For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Mother of the Bat

Dear Ann,
Lest anyone think I’m hiding out in an AMC Pacer or something, a quick note to let you know what’s going ON up here. It’s HUGE.
haftorah2.jpg
Here’s a hint.
haftorah1.jpg
Here’s another.
Yes, it’s Carrie’s bat mitzvah, on the horizon. For those unfamiliar with Jewish-American life cycle rituals, this is when a girl turns 13 and gets up in front of several hundred members of her congregation and does a very difficult, very grown-up thing: she reads, musically, from various sacred texts including the Torah itself. The photos above were taken a few months ago when she was learning her “haftorah” portion. The haftorah is the starting line for today’s smartypants banot mitzvah. Ready, set, read backwards! Girl power!
Learning the haftorah was much more difficult for the Ancient Hebrews, who had only one color of highlighter.
I have been shy about blogging about this, despite its majorness, and I’m sure you can guess why: because I know what people are going to ask. They are going to ask:
“So, are you knitting several dozen Kippot like you said you would in Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines? Hmmm, are ya? Are ya?”
Um, no. Back in December, I sat myself down. I said to myself: keeping a Kippah Count going for the next 6 weeks or so is going to do your head IN. You do not need a Completely Unrealistic Epic Craft Project in your life at the present time. I listened to myself and, quite sensibly, ordered up some Perfectly Fine preprinted kippot, like all the mentally stable people do. The headlines read: “Queen of the Repetitive Multiples Abdicates.”
Then, about 2 weeks ago, in the whirl of something I’m terrible at (running a to-do list for a fambly celebration), I felt a gaping emptiness. What was it? What was bothering me?
The absence of a Completely Unrealistic Epic Craft Project in my life.
So, I’m folding a couple of hundred origami paper cranes. Give or take.
Paper cranes are the new knitting.
Also, just for funsies, on Saturday night, I cast on a little sparkly cardi for Carrie. I mean, how could this event go off without a handknit?
Suddenly life has meaning again.
Love,
Kay

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Congratulations to your daughter!

  2. What exciting news! Go, Carrie!
    Oh, and that highlighter comment made me do the snorty-laugh. Thanks :)

  3. YAAAAAAAAAAAAY Carrie!
    And greatly relieved to hear that there will be handknits.

  4. I also fall victim to the Unrealistic Epic Craft projects…I get all overwhelmed with creativity and think “Of course I can knit a log cabin afghan in 3 days…I have nothing else to do.” Oh, besides work, take care of 3 girls, a husband, 7 pets (don’t ask…) and on and on. Maybe we should start a support group? We could have shirts!!! :)

  5. Mazel tov (slightly in advance)! Having married into a Jewish family with no experience in my youth of bar/bat mitzvahing, I’m amazed at what these young adults can do up on the bima! Good thing our three-month-old already has Hebrew alphabet blocks – she’s going to need them. I should probably get some English ones too, now that I think about it.

  6. Excellent modelling of the setting of realistic goals for all of us in blog reading land who sometimes do feel that the real knitters are all wearing nothing but special edition hand knits all the time.
    Congratulations to Carrie.

  7. It will all be fantastic !
    Carrie will look stunning, which is probably very important, and will do fantastically.
    All the best to her, and you, for a wonderful bat mitzvah.
    xxx

  8. I hope you’ve got the double-sided sticky tape ready for someone’s kippah, mentioning no names. Or spray-mount. Or t*t-tape. Or possibly even superglue. x x x

  9. Go Carrie! Go Carrie! (Pumping both arms, palms up, in the air in a “raise the roof” motion).

  10. I thought my cantor was the only one with the mystifying color coding for the troupe–I guess not. I was never able to decipher it, instead relying heavily on the tape that he made for me, and would add to every week. That cantor rosen was such a cute little old man. And such patience teaching every kd in my humungous synagogue their Torah and haftorah portions
    go carrie go!!!

  11. You know, with her backwards reading skills, learning to read knitting charts is going to be a cinch!
    Paper cranes sound like an awesome idea. Can you enlist your knitting group or something to help out?
    Are you going to hire Merle Haggard for entertainment?

  12. yay carrie!

  13. Everything I know about Judaism comes from the Rabbi Small books. So is Mazel Tov appropriate here? Anyway, Go Carrie! And also, let’s see some pics of the sweater – it sounds pretty.

  14. Oh! So very exciting! The cranes — beautiful! And so perfect. Have a wonderful time.

  15. Mazel Tov on the impending Bat Mitzvah — all that color coding gave me a little chill, as my daughter just finished up her own color coded tutoring (sort of — her Bat Mitzvah got snowed out on December 19th and we are having a ‘do over’ in April…). I crocheted her a kippot to match her new tallis, but hauled up short on volunteering to knit dozens of them for the rest! I may be a crazy knitter but I’m not crazy, you know?

  16. I’m glad you’re being sensible and crazy at the same time! What are you using for the sparkly cardi?

  17. Kay and Ann, Thank you for the many frequent posts since the first of the year.
    Kay, when I read your post I tend to read between the lines and fill in the spaces about how you must miss your husband as your prepare for Carrie’s bat mitzvah. You inspire me with your courage and bravery. We had a crisis in my son’s family this January. My granddaughter will be baptized into their faith on her 8th birthday this spring. I have white Rowan cotton yarn purchased for her cardi. Time to find the pattern and cast on. I remember my mom, grandmas, and aunts busy sewing for family occasions. What a blessing we can mark the event with a handknit made with love.

  18. Congrats to Carrie! (And her family. We know how much family support matters for these big milestones.)
    Even though you decided not to knit a whole pile of them, do you have a favorite kippah pattern? I’ve tried a couple and have trouble achieving the perfect, shall we say, concavity.

  19. Oh thank goodness! It sounds like all is finally right in the world. Mazel tov!

  20. Congratulations to you and Carrie! What a wonderful event to celebrate and wear handknits to! I hope you will post a picture of her “performing” (and modeling her handknit). Goooooooooooo CARRIE! :o)

  21. I love the idea of an epic craft project, though one would think from my wip pile that pretty much everything is an epic craft project. Any suggestions?

  22. >>The absence of a Completely Unrealistic Epic Craft Project in my life.
    can add nothing more.

  23. Congrats to Carrie! Very cool!
    Your epic craft project reminds me of the year I was in charge of the Christmas dinner organization for my entire workplace. 250+ people across four shifts. I got it into my head that I needed to fold 250+ oragami boxes out of gold foil paper to hold the lovely little holiday candies each place setting got. I think I must have thought I was at a wedding. But I was trying to make elegant out of the back of a warehouse.
    I recommend suckering some friends into a little get together. Give them some food and wine and then sit them down at a table and start a’foldin.

  24. Hey, Carrie….you’ll do great, are you getting nervous?…always remember…it’s a really easy audience ;-) My niece’s Bat Mitzvah is on Saturday, I’m making her tallit (which should be done tonight) is here (its theme is the 4 Mamas). http://www.flickr.com/photos/9562035@N02/4299587986/ More that I’ve made are pictured on Rav (I’m Neen).
    That first photo was a giveaway, I knew right then that your Bat Mitzvah was approaching!
    Kay, after having gotten my older three kids through this, what I found REALLY helps is to have them practice reading AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS AT HOME. It really really helps. But don’t forget to have them practice their speech that way, too…my son did his Haftarah great. His Torah portion went well, as did the blessings…..and then his speech was done as half volume. We forgot that one! LOL.

  25. I’m so glad to see that all the cool Bat Mitzvah girls are still highlighting their haftorahs to color-code the tropes. Seeing those pages brought back a ton of memories (including the first line of my haftorah, which is amazing considering my Bat Mitzvah was, oh, 16 years ago and I can’t remember my own name some days).

  26. Mazel Tov Carrie. I had shivers of memories of replaying the tape over and over and over for mine until my SIL told me that my nephew got his Torah and Haftorah portions in an MP3 file, the world has changed!!!
    Kippot at my bat mitzvah were bright yellow velvet, YIKES.
    Try to relax and enjoy the day, I know she’ll do great.

  27. Clueless Christian Commenter wants to know–do the girls who are being bat mitzvah’ed get to choose what they read, or are the texts standardized and predetermined?
    Two points for the highlighter comment. A hoot!

  28. Hey, M-D ladies! I was working at my kid’s school library and came across a book about Josef Albers (An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers, to be precise.) I flipped through and BAM! Mason-Dixon is all over this!
    Of course, I’m sure you’ve already heard of him. But he made me think of you!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Albers

  29. Here’s to ya Carrie. You go girl on that night of nights. Keep folding Kay. So exactly how many paper cranes are necessary to qualify for a Completely Unrealistis Epic Craft Project. We demand a picture. What fun.

  30. All the best to Carrie!
    As soon as I saw the highlighter, I guessed but I also started to get nervous. Then I remembered I didn’t have to do anything.
    I can relate to the feeling on the need of epic handcrafts at occasions. Good for you for siding with sanity. Cranes will be enough. I did them for my wedding. The sweater is worth it, clearly going to a person who knows handknits.

  31. Not to add to the Epic-ness, but tradition has it that if you fold 1000 paper cranes you’ll be granted a wish. The right tools help. (See, it is like knitting.) A folding bone will save wear on the sides of your fingernails.

  32. Mazel Tov to you all! Having shepherded three boys through the Bar Mitzvah process, I appreciate the magnitude of the process. We settled for the preprinted kippot, too. Origami sounds very zen and intrinsically calming. Enjoy!

  33. 1. When is the big event?
    2. The highlighter comment was hilarious
    3. I will never forget sitting in a conservative synagogue and seeing all the grampas and dads wearing pink kippots. And, what was that I saw on the edge? Yup. A Nike swoosh. Therapy followed.

  34. Mazel Tov in advance! Don’t make yourself crazy in the preparations and be sure to enjoy the day and its significance. The photos were nearly clear enough for me to read some of the words! I had my Bat Mitzvah at age 48, 11 years ago and it is a fabulous experience, even if I was a bit older!

  35. Kay,
    Congratulations to Carrie-as my Dad always said
    “Good Luck in case you have a test”. Your Dad will
    be with you in spirit.

  36. When I went to my first Bar Mitzvah (we’re Lutheran, so it was interesting), I learned that reading the Torah was like reading Hebrew (ancient Hebrew, mind you), backwards, without punctuation. And that even people who are fluent in modern conversational Hebrew have a difficult time reading the Torah for their Bar Mitzvahs. After learning that, I thought…”no wonder there is a big party after a Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah!” Rock on Carrie!!

  37. If it were me (and I’m not Jewish so I don’t know the protocols), I would knit a tiny object (like a star or something representative of Carrie) and sewing in on the inside as a gesture of hand knitted good luck/love.

  38. “Sparkly cardi” is perfect for Carrie. The right choice, I think.

  39. Yay, Carrie! And yay, you. A sparkly cardi sounds just right. And I love folding origami cranes. Are you going to hang them in strings?

  40. You are wonderful.

  41. a blissing to carrie

  42. YAY for Carrie!!! and for you too Kay! I can’t wait to see the cranes and the sparkly handknit.
    ps. when I saw Mother of the Bat in the title, I thought I was in for some Olive photos ;)

  43. Oh, a thousand great mazels on your head. Or am I mixing multicultural metaphors again?
    Much love to you and your girl on her big day. XOXO

  44. I’m glad I’m not the only one who embarks on Completely Unrealistic Epic Craft Projects. I have a hand cut, hand sewn quilt top that I will someday finish. It’s more than half done too.
    There’s also a Noro log cabin blanket that’s sleeping under the couch. Need to finish a wool cardigan before winter ends, so I can actually wear it. And my Ravelympic project will be a baby blanket in log cabin courthouse steps on size 7s. It’s all doable, yeah? Yeah.

  45. Mazel Tov! One year ago I was putting the finishing touches together for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. Although I insanely took on the challenge to make the kippot, I was thrilled beyond belief to have finished crocheting all 80+ with a few weeks to spare. I look back on that as one of my proudest achievements. You can see them here (http://knitting4shirley.blogspot.com/2009/01/ecf-accomplished-edition.html) if you’re interested.

  46. Cranes are hard! They have inverse folds, and all. Yours are beautiful. Good luck with the glitter-cardi.

  47. It is the tradition of spiritual and family life, and sharing with others that gives meaning to our lives. Wonderful best wishes to you and your daughter.

  48. Good luck and congratulations to Carrie for reaching this milestone! I hope that there’s also a theme party where the bathroom smells of aqua-net and stridex and the girls are all a head taller than the boys.

  49. Mazel Tov! I suspect you might have considered it an abuse of the power you yield in knitterdom to put out a general call to your readers to help with the kippah (better we spend our time knitting to help those with need, rather than those who set unrealistic goals), but we would have done so gladly. It has been a pleasure watching Carrie grow up. Thank you and best wishes to you all.

  50. Mazel Tov! A joyous time in a young person’s life. Enjoy!

  51. Congrats Carrie!

  52. So, nu, what’s her Torah portion? Mazel tov to you, mama Bat and to Carrie, the Bat herself.
    It is a big day for a young person and her family! So exciting.