Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

RIP Dad

Yesterday our father was laid to rest in a beautiful ceremony at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York. It is a beautiful cemetery and the service touched our hearts. The 21 gun salute and playing of TAPS brought tears to everyone's eyes. I heard more than a few sniffles when I was presented the American Flag in honor of my Dad.
 We decided to donate Dad's flag to the cemetery to adorn the Avenue of Flags. We think he would have liked this gesture. I am overwhelmed with the passing of my Dad but I'm glad we were able to give him such an honorable send off.  We will keep the three spent shell casings, one from each of the three volleys, which represent Duty, Honor, Country. I think my Dad knows how proud we are of him.
 This week with the Chicks was nothing but scarves on needles. My Mistake Stitch scarf is getting a bit longer. It would be much longer if I didn't spend so much time working on other projects too. I guess I don't have much of an attention span. 
 Elaine's tweed scarf is growing steadily in spite of what she thinks. I think gremlins come in at night and rip out our progress while we sleep. They seem to take forever to grow!
 Liz's Palindrome finally gave her enough grief and she bound off the stitches. Next step, maybe some fringe.
 Now she is casting on for a hat.
 Liz slipped in a finished cowl when no one was looking.
 We haven't seen Cinzia's Reversible Stripes scarf in a while. She was bored with it so it sat in the bottom of her knitting basket until she felt inspired to pick it up again. None of us has ever done anything like that, have we? She said sarcastically!!!
 And Dorah added a lot of length to her Noro Striped scarf. The colors are a nice compliment to each other and the scarf is gender neutral.
 As is Maureen's Mistake Stitch scarf. We've been trying to concentrate on items that men can use too. It's easy to find interesting patterns to knit for a woman or child but men's items can sometimes be...um...not as much fun to knit. Sorry guys!
 Elena started this crocheted scarf just tonight and look how long it is already! Nice bright colors too.
 Carole is knitting a pattern that she found on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog. You must cast on a multiple of 4 stitches plus 2 then knit the following pattern for every row until your desired length:
K2, K one stitch through the back loop, P1. Bind off when you're satisfied with the length and add fringe if you like.
 Sofia finished her boot cuff and....
 started the second one tonight. She's been using a chopstick for a cable needle. Necessity is the mother of invention after all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ladies of the evening, HA!

The afternoon ladies had the day off today so just my night time group met. Maureen finished her cabled hat that was giving her a hard time a few weeks ago. It looks great!
 And Elena finished her crocheted hat and added a cute little flower with sequins.
 Sofia worked on a pair of boot cuffs with cables. She designed the pattern herself.
I'm so proud of her.
 By the end of the evening she had a good four inches knitted. Looking good Sofia!
 Back to Maureen, she made progress on her Mistake Stitch scarf using a nice neutral burgundy yarn.
 Cinzia's cheerful checkered scarf is nearing the end. She has decided to crochet an edge to prevent curling.
 I started a Mistake Stitch scarf too. You can't tell in this photo but it's actually black in a nice warm wool.
 Beth started her second mitten to go with....
 the first one with a seed stitch insert. This one just needs a thumb and it will be ready for wearing.
Another week gone by, another few thousand stitches knitted!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Another Hero from the Greatest Generation, my Dad, is gone

I lost my Dad this week. That's so hard to say. He was a gentle soul whom everyone loved. And he was humble. So humble in fact that it wasn't until after the attacks of September 11 that he was able to tell me the story of how he came to deliver supporting troops to the Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany to protect it from being destroyed by the enemy during the Battle of the Bulge. 
He was in the 563rd AAA AW BN and drove, maintained, repaired, and operated an M16 Halftrack. He was only 20 years old when this was taken in Germany in 1945.
 He was very proud of the fact that out of 800 men in his division just 4 lives were lost. That's 4 too many and he was deeply touched by it.
 On the day he arrived home from WWII his buddies helped him celebrate. Dad is the second in from the right.
 He was a very handsome man and my sister and I often joke that Adam Levine of Maroon 5 looks like him.
 I was his first born and a real "Daddy's Girl". I loved to greet him squealing and laughing when he came home from work, ready to give him a juicy kiss. And he always took such good care of me, teaching me by his example to be kind and loving.
 When it was my turn to take care of him I found a wonderful assisted living nearby so I could visit him often during the week. He always greeted me with, "What are you doing here?" We would go to lunch, sit by the river and watch the boaters, or just sneak out for an ice cream in the good weather.
 On occasion when I went to visit he wouldn't be home. He was out fishing or at the driving range, both things I have never known him to do! He had a full social schedule at Ingersoll Place!
 Last year I was able to make arrangements for our Congressman Paul Tonko to present Dad with a special recognition for his service in the European Campaigns. All through the ceremony Dad would lean over to me and ask why they were making such a fuss over him. 
There was my humble Dad again.
 I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to give him the last 17 months where he was shown so much love and respect.
 It was the least I could do after all he did for me. I'm going to miss you so much Daddy!
I'll always love you. And save me a beer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Chicks celebrate 10 years together and Leo turned 4!

I can't believe it! The Chicks are 10 years old! We've been knitting and laughing together since August 2005 and tonight wasn't any different. We had a great time. Unfortunately, Kathleen and Barbara couldn't join us. But they were with us in spirit.
 We started the afternoon with a visit from Cathleen Crowley who is a reporter from the Times Union Newspaper of Albany, New York. That's her getting a close up photo of Liz knitting on her sock. She doesn't know when it will be in print but we're going to be in the newspaper to commemorate our anniversary. At the end of June we were on the local NBC affiliate TV news report.
 When we gathered tonight for our dinner there was more laughter to go around than food! 
 Although, there was quite a bit of food to go around too.
 Salads, shrimp, dips, roasted potatoes and sausages, for the main course and the Fasullo girls brought homemade chocolate mousse which accompanied Carole's carrot cake. Everything was delicious!
 And Carole brought a handmade project bag for each of us as a party favor. She's a quilter too and couldn't resist this fabric when she saw it on a quilting fabric hunt.
 My thank you gift to the Chicks this year was this handy little book of sticky notes, something you always need when checking out your patterns. It can hardly express my gratitude to the ladies for the time and effort for the work they do all year long to keep Chicks with Sticks going strong. Thank you Kathleen Corrigan, Liz Hotaling, Barbara Kavanagh, Elaine Rivard, Cinzia Cera, Sofia and Elena Fasullo, Maureen Cagino, Beth Mashmann, Carole Ju, and Dorah Rosenzweig for all that you do! You make the magic happen!
Last week Ron and I went to spend some time with the grands in Pennsylvania. While we were there Leo turned four years old. As his gift we went to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Our experience began with a ride on the carousel. It was a hit!
 Poppop and Leo filmed a TV show...
 and Moose made feathers fly.
 The lazy river was a very popular stop along the way.
 And the trip ended with a duet with the crazy court jester.
After spending seven days with those boys I need a nap. See you next week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

There will be warm necks this winter

Liz brought a bagful of goodies this week. She started out looking like a matador as she showed us her pretty pastels triangular shawl/scarf. It was knitted using a machine washable yarn making it a practical garment for much use.
Her other items were the Noro Stripe Scarf to the left which she was knitting for the last month. Also included were two more scarves and three cowls.
 Elaine finished her Mistake Stitch scarf. She used a Berroco yarn which is machine washable and dryable. The color choice was a good generic pick for our yarn bombing project this fall. We are planning on strategically placing items around the Albany Capital District with notes attached for anyone who is cold and in need of warmth and some love to take what they need.
Now she has started a scarf using a tweed, two tone Cascade wool. It isn't machine washable but how often does one need to wash a scarf that is worn over a coat collar?
 The evening ladies admired their finished items too. Carole finished her Palindrome using a Cascade Heather yarn in a denim blue. And Beth used a CRAZY tweed yarn for a Mistake Stitch scarf. It is so colorful that you can't help but smile when you see it.
 Carole also delivered a scarf she made a while back. She took a class to learn this technique and found that she wasn't getting to use the scarf so she wanted to be sure someone would benefit from her lovely knitting.
 Carole also added a pair of felted mittens to our inventory. Have you ever knitted a felted garment? It's a fun project and you won't believe how anything so large can become a normal size just by washing and agitating in hot water.
 This hat Carole started during our break is done in baby alpaca yarn. I wish you could feel this fiber through the computer. Just think soft clouds and you'll get an idea of how beautiful it is.
 By the end of the evening she was finished. Look at those vibrant colors too!
Beth showed us her Cameo shawl she finished for herself.  It was made using fingering/sock weight yarn and has such a beautiful drape to the fabric because of the size 5 needle she used.
 I was so impressed with the pattern, I bought one last night and started a shawl this afternoon using Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II sock yarn in Murphy's Favorite Pint and Champagne. 
Beth started a pair of mittens for donation and finished the first one to the cuff. But when she got to the hand portion of the pattern she needed a quiet room to concentrate and last night we were just too rowdy for complicated knitting.
 Dorah's Noro Stripe Scarf has grown since we last saw it.
 And Maureen started a new project because the hat she was working on when we last met decided to demand more of her attention than she could offer when we're all together.
 I finished two scarves. The one on the left was a WIP we received in one of our donations of yarn. I had to fiddle with a couple of different size needles to find a gauge that matched what had been started. The yarn is a cotton and rayon blend in a nubby ply which gives it an interesting texture. The scarf on the right is the Mistake Stitch that was started before the break.
 I am almost finished with a keyhole scarf I started last week. The yarn did not have a label but I think it's a Noro yarn, possibly Silk Garden. Every now and then I have to pick out organic matter so the wearer doesn't get splinters but otherwise the yarn is very soft and the colors are gorgeous.
By next week I should have enough knitted on my Cameo to show you my progress. Have a great week and keep your needles clicking!