell yarn from their stash, in this case I found the exact yarn the pattern called for a very fair price.    The photo below is the leftover I now have.

After finding gauge, (tricky row gauge, unfortunately), the project moved along.  The design modification I made, however was with the sleeves.  Knowing movement, in particular the stretch at the elbow, I felt ribbing from the puff  down to the wrist, a better way to go.  The pattern calls for straight stitch. I felt the long rib would stay in place, is a stronger fabric, and would lend to the continual movement of arm movement.  I also lengthened the ribbing at the bottom and around the neck to 1 inch, same width as the stripes.  The pattern calls for 2 rows of ribbing.  The wider rib also lends to a more stable finishing.

As we were driving in a direction we thought might be suitable for a photo shoot, we spotted this beautiful gate that resembled the black stripes and significant features of this sweater.  We felt it was a perfect complement to the curvature of the scoop neck as well as the puffy sleeve caps.

The sun was bright.  We worked with it and hoped to match the rainbow-like brightness of this little sweater.

This project was completed this past Fall.

Goal setting!  I am in the process of catching up on my writing before the new year rings as then, I can be writing about current happenings as they occur once, again. OH, and for this challenge, I will be staying with the leg-o-mutton theme and knitting THIS from VK 2018.