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knitting from generation to generation…

Today at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival I took a class from the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McFee, ¬†called “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency”. We studied¬†various ways of knitting and strategies¬†to maximize the efficiency of each.¬†First, Stephaine suggests¬†that there are only two kinds of knitters…. wait for it… think what they might be…



… those who knit for money and those who don’t. (Well what did YOU think the two kinds were? Leave your answer in the comments, I’m curious.) ¬†So of these two types, to whom¬†should¬†we look to for excellent models of speed and efficiency? Hmmm… Seems most logical¬†to look to the knitters whose livelihoods depend on speed, efficiency and the ability to continue to knit without destroying their bodies¬†from repetitive strain injury…


Stephanie then describes three main types of knitting: picking, throwing and lever knitting and the strengths and drawbacks of each style. Then we delved into the magical world of lever knitting, a technique that is the least used and most promising for efficiency-seekers. These are techniques used by our knitting predecessors who carried their knitting work throughout the day, completing an enviable volume of garments.


So we learn from generations past to enrich our practice today.


Aunt Gloria was my Grandma Julie’s sister.¬†When Aunt Gloria died I inherited her colorful collection of metal knitting needles as neither of her daughters was a knitter. I’ve grown my collection of more modern needles, so I don’t use the long straight needles very often. They live in a beautiful jar created by my friend Melissa, and¬†I have¬†used them¬†to teach many people to knit over the years. Well, guess what you need to use for lever knitting? Long, straight needles.

A few weeks ago, my cousin Rochelle mentioned she was missing her mom. and that a hand-knit item made using those needles would feel like her mother’s embrace. So you see where I’m going with this?


Tonight I cast on a project using lever knitting, a technique from the generations, to knit a scarf for my cousin with¬†her mother’s knitting needles. Thanks to Stephanie for giving me new, old tools.


Lever knitting project for Cousin Rochelle on Aunt Gloria’s needles.

A photo posted by pamela grossman (@pamelamama) on

Armpit knitting is happening #nofilter #pajamas #progress #leverknitting

A photo posted by pamela grossman (@pamelamama) on

The Legacy Of Lloyd (a work in progress)

In honor of my dad’s birthday, which was yesterday, I bring you a re-post of “The Legacy Of Lloyd”. This is a compilation of my dad’s wisdom. I think some additions have been made since its last posting. If you Lloyd Fans think of any that I have forgotten, please let me know so I can update the Master Document.

Happy Birthday, Dad. You bring wisdom to all you encounter, and your breakfasts are filled with so much love.

The Legacy of Lloyd

(A Work In Progress)

1.      Always ask for the person’s name.

2.      Always pay your credit card bills in full – otherwise it’s just crazy.

3.      Avoid big doors when parking in the lot.

4.      Be alert, you may have to rescue things from the trash.

5.      Being nice to people pays off.

6.      Bring something for the kids.  Like candy.

7.      Carry your insurance card in your wallet.  Unfortunately, one day you’ll need it… that’s why there’s insurance.

8.      Concentrate on the road, don’t be preoccupied with where you are going.

9.      Don’t fill up on bread.

10.  Don’t use felt tip marker on the outside of an envelope (especially if rain is in the forecast).

11.  Erase completely.

12.  Everything has its own place.

13.  Folding boats and paper balloons is great fun.

14.  Go out to the driveway and wave goodbye.

15.  How to balance a check book.

16.  How to drive.

17.  How to hold a prayer book.

18.  How to play sports.

19.  How to use a highlighter.

20.  How and when to use a ruler.

21.  If it is worth doing something at all, it is worth doing it right.

22.  If someone you love wants something, bring it to them.  That makes them happy.

23.  If you are going on vacation, put your lights on timers and hide the jewelry.

24.  If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

25.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.

26.  It doesn’t matter how you dance, as long as you have fun.

27.  It feels great when someone brings you a little present.

28.  It’s always nice to have a good pen.

29.  Leave plenty of time to get to the airport.

30.  Make a copy of whatever you send… it’s important to keep a record.

31.  Make neat piles of things.

32.  No reason to answer the phone if it might be an… undesirable caller.

33.  Park on the end, if you can.

34.  Pay the toll for your family members behind you.

35.  Pin your socks together!

36.  Plan ahead.

37.  Plan to sit on the side of the bus where the sun won’t hit you.

38.  Put some of your money in savings.  Even just a little bit.

39.  Put your stamp on straight

40.  Sandwiches made by someone else taste better.

41.  Save the cartons!

42.  Save your receipts.

43.  Say thank you whenever someone does something for you, even if they had to do it.

44.  Separate your photo doubles before showing them to others.

45.  Slow down before the turn.

46.  Stack from the back, to avoid re-stacking.

47.  Take good care of your stuff and then it will last forever… but, if you lend it to your kids, forget it.

48.  Tape things off radio and TV for future enjoyment.

49.  Tennis is a good social sport.

50.  There is no reason to get a new dishwasher if you can fix the old one and it works just fine.

51.  Treat other people’s children the way you want others to treat your children.

52.  Use a letter opener.

53.  Use a sharp pencil.

54.  Use coupons.

55.  Use different color markers to encode things.

56.  When people like you, they are nice to your children.

57.  You can park in any spot as long as you go slowly.

58.  You can write the color of your suit/socks on the hanger to avoid confusion and possible embarrassment.

59.  Don’t use your car as a table.

60.  If you want to get mail, you have to send mail.

61.  Even a single dollar is a special present because it shows someone is thinking of you.

62.¬† Put your car keys right next to the stuff you don’t want to forget.¬† For example, put your car keys in the fridge with the special lunch you packed.

63.  Get your stuff ready to go the night before so in the morning you are all set.

64.  Do it now, because later you will forget.

65.  Post-it notes are helpful when you want to remember things.

66.  Write down the important details so you remember them.

66.  Your family is the most important thing there is.


all I want is what I have coming to me. all I want is my fair share.

This is what my brain hears when my child complains about the things he wants me to buy for him, the things his friends have and his awful deprivation. I say, “All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.” Then I laugh at him when he looks at me confused and agrees. Is that wrong? Honestly, even if it is wrong, I don’t think I’m gonna stop doing it.

At dinner tonight I showed my family the clip and read them the context. (Thank you imdb.) I’m still pretty sure they have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s probably for the best.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) (TV)

Sally: I’ve been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?
Charlie Brown: Well, I don’t have much time. I’m supposed to get down to the school auditorium to direct a Christmas play.
Sally: [hands a clipboard and pen to Charlie Brown] You write it and I’ll tell you what I want to say.
Charlie Brown: [sticks pen in his mouth] Okay, shoot.
Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer?
[Charlie Brown looks at her]
Sally: How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh brother.
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?
Charlie Brown: TENS AND TWENTIES? Oh, even my baby sister!
Sally: All I want is what I… I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

crafty Bar Mitzvah idea… need your vision

Hi anyone who still reads my blog! I’m not making any promises about keeping this thing updated, but I do have a project idea and¬†I need some help developing it.

So, my 12 year old will be Bar Mitzvah’d in September of this year. (Oh my goodness!) I got an idea for a sort of living community craft project/art installation. See what you think…

Suppose I asked all my knitting/crocheting/crafting friends to make one or two kippot of any design made from yarn/material in your stash? (Kippot are essentially¬†the little head-coverings worn by Jews for religious observance.) Then I’d ask people to label them with their name and¬†where they are from. At the Bar Mitzvah¬†I would create a display of these¬†and people could pick one to wear for the event. It’s sort of like a functional art¬†installation. ¬†

But the idea isn’t quite there yet, because I want it to serve some greater social justice purpose. How can I make it a mitzvah project, an opportunity to do good in the world? Any ideas?

The idea of using people’s stash materials to do this matches with Sam’s Bar Mitzvah theme of environmental stewardship (reuse! recycle!) but I was hoping to take it a little further and do good as well as creating beauty.

Thoughts? And just to take a poll, would you be willing to knit/crochet/otherwise crochet a kippah out of any pattern you desire and send it to me for Sam’s special event? They are pretty small. 🙂

no screens

Kids are going on week three? or four? of No Screens During the Week. That means M-F – all school days – there is no TV, Video Games or¬†Computer allowed. They seemed to have gotten used to it, then there was a little meltdown, and today more crying about it. I said, “But you’re doing so well in school with this change,” to which Sam replied, “I don’t care about doing well in school!!” Boo hoo.¬†Sam then said, “I will not clean my room until we get screens back!” I replied, “Fine, I won’t feed you!!! ”

Mother Of The YEAR!

The freakouts seem to happen at transitional times and at bedtime. They fussed all the way home in the car but now they are happy and busy in the garage playing with a friend, doing a variety of construction projects and riding bikes.

If I can keep from letting their complaining get under my skin, things may just be ok.

In other news, decisions about Sam’s middle school trajectory are freaking me out and Eli has no idea why he went from being Haman (main charachter/villain)¬†in his class’s Purim skit to Guard #2. Hmmm….

YouTube – Eli Toots

YouTube – Eli Toots.

sam plays flutophone

I guess these days they call it a “recorder” right?

That work?

minimalist update

-yesterday i made delicious biscotti

-today I scanned over 100 pages of student writing. a couple might have gone in upside down, but it was all or nothing.

-i left my ukulele on the kitchen counter so I might play it for the first time in months. It worked!

-Sam is on a three night camping overnight with his class. I hope he is having fun. quiet in the house without him. also, he has size nine feet. mens.

-i am too tired for punctuation

– i read Cutting For Stone – well, I listened on audiobook. Good book, great characters.

-tomorrow my class is having a giant presentation to celebrate the end of our unit of study. exciting!

-i have had a cough keeping me up at night for over a week.

– writing report cards!

-enjoyed Go Dog Go at SCT


enjoy this minimalist update.

Problem Solved?

Bar Mitzvah Studies Take to the Web –

I found this article today about online tutoring for Bar Mitzvah studies. We’re looking at under two years until we¬†hope to celebrate Sam’s. (Really??) What to do, for a family who is not affiliated with a synagogue? There has never been a synagogue experience that clicked for our family. So this article has some ideas that we can explore as we stand firmly outside the box and get the brainstorming engine fired up.

Anyone have any alternative B’nai Mitzvah stories to share?

scott made a fabulous sledding video