Much like Facebook’s posts and ability for friends to comment and/or like a post, Ravelry, a knitter’s online paradise, has a function called forums. Forums are generally written and like-interested people comment, share, like, or otherwise support the theme of the post. Reading these threads is as interesting as posting on them. Groups on Ravelry generally have many such forums going on at once and of course, there are people in all ranges of activity on them. Some are so active, they have become moderators and those moderators are now posting what we affectionately call challenges. This is true within the Vogue Knitting Group, at least. This is where the inspiration came, or maybe an excuse, to go all the way back to my complete VK magazine collection dating Fall/Winter 1982 (easy access here on shelving).
Call me old-fashioned, not with the times, or even schoolmarmish, I cannot say enough how I appreciate a well-intentioned thank you. Whether a wave from a stranger in a car, a smile followed by a nod in a waiting line, it matters to me. When it comes in the form of writing it is especially sweet but when in handwriting, that thank you lingers in my heart for a very long time.
As I transition back into the work force, I want to share these heart-felt notes that came my way from the volunteer experiences I recently had. The first is from Buffalo City Mission where I taught knitting during their winter semester. We had a very successful time as evidenced by the ladies’ projects as seen here. I am heading back for their summer session and look forward to new projects while promoting our big idea of Stitch(ing) Away Stress. That’s the name of our class.
Pretty much my entire life, I’ve knitted alone. Happily, on the couch, in a relaxed state of mind, figuring out the pattern stitch or the possible mistake in the pattern or in my thinking, always knitting alone . . happily. The main advantage of that is the ease of stealing an hour here or there between the hustle bustle of family life, after a school day (whether a student or teacher or both), in between the piles of homework and/or housework, there were always those precious hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is it a poncho? Is it a wrap? The designer, Vladimir Teriohkin names his design Helio Poncho, which means combining form. Whatever you call it, it could not be easier to knit and exceedingly fun to wear. Think, a few inches of ribbing, followed by a rectangle in straight stitch with a hole in it towards one end, and ending with the same number of inches in ribbing. When complete, pick up stitches around that hole for a nice 8 inch cowl. It is as simple as that. Knitted in Homespun from Lion Brand, a chunky, curly yarn, it knits up quickly and is impressively soft.. Wear it casual with moto joggers for Christmas tree shopping or fancy it up with more formal wear for an evening out, The photographer snapped these photos while I was adjusting the multitude of ways of wearing. We are at a Buffalo-famed ice cream shop, Anderson’s who rents out their lot to a Christmas tree farm every holiday season. Paul Bunyan has stood proudly for years positioned along a main drag to announce the farm’s return to the local community. So, here we are starting out where I’ve slipped this rectangle over my head, short length in front.
I am talking about a recently finished garment, my first of 2018. First due to the nature of my newly single life (adjusting/managing/accepting) but also first due to the intricacies of what was on my needles. In all fairness to the publisher of Vogue Knitting, the pattern was marked as ‘expert’ which means a high level of difficulty to knit, so I guess I was warned.
Yes, we chose Detroit for a little R & R. Why, you might ask? Here are a few reasons.
“One of the most beautiful homes on Airbnb. This is a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom historic home in one of the most beautiful, one of a kind neighborhood of Detroit. Woodbridge is in Midtown, and a mile from most of Detroit’s finest sights, art, and stadiums. My wife and I are in Greece for at least six months helping refugees and your stay is our only revenue keeping us there. Thank you!”
The Erie County Fair is near and dear to my heart as it has a long history with me. From being an equestrian representing Camp Sprucelands from youth (below, Sheba and me) as well as