Archive for April, 2012

Counting…one two three…

April 25, 2012

It’s not like I don’t have row counters for my knitting projects.  I do.  But for a while now I have been intrigued by the bracelet/ abacus row counters that I’ve seen around.  There are different styles, like the ablet, or the ring marker type, like here or here.

Then I found a tutorial to make them.  And I haven’t done any beading for a long time.  So I dug out my beads and tools and got to work.

The concept is simple.  The tens are on one row.

And the ones are on another.

The big bead shows which end you start from.

There’s a stretchy little ring that you slide the beads through as you count the rows.  You slide one of the small beads across to the end as you finish each row.  After you slide the nine little beads across, for the next row you slide one of the big “ten” beads across and return the little ones to the beginning.

This shows 14 rows done:

This shows 56:

And it’s easily kept on the wrist, accessible yet out of the way while knitting, and it’s not just put down and lost.

This bracelet, according to the tutorial,  goes to 99.  Actually, since I put 10 “tens” on, it goes to 109.  So somebody’s math is off.  But I really don’t think it matters.  As long as it works.

I’m so pleased with the way this turned out!

Kidlet wanted to swipe it just to wear as a bracelet…

Sorry, kiddo, no way.

I may well make more of these, experiment a bit with bead combinations.  They may even make their way to Etsy.  Or at least to the Yarn & Falafel gathering next month.  ‘Twas fun to work with beads again.

One more addition to the knitting notions collection!


I Never Saw Another Butterfly

April 19, 2012

Today is Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagvurah.  Memorial Day of the Holocaust and the Heroism.  Last night torches were lit by survivors of the camps.  A siren sounds all over the country for a moment of silence.  Services are held, lessons are taught, programs about the Holocaust and about WWII are shown throughout the day.   Stories are told, although each year, each month, each week, each day, the number of those who can tell their personal stories grows smaller.   Hundreds of teens and adults have flown to Poland to take part in the March of the Living at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

And I am knitting butterflies.

The Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas is creating an exhibition for Spring of 2014 called The Butterfly Project, in memory of the 1,500,000 children who perished in the Holocaust.  Butterflies because of a poem written by a young man which became the basis for a book of art and poetry by children in the concentration camp Terezin, as well as the basis for a one-act play by Celeste Raspanti.

“Children were neither just the mute and traumatized witnesses to this war, nor merely its innocent victims;  the war invaded their imaginations and the war raged inside them.”

— Nicholas Stargardtin “Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis”

The museum has called for people to create as many handmade arts-and-crafts butterflies as possible. This project may be completed by all ages as individuals or groups.


  • Butterflies should be no larger than 8 inches by 10 inches.
  • Butterflies may be of any medium the artist chooses, but two-dimensional submissions are preferred.
  • Glitter and all glitter-related products should not be used.
  • Food products (cereal, macaroni, candy, marshmallows or other perishables) also should not be used.
  • If possible, e-mail a photograph of your butterflies, to

Deadline for submitting butterflies is 31 December, 2012, so there’s lots of time if you want to take part.  Many more details on the Project site, including mailing information, teaching activities, more answers.

As of today, more than 900,000 handmade butterflies have been collected.

I’m using a butterfly pattern by Rebecca from her blog ChemKnits.   She told me on Rav that she actually acted in the play in middle school, which I didn’t know when I chose the pattern.  It’s meant to be a stuffed toy, but I’m leaving the stuffing out to make it more two-dimensional.  I’m knitting them in cotton, with smaller-than-called-for needles, to make them firmer.

The Butterfly

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone….

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942

 Born in Prague on Jan. 7, 1921.
 Deported to the Terezin Concentration Camp on April 26, 1942. 
 Died in Aushchwitz on Sept. 29, 1944.

Flowers, flowers, flowers

April 18, 2012

The last weekend of the vacation we managed to go to the Haifa International Flower Exhibition – billed as the largest flower exhibition to ever take place in Israel.  The flower show has been a long-standing tradition in Haifa. It was held annually for 25 years until 1993, when it closed its doors.  This year it was back.   We avoided going at the beginning, it was so crowded the lines were hours long and people weren’t even getting in to see anything.  By the end of the holiday, it was much less crowded.

The whole thing covered about 30 acres in a park along the sea, so I made a firm decision to simply ignore my hip.  Other than a few times when I had to find a place to sit down for a while, it wasn’t too bad.

There were nine huge dome tents, each with a different “Flower World”.

(They look deceptively small…but very large inside.  Perhaps they’re related to the tents at the World Quiddich Cup.)

Over half a million flowers made up the worlds, including Paris Boulevard with rows of many little shops and cafés, among them:

as well as a hippie bug (car, that is)

Hanging Gardens

The domes were entered through dark tunnels:

Wild World, Fantasy Land, Never land, one world after another…

All with amazing displays

Some of the domes were entirely in the dark, with the only lighting on the flowers

In the Senses World, there were little pods hung from the ceiling, and people waited in lines to go inside each little pod to be totally surrounded by flowers.

But basically, all gimmicks and fuss aside,  it was about the beauty of flowers.

Outside the domes there was plenty to entertain, including large displays of topiary, staff in costumes, food (of course), shops…

The lawns also held flower formations, and lots of comfy seating

I plopped myself down on one of these…but the hip protested, and I had the devil of a time struggling up out of it…  Luckily, no pictures of that.

Transportation was very efficient, parking was a good distance away and shuttle buses were very organized and very frequent.  Didn’t even have much time to knit.

We finished the day off with a meal at a favourite restaurant.  It was a lovely day!

Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have tried to knit at all.  The next day when I picked up the project to continue, I found a dropped stitch.  Quickly picked it up through a few rows, and there was a big loop left – and I have no idea how on earth I did that!

Tried tightening the loop through the next stitches, considered weaving the loop in and tacking it down, but with such fine lace I know it would not look good.  No other choice but to tink back a round.  Or two.  Whatever is necessary.    Which I’m doing, but each round is 430 stitches.   This does not make me happy.

Better to think about the flowers.

Body art. aka Ow!

April 12, 2012

I may have mentioned at one point or another that Kidlet has wanted a tattoo for a long time.   Like, since she was five.   Seriously,  she begged for a tattoo of an eagle on her stomach for her fifth birthday. The temporary ink things for kids just wouldn’t do.   Obviously, she didn’t get it.

By the time she was 12 it had turned into a weekly battle, her wanting all kinds of tats and me saying not yet.   “Saying” implies calm discourse, when in actuality it often escalated into shouting and crying and it was all pretty exhausting.   I tried to explain that at the rate her likes and dislikes were changing drastically, she would undoubtedly regret whatever she got this early.  After a year of this, to get a little peace, I told her that if she waited until age 16, I would go with her and we would both get one.  Finally something that shut her up!

Of course, I knew that the day would come when I would have to keep this promise.  So be it.

When she turned 16, such excitement!!  But she had a hard time deciding what tattoo she wanted. She started gathering ideas, but couldn’t decide. I told her she had to be sure, that I would wait, and she took it very seriously.   I told her I still had veto power on what, where, and how big.  It wasn’t a problem for me, I knew right away what I would get.

Now she’s 17 and a bit….and definitely decided on a feather on her shoulder.  So… since she’s home for the holiday, we made an appointment.  At the beginning of the vacation, we went for a consultation first (also so I could check out the place and the woman’s credentials, etc…)  And today was the day.

Kidlet went first.  The design was inked on, and the woman began.  Kidlet was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t hurt as much as she thought it would.  But as time and the work went on, it was a little harder.

When I wasn’t jumping up every time she called me to take another picture, I managed to get some knitting done.   Nervous energy?  Except when I popped out to a pharmacy to get the ointment the woman recommended.

Finally,  Kidlet had the tattoo she so desperately wanted!

Then it was my turn.  Eep.

We had discussed my design, and she felt it was too detailed unless I wanted a really big tattoo.  Um…no.  So we simplified some of it.  And she felt that I shouldn’t get it all in purple, because purple fades faster than most of the other colours.  I asked how long it would last – and when she told me I realised that yes, I may need to get it touched up.   When I reach 80….if I still care.  So I stuck with the purple.

I figured that I could knit while she worked on me, and earlier I practiced knitting without moving one arm at all – I thought how fortunate I’m a thrower and not a picker, I can keep my left arm still.  But – no such luck.  Since I wanted my tat in front, I had to lie down so she could work on me.  Well, piffle.  So I sadly put the knitting away.

OK, it didn’t hurt a LOT….but it did hurt.  Maybe because of the location.  Maybe because of my age?  I know I bled much more than Kidlet did.   I was also cold in there, and shivered some, which didn’t help.  After what seemed like an eternity, it was done.

I am now a tattooed woman.

Until our designs heal and the skin can take pressure/friction, Kidlet is better off – all she needs to do is put her bra straps in an X across the back.  I need a strapless.  Which I don’t have.  So I’m improvising.   Didn’t think about that.  Oops.

Partner is very upset with us, as she hates tattoos, both aesthetically and healthwise.  Upset mostly with me for allowing it.  And while I understand her concerns,  I think my decision was ok.  Kidlet is certainly thrilled.

I think I’m really going to like my tat.  When it stops being sore.

So who else has tattoos?  Or wants one?  What are the pros and cons for you?

Pesach Pursuits and Puzzles

April 9, 2012

Mid-holiday, and I’ve taken a day off from work to actually spend time at home with kidlet.  Just finished a snack of PBJ on matzah while she had a meal.  While I like to cook, Pesach is usually not too fancy, except for the Seder.

Preparations weren’t too bad.  Although the catbeast got a little confused.  I guess she doesn’t remember the fuss from one year to the next.  She was quite intrigued with me covering up kitchen surfaces and switching the plates and utensils – she really got in the way, jumping up and poking her nose in while I was trying to work.  I kept dumping her back onto the floor out of the way. Also tried putting her on top of the fridge  so she could still see what was going on, but evidently that wasn’t acceptable to her majesty.

She finally found a vantage point from which to observe everything closely without being tossed.

The Seder was lovely, with the magical number of 13 people at the table.

It was a fun and jumbled mix of traditions, given that those around the table came from mostly Russian, Polish, Swedish, Greek and Moroccan backgrounds.   And it seems that every region has its own version of Haroset – I’m finding that while there is only one that really says to me  “Pesach at home”, I love all the different varieties!   My mother made hers with walnuts, apples, and wine.  This year’s was made with dates and almonds.

(Before getting started…)

Unfortunately, later that night Partner started feeling ill – after we all got home – and she has been in bed with a fever since, so Kidlet and I are on our own to gallivant around.

Very odd incident yesterday.  Took Kidlet to the mall to exchange one of her Pesach gifts.  Lovely blouse from one of the relatives, but not her style at all.  We managed to get two shirts for her in exchange for the one.  Then we went to one of our favourite cafés to grab a bite.  I ordered a small salad, kid went for soup.  The waitress brought the food, fine.  Kidlet found she didn’t like the soup, so we called over the waitress, she took the soup away, and kidlet ordered something else.  (I really hate to be a difficult patron, but hey, we’re paying for it, we want it to be something we enjoy…)  The manager came to make sure that we were pleased, everybody happy.

Then, when we were halfway finished, the waitress came back.  With another salad.  She said I had been given the wrong size salad, so she brought me what I had ordered.  And took the halfway eaten salad away!  Wait, what?!   I was dumbfounded.  I could not figure out how this made any sense whatsoever.  Why bring me an entirely new plate of food when I had already eaten half of the old plate and was quite happy with it?  Isn’t that a terrible waste??  So she brought me the wrong size salad, so?  Charge me for what I ordered, and leave me alone.  Why bring another whole plate, and have to throw away the old one?  I am still baffled. Can anyone explain the logic of this to me?

Then when they brought the bill, I found they had charged me for Kidlet’s meal, one salad, and the soup we sent back.  I objected, the manager admonished the waitress, and they agreed to take half the price of the soup off the bill.  Good grief.  I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to argue more.

Well, at least they didn’t charge me for two salads.

Rhapsody Revised…

April 6, 2012

One more WIP down!  Finished the In the Navy criss cross scarf this week, with the lovely marine silk yarn from Steven.  It had been another casualty of the deadline and gift knitting that pushed all other WIPs aside.  But now it’s done!

Yes, the asymmetry is intentional.  I knit to the very end of the yarn, didn’t want to waste a bit.  This is what I had left after binding off:

(Sometimes one must live dangerously…)

It’s so soft and warm.

I wish I could wear it to the Seder tonight, but it’s much too warm out now.  Just taking the picture in it made me sweat!  Besides, kidlet and partner surprised me with a new shirt after their latest shopping trip, and I’m wearing that tonight.  (It’s purple…what else?)

So we’re off to feast and sing with the family!  The kitchen has been switched to the Pesach collection.  Not all the house cleaning has been finished, but never mind.

And just to laugh:

Have a wonderful holiday!