Saturday, November 04, 2017

We Did It! Making a Blanket Statement at Catskill Conf

About a month ago I posted the instructions for participating in the Blanket Statement project that I was leading at Catskill Conf.

I am proud of what we accomplished.

Over a dozen knitters contributed to the project either by learning to knit and/or by completing blocks.

Thank you to: Sarah, Tiana, Milo, Carla, Joanna, Sabrina, Alyse, Jasper, Joe, Oliver, Kelly, Mandy and anyone whose name I many have missed!

Here is the completed blanket  (displayed on my son's bed atop his elephant comforter).

Note the leaves on one of the blocks.

Milo (the designer of the images used for Catskill Conf this year)  worked with me to put them in a form that could be worked into the blanket. I am absurdly happy at the way they came out.

This blanket will be sent along to Project Linus with the next batch that goes from my monthly blanket group.

Even after the conference the project continued. Over the last few weeks I've received blocks completed by not only conference participants but by Ashoken staff who wanted to participate off hours as well. These blocks and one more that just arrived, and any that may yet come in, will be incorporated into a second blanket being constructed out of the leftover yarn. I'm taking my time with that one so don't expect to see it finished until just before the next Catskill Conf.

If there are anymore blocks in progress out there, let me know and send them in! I am always working on blankets for Project Linus in conjunction with the Sanctuary Stitchers at Temple Shaaray Tefila. We can and will find a blanket for any and all blocks.

(Sanctuary Stitchers graciously contributed the burgundy yarn and its members have been knitting blankets for children in need for a dozen years.)

Finally, this is the blanket made from the leftovers from last year's Catskill Conf blanket.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Make a Blanket Statement at Catskills Conf

Looking forward to hearing and sharing all the great ideas at Catskill Conf?

Naturally fidgety?

Don’t want to be rude by: constantly checking your phone? Daydreaming? Doodling?

Want to be even more constructive while filling your head with interesting new ideas?  

Put needles (or hooks) and yarn in your hands and help us construct the second annual Catskill Conf blanket(s) for Project Linus.

The project will run in a few ways:

  1. Learn how to knit at Catskill Conf. I will be available before breakfast, during meals, during session breaks and as an alternative during the activity times. Caveat: I can only actively teach 2-3 newbies at a time -- but can do many over the course of the weekend.  Then, knit blocks during the conference.
  2. Or … Bring premade knit or crocheted 7 inch X 9 inch blocks. Our palette this year is woodsy colors … browns, oranges, greens and blues. Stuff that theoretically coordinates with the large amount of burgundy yarn that was gifted to me for this purpose.
  3. And / Or … knit the blocks during the conference.  There will be more than enough yarn available for a large blanket, as well as knitting needles (and a few crochet hooks), scissors and rulers. Feel free to bring your own supplies (size 7 or 8 needles or crochet hook H/I).

Materials (needles, hooks, yarn, rulers and scissors) will be available to borrow.

Blocks brought to the conference should be made in a worsted weight (medium weight) acrylic yarn using any pattern that makes you happy. A box or bag will be provided for depositing completed blocks.

As the blocks are finished, they will be joined into a blanket. Work in progress will be on display all weekend.

The completed blanket(s) will be donated to a Project Linus chapter for distribution. Any left over blocks will be added to those made by a Project Linus  group and incorporated into a blanket.

Last year we made one complete blanket which was donated to the NYC chapter of Project Linus. This year we want to complete 2 but that will require people making the blocks ahead of time and bringing them to the conference.

The block size is 7 X 9 (inches) or 9 X 7. Direction does not matter.

Thank you!

Devorah Zamansky

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fabulous Fourteen!

Happy Birthday, Little Squid! May all your math classes be sensible!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Eighteen pairs of socks: pair number 5 ... and another shawl

This is the busy season here ... concerts, proms, awards ... and, of course, knitting.

Saturday night Mike is taking me to his high school prom. My own was this past Friday and I am still recovering from the really late night followed by three early days. My body is no longer designed to gracefully handle a day on just 4 hours of sleep.

That said, the kids were wonderful, looked beautiful and handsome and acted like proper young adults. They made us proud to be their teachers.

On to the knitting ...

Butterfly Garden socks
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll in Springtime Tonal
Intended recipient ... it's a secret!

Also finished, Annis.
Yarn: my own handspun cotton which ranged between cobweb and lace weight in thickness.
Spun on a Bosworth book-size charka
Detail shot

Those nupps were rather annoying ...

On the needles: sock pair 6 and pair 7 and the Lazy Kate shawl in cobweb weight, handspun silk.

Tomorrow is the Arista induction at Little Squid's school so pair 6 just might get finished.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

100 Miles of Nowhere Somewhere

Consider this an early entry into Fat Cyclist's 100 Miles of Nowhere

East Harlem High School Division

I work in a true inner-city high school. One that, in a few short years, will cease to exist and will remain only in the memories of the staff and students who came through its doors.

Most of our students come from less than ideal, one might even say, crummy, circumstances. Many of them have only one parent at home. Others have none. Too many of my students need a hug when they come in each day, a pat on the back, a kind word. Too many of them start off life at a disadvantage and, by the time they reach us, catching up is hard to do.

I’ve heard people say that the students in my school can’t do it. That they can’t come back from years and years of lost time. That my students are going Nowhere.

This is what I pondered as I debated whether or not to take part in this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere. I know that the main purpose of the ride is to raise funds and awareness for cancer research but the idea of going Nowhere just resonated with me as a metaphor for what people say about the students I love.

Too many of my students have been told, repeatedly, that they are going Nowhere. That school is pointless because they are going Nowhere and that they should just give up. And too many of them do give up. Those that don’t, however … they wind up Somewhere. And their kids get a better chance in life.

It is tough working against so much ingrained negativity. But sometimes we get through to them. And when we get through, and the kid that was told they’d go Nowhere winds up Somewhere … well that’s when we realize that all the work was worth it. When the kid you were sure would drop out gives you a hug at graduation … well then you just have to wipe away the tears.

So, in the spirit of getting Somewhere while staying in the same place, I am dedicating my morning commute to my students. For 5.25 miles a day, most week days and a few Saturdays, from now until June 30th I promise to keep my mind on my kids (and a small part of it on the traffic around me) and do my best to figure out how to get them Somewhere. Because everyone deserves to be given the chance to go Somewhere.

Monday, May 16, 2011


"It was only a matter of time before I got doored."

I'd thought that only a day or two earlier.

Dooring, the act of a cyclist being hit by an opening car door, is a not unusual occurrence. Riding in and with traffic, an urban cyclist winds up passing hundreds of parked cars every day, thousands over the course of a year. Add to that all of the taxis that pull up into bike lanes or up near curbs to discharge passengers and it is kind of surprising that dooring does not happen more often.

Which is why I was not really surprised when it finally happened to me.

Riding home on Friday, I was negotiating my way south on a traffic-packed Ninth Avenue, picking my way between the cars and the left-hand curb (riding on the left is legal in NYC if the street is wider than 90 feet). This is my standard evening commute and I've done it probably close to a hundred times this academic year.

Somewhere around 45th Street (I really was not paying attention but I know I was south of 47th and north of 42nd) I slowly pedaled past a taxi at the corner of whatever street and Ninth Avenue. As traffic was crawling, I did not realize that the taxi was pulling over to discharge a passenger, as the curb lane is open to traffic at that time of day I thought that it was just another cab caught in traffic.

And then it happened.

The passenger opened her door without looking and caught the back of my bike.

In slow motion (or so it seemed), I fought to keep my balance and failed, falling with my bike toward the curb.

The passenger, it must be said, was apologetic and offered to help me up, staying a moment to make sure I was o.k. (I was).

Hauling myself and my bike onto the sidewalk, I rolled up my bike tights and checked the scrapes that I could feel starting to sting. Just a skinned knee and some really, really minor skin loss on my other shin. But boy they stung!

Nothing else appeared to be injured on my body though I knew that I'd caught myself with my left hand, so I expected a bruise or worse when I got back on the bike. Fortunately I was wrong.

Examining my trusty bicycle, I found the handlebars twisted this way and that and skewed on the stem. A quick application of my multi-tool put everything right and gave me a few moments to collect myself before reboarding and completing my commute.

Once at home I did a more through self-examination and put a couple of band-aids on my scrapes so they wouldn't rub against my jeans. No real damage done, though I could feel a nice bruise on my thigh and, just this morning, realized the my upper arm soreness was actually due to a handlebar shaped bruise.

Frankly, if I had to get doored, I'm glad that this is how it happened.

I was back on my bike the next day and even commuted in the rain today.

Didn't even lose my back blinky!