In Appreciation

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.

This other hand-written thank you is from the head of the Wednesday crew where I served as an on-site construction worker for 1 1/2 years.  Both Chuck and I are moving to other opportunities but his kindness and compassion in helping me find my way during that time will live with me into eternity.  I will very much miss Habitat for Humanity, Buffalo while on my employment hiatus but who knows, with my newly obtained skills as a construction worker, I may be back!

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.

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.

The Poncho Wrap

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.

Front and back views, below.

Close ups of the neck detail.

Here, I am bringing up the back.  The length gets pulled in front for the wrap.

Using a cross over bag helps to keep the wrap securely in place.

The flat bed seemed perfectly positioned for a photo.

Maybe, this one.  Truth is, my tree is already up and fully decorated.

This lumberjack’s wearing short sleeves and I’m all bundled up.  Aren’t we festive?

Please note:  Not only is this pattern terrific fashion forward fun, it is one of a host of [FREE] patterns found on the Lion Brand website.  These patterns are often designed by the very designers you see in Vogue Knitting.  Does it get any better than that?