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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How many Chicks does it take?

We Chicks have recently received two large bags full of yarn donated by a couple of friends. The selections are beautiful and we can't wait to get our hands on them. Some of them require rolling into skeins from hanks before we can start knitting. Elaine felt inspired to use a pretty peach mohair and wool blend worsted weight and I suggested that she let me roll the skein with our winder instead of her having to do it all alone by hand. All I can say is it's a good thing we all chipped in and helped! It took all five of us to sort out the knots and twists of the hank!
It started out with just a little overlap but we figured out how to unwrap and overlap and eventually we were on a roll. Or so we thought.
Kathleen, Sheila, Elaine, and Barb were handling it well, so I decided I would be designated photographer and ball winder. It looked like it was under control. It took about 30 minutes to unwind the hank and rewind two and a half balls of yarn and then we all let out a cheer!
It's a good thing that doesn't happen often and that we can knit our way back to tranquility.

Kathleen finished a top down cardigan and matching hat....

AND a pair of mittens! She's a pro!

Maureen is in the homestretch of her reversible stripes scarf and I went "dumpster diving" into my stash and picked up some mohair boucle' to make a shawl.
And now we all would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity! God bless you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a wrap!

These are just three of the lovely staff at New York Oncology and Hematology Office in Albany, New York where we made today's donation. From left to right are:
Kathy Hale, Practice Manager, Ceil Mack, PR and Marketing,
and Kathe Morano R.N. Nurse Supervisor.
Barbara, Maureen and I were warmly welcomed by these wonderful ladies as we delivered a total of 72 items, including fleece wraps, scarves, shawls and hats. If you have been following our blog you will have seen some of those items being made.

I want to take this moment to thank my Chicks for doing a wonderful job all year long to keep those people in need mindful of the fact that someone out here cares for them. With every stitch we knit goes out a kind thought for it's recipient and a prayer for their well being.

And a great big hug to my Chicks as we finish out the year 2009 with a total of 270 items knitted or sewn and donated, giving us a grand total since we started in August of 2005 of
904 items!!! Way to go ladies!!! God bless you for your kind and generous hearts!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ready to Deliver

We Chicks have finished and collected all the scarves, shawls, hats,etc. and will be delivering them on Monday. Today's post will show the last few items that will be going into Monday's collection.
Below is a photo of the scarf I knitted from a heavenly soft blend of pure silk and merino wool. It's a lace weight yarn from New Zealand and the finished size measured 66" X 7".
I tried linking the pattern for you but it seems the site from where I printed it no longer has it available. I'm sure if you own a knitting pattern book you will be able to find a similar pattern to try for yourself. This scarf started by casting on 41 stitches and knitting a 3 row garter stitch band at the beginning and ending edges. It is very soft and drapes so nicely.
Sheila is working on learning her casting on and knitting stitches. We are all seeing an improvement in the tension of her stitches. And the edges are straight. No more sailboat sails! LOL!(inside joke)
Elaine started a pair of slippers for a Christmas gift and Barbara started a baby cap with the softest peach yarn. Really pretty.
Maureen found the perfect buttons to finish off her Country Rows shawl for Monday's delivery and connected them to the shawl with a twisted cord. This way the wearer has the option of buttons or no buttons.
I tried one more time to get the lace scarf pattern and success! Here goes:
Have fun knitting!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Down to the Wire and Counting

We're getting down to the wire with our current project of scarves and shawls for cancer survivors. The Chicks spent the afternoon attaching our labels to everything.
Kathleen worked on a pair of mittens for the inventory.
Sheila and Barbara strung the labels and attached them to items while we swapped stories about our Thanksgiving dinners with our families.
Elaine and Karen made sure the laundering instructions were clearly written out for the recipients of our handiworks.
The evening gathering was in charge of sorting and counting the collection. Judy and Joyce tallied 22 fleece wraps, 19 shawls, 24 scarves, a pair of fingerless mitts, 2 hats, and 1 lap robe.
We still have some items in the process of finishing up, so our final total will increase by a few more before they go to NY Oncology and Hematology.

On the Thanksgiving front....while I was preparing our turkey breast for dinner my family noticed something very odd. You know that commercial for a credit card company that shows everyday items with faces, both happy and sad? Well, you just tell me if this doesn't look like one pitiful turkey face after a barroom brawl!
After dinner we worked off the stuffing with a few songs from the new Beatles Rock Band game. Moose loves playing instruments and kept perfect time on the drums.
He loves playing guitar too but he dances around so much it's hard to get a photo of him that's not blurry! He asked for a guitar for Christmas so we'll have to wait to see if Santa brings him one. You never know....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tenzing Norgay where are you when I need you?

Today was my appointment for my annual mammogram. It's bad enough that those machines smash the "girls" so flat that they can now be buckled into my pants. But to add insult to injury I had to hike Mt. Everest to get to the new mammography department! St. Peter's Hospital in Albany is undergoing extensive renovations and, as with many hospitals that start out small, the additions have made for very unusual trails through corridors and up elevators and around corners. I haven't been to the St. Pete's parking lot in over a year and a lot has changed since my last visit. The new entrance to the new parking garage kind of threw me off course right away. I found my way up to the third level to park and started the trek to the building. Had I known it was going to be such a long walk I would have worn my walking sneakers, but NOOOOO! I had to go and wear my high heeled booties (or shooties, or whatever they are called). Keeping in mind I left my house 35 minutes before my appointment, I had only five minutes left to get there on time. Most of the time so far was taken up trying to find a parking space. Anyway, getting back to the hike....I made it to the main entrance of the building and the nice lady at the information desk gave me a map to my appointment. Uh-oh! Is it so far that I need a map to find it?! And then she told me about the two elevator rides I need to take. TWO elevators? Oy! I can see already this isn't going to be a short walk. And those boots!!! I walked the length of the front of the building to the first elevator and rode up one floor with two sweet little older ladies, one who was obviously having trouble walking even with her cane. When the door opened I could see a very small sign that read "Elevator M" so I turned down that hall thinking it's right there. Wrong! I walked at least four more miles to the "M" elevator and then had to ride up to the third floor. Ok! Almost there people! Nope! Wrong again! Little signs posted on the wall pointed me around the bend and down a looooooong corridor another four miles, or at least it seemed that way in those boots! I started to wish I had brought some bread crumbs with me because it was obvious that this wasn't going to be a quick or easy exit. Finally I arrived at my destination, as did the two little old ladies with me. Lady with the cane got to the desk first and I heard the receptionist tell her "No ma'am, I'm sorry it's one floor down from here." Oh no! That poor woman now had to walk all the way back to the elevators and go back down a floor! My heart broke for her. But I was in the right place and thank God the "girls" are fine, a little lower, but fine just the same.

Remind someone you love to go for their mammogram or go get one yourself. So what if the "girls" droop a little. Victoria's Secret has the solution.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Whole Lotta Knittn' Goin' On!

Let's start off showing you a little shawl I just finished. It's a pattern I found on
I used Crystal Palace Mini Mochi yarn, a merino wool and nylon blend sock weight yarn, which was heavenly to use! It's so soft and the drape is beautiful. The long color changes make a nice striping effect. The pattern was very easy since it's a stockinette stitch broken up by a garter ridge here and there. The saw tooth edge lace is knitted onto the final row of the shawl by knitting the last stitch of the edging together with one stitch from the shawl edge.
This next project is already off the needles but not yet blocked. I used a baby alpaca and silk blend yarn that was left over from my clapotis from a year ago. I found these neat black buttons to make this short scarf fit like a cowl. When the blocking is done and the buttons are on I'll post another photo.
Kathleen finished yet ANOTHER scarf for our cancer survivors project. It's the Shale Pleated Scarf from WEBS.

I wonder if you can see smoke coming off Kathleen's knitting needles when she works. She sure produces a lot of beautiful, finished items!

Barbara is working on a Country Rows shawl which is a pattern I threw together when I was playing around with some solid rose colored yarn.
Sheila is our newest Chick and she is in the first stages of learning how to knit. She's working on casting on stitches and knitting. Purling will come later. Sheila is a good student and has the patience of a saint! God bless you Sheila! You're doing great!

Now on to the mind blowing portion of our post today. Here is the Reversible Stripes Scarf. No, you are not seeing things and yes, this is one scarf - both sides! The stripes run horizontally on one side and vertically on the other. How does that happen, you say? It's all due to a clever little play of slipping stitches. I love working on this scarf. But it's taking forever because I keep stopping to turn it over and over to see the stripes! LOL!
Kathleen started one using a fuzzy yarn and got this far when she decided that maybe the yarn is not the best one to use for this particular pattern. But it does look very nice.
Judy is making a reversible stripes scarf with two shades of green and it's coming along famously!
Here's side one, vertical.....
And here's side two, horizontal! WOW!
Joyce is making a reversible too but not when we're all talking and laughing. It does require just a little bit of concentration. Here she is working on a lovely, soft basic triangular shawl.
Maureen is working on a Country Rows shawl too. The pretty sage green yarn will be so tranquil and comforting to wear.
Well, I have to work on my Thanksgiving menu and make out a grocery list. I already have my grandmother's homemade escarole soup done and in the freezer so there is one less thing I have to prepare on Thursday. I also have the ingredients to make my Spinach Parmesan Balls, or green balls as my kids used to call them, so I can get those in the freezer too. I'm looking forward to having a houseful of company for the weekend and hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with the warmth and love of family.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party Time! And the last day of Moose's Visit

DH won a silent auction bid at a charity event recently. The prize was a limo ride anywhere in the Capital District of Albany, NY and a cocktail party for 10 at the Century House
in Latham. We could fit only 8 in the limo so Justin and Matt had to meet us there. Sorry guys!

Being the country goobers that we are, we had to take photos of the inside of the limo. Too bad I didn't know it was stocked with ice and crystal. I would have brought along something to drink

Looking like deer caught in the headlights, we all pose for the camera! From left to right are: me, Maureen's husband Paul, Maureen, Marge and her husband Ross.
Ron and Andrew sat in the "Big Shots" seat.
Once at the Century House we had plenty to eat. And right in the middle between Andrew and me are Matt and Justin....Hi Guys! I guess you won't make fun of Andrew's photos showing up on my blog anymore, huh? LOL!

The last day of Moose and Manda's visit we had fresh bagels for breakfast and Moose gobbled them up.

Talk about a "cheesy smile"! He really liked that bagel.
All too soon the week of Moose's visit was over and we had to drive them back home. I guess the visit really wore him out.
But the whole gang will be back for Thanksgiving and we'll have a lot of thanking to do.
Wishing you and all yours the most wonderful Thanksgiving and continued good blessings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

November 17th is my mother's birthday. I don't think she would mind my telling you how old she is but let's just say she looks terrific for someone in her 80's! She was a precious and precocious three year old in this photo. And those cheeks! What a cutie pie! I wonder if my grandmother knitted that hat and sweater for her...
Mom studied fashion design at MacDowell in Manhattan and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked a few years before she got married. She specialized in wedding gowns at Fara's House of Design in White Plains, NY. She designed her own wedding and bridesmaids gowns.
When she retired from full time work to raise a family she used her wonderful talents to make school clothes for my sister and me. We always had such a beautiful wardrobe because she would improvise on patterns to make them her own. And Halloween had to be her favorite holiday of the year. She would start planning our costumes months in advance and make unique costumes like the handpainted butterfly wings that spanned about four feet across or the Cleopatra dress with a fully sequinned collar and "golden" headress. Every year my sister and I would look forward to seeing what character we would get to portray.
I am thankful to have a mom with so many talents and blessed that she taught some to me.
Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Munchkins and Visits with Moose

Eli Manning, aka Moose, came to visit me for Halloween this year. He enjoyed trick or treating in the rain and refused to use an umbrella. He's a tough guy!
Even Daddy Phil and Mommy Amanda dressed for the occasion.
After collecting his stash of candy Moose, I mean Eli tried to eat everything. It's hard to teach portion control to a two and a half year old!
Elaine's granddaughter Alex made a cute chicken.
I guess laying eggs is an exhausting ordeal!
Judy's granddaughter Storey made a cute, yummy cupcake...
and her grandson, Calvin was a courageous knight!
Joyce's granddaughter Ellie seems to be having trouble with her knitting. I think she's wondering how will she ever get through her stash!
In October Moose stopped by Uncle Drew's office for a lunchtime visit.

I wonder what's so interesting under here.

Let's send an email to someone.

After lunch we stopped by the carousel at the New York State Museum for a quick ride.
Last night we took Moose to see the Wiggles at the Palace Theater in Albany.
Moose is looking through the program for his favorite Wiggle, Anthony. He even wore his "Anthony" shirt just for the show.
It was a really cute and very entertaining show. Even Poppop liked it!
Moose danced and clapped for everyone.

And Poppop bought a Wiggles hat for Moose to remember the fun we had at the show.
We had a great time and sang songs all the way home.