Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dr. G's Memory Vest for my dad

Dr. G's Memory Vest
I am feeling frisky and unburdened in the WIP dept. as I have recently finished two long term projects that were clogging my Ravelry projects page and making me feel mentally ill. Kiri is finally done and blocking as I write this, but the big news is that I completed Kirsten Kapur's (love her) Dr. G's Memory Vest at about 2 am on 12/24, just in time to give it to my dad for Christmas.
Dr. G's Memory Vest
The Specs:
Pattern: Dr. G's Memory Vest by Kirsten Kapur at Through the Loops
Size: XL
Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Naturally Nazareth in Moonlight, 6 skeins.
Needles: Size 7
Time: Sept. to Dec., off and on.
Mods: Only that I didn't put ribbing around the arm holes. The pattern is a gem.
Dr. G's Memory Vest

This gift was important to me for a number of reasons. I seem to have been in a small accessories/baby knits phase these days, so finishing an adult sized garment has significantly raised my knitting stature in my own eyes, whatever that's worth. "That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee", as my dad used to say.

More importantly it allowed me to contribute to a cause--Alzheimer's Research--that has touched my life in ways that I wish I could pretend it hadn't. My dad has an advanced form of the disease and is fading away before our eyes. He was a whipsmart titan in his day, but the disease has taken away so much--it's like watching someone you love on a dimmer switch, and soon the volume will be turned all the way down.
Dr. G's Memory Vest
Another added bonus to this pattern is that it is a vest--and my dad is a huge vest enthusiast. I shed a few tears as he tried it on, his gratitude and pleasure overwhelmed me. He said it was "a real honey." Thanks to Kirsten for creating such a gorgeous, gorgeous pattern.

Some of you know that my dad was a bit of a showman in a former life. As a curator of a museum of quack medical devices, he had many opportunities to do his W.C. Fields routine for the public, and enjoyed this part of the job immensely. Here is a link to him firing on all cylinders and holding his own on late-night television with a tough customer.

56 comments:

katey said...

What a lovely sweater and thank you so much for sharing the video of your dad. Seems like a man after my own heart.

I wish that I could have the opportunity to meet him. He sounds like a real card.

:-)

Lori said...

Love the pictures of your dad in his vest and the video clips of him with Letterman are priceless!

James said...

I'm so glad you have that video! The vest is beautiful and I'm glad your dad enjoyed it so much.

indieknits said...

The vest looks absolutely amazing and fits your Dad perfectly :)

sophanne said...

Heather, you are "all that and a bag of chips". (one of my favorite sayings). Beautiful beautiful knitting.

serenknitity said...

Wonderful vest - well done for finishing it. And a Happy New Year to you and your lovely Dad.

Cynthia said...

That vest is gorgeous, and your dad looks so sweet. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jennifer said...

Heather, I am so touched by your post. Enjoy this time with your dad.

nicole said...

A fantastic, touching post Heather. Your dad looks so happy in his beautiful vest. You did a magnificent job knitting it, and I'm glad to hear that he was able to recognize and appreciate your gift of love.

I LOVED seeing your dad on Letterman. What a smart, funny, charming man! A great tribute.

kim said...

Aw, Heather, a stellar post indeed! "Can it do something about the part in my hair" "a weak member" - LOL!

Well, obviously, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Your dad is clearly a special person, as are you. Happy New Year!!! Oh, did I mention the gorgeous vest? Just lovely.

LollyNo2 said...

Like I needed to cry any more this week!! LOVE the photo of Dad and the new Penny. Love ya - Lolly

Brenda said...

Heather, The post was wonderful The video with Letterman was priceless. The vest looks spectacular. Good memories for you.

knithound brooklyn said...

Heather, what a sweet post. You did a fantastic job with the vest and he clearly appreciates it. Thanks for sharing the story and the video. He is such a charming man!

Happy New Year!

Holli said...

Heather - this is a very touching post. The vest is incredibly beautiful - what skill and craftsmanship went into it. The video is really sweet.

I feel all warm and fuzzy now.
Holli

Jodi said...

Heather, the vest looks gorgeous. What a thoughtful gift. Alzheimer's and related diseases seem like a robbery. My mother suffers from dementia, and it's heart-breaking to see.

But what a treat to have those videos of your dad! He was great on Letterman.

Karen said...

What a wonderful vest for your sweet father.

SJ said...

You did a wonderful job on the vest.

Thank you for sharing the video, too. My husband and I both enjoyed it. What a character!

peaknits said...

OMG, that vedio made me giggle. I loved the belt to "restore manhood". What a treat - thank you for sharing! I can see why you teared up a bit when he opened this meaningful and beautiful vest - heck, I cried from here! Take care!

Twisted Knitter said...

This vest and your post are awesome and so sweet, Heather. When I saw your project on Ravelry, I went to Kirsten's site to read her entry and make a donation. I love your vest and yarn choice too -- we have some at the shop where I work and it looks great with textural knits like this one.

Finally, on a personal note, I just want to thank you for sharing your Dad's story with us. Hugs to you both!

Stephanie said...

This is a truly beautiful post.

Melissa said...

I started tearing up just looking at the pictures on Flickr this morning before I even read your blog post. I think I was touched because there was something so sweet about your dad's expression. Your vest is a beautiful example of knitting at its best -- what it can do for us as well as others. Oh, and to be told it's a real honey! I can't imagine a better compliment.

Agnes said...

The vest is an absolute beauty! And the fit is perfect.
Wish you and your family a Wonderful and Peaceful New Year to come.

Alice said...

What a lovely sweater and touching post. The video of your dad was awesome. He seems like a really great guy.

Happy New Year to you and your family :)

ingrid said...

Your Dad is a hoot! And I love the vest, but like your Dad, I've always had a penchant for sweater vests.

Who? Me? said...

Thank you for sharing! My Grandfather has Alzheimer's (which I can never spell) and the drugs are no longer as effective as they were. I'm scared to watch him fade away. He's been such a big part of my life. I will be headed straight over for the pattern so maybe I can make him a vest before he can no longer remember who made it for him. Thanks for sharing.

martha said...

I loved your post about your Grandfather and the clip, it's so touching. I'm sorry about his condition. It's good to know he loved beautiful vest and is aware that you made it for him.
Thank you for sharing.

Kim said...

You're Dad's a honey and so is that vest! Great job. Hilarious video. I recognized that hair growing scalpmassaging machine from an old I Love Lucy episode. Did your Dad ever measure your character with that bizarro head measuring/character device. Too funny!

Amy said...

The vest is beautiful and the story breaks my heart. Thanks so much for sharing.

Beverly said...

Fantastic vest! Your dad looks quite dashing in it.

The video is so neat! Thanks for such a touching, heartfelt post.

a friend to knit with said...

that clip is priceless. what a treasure to have!

your father may be just about the sweetest thing, ever. he looks quite dapper in his vest. i can only imagine how great that was to see the joy in his eyes. you are a real honey.

An Abundance of Lisa said...

What a special gift for your dad. I'm sorry to hear that he's suffering from Alzheimer's. *Hugs* It's great that you were able to make him a gift that he'll really treasure.

weezalana said...

That is one spectacular vest, and what a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing!

KeanaLee said...

The vest is gorgeous. The videos were great - i watched all 3 on You Tube... I can't believe the stuff they had - the male member enlarger was my favorite,,,,,so crazy!!! All the best.

Sonya said...

He certainly was holding his own with Letterman! I love that he said member on TV. What a charmer. It's a perfect vest for him too. He looks to be quite happy with it.

Kat said...

Thank you for sharing. I wish there was some way to turn up that dimmer switch.

gleek said...

what a fantastic vest for your dad! so glad he loved it :)

larissa said...

Heather, the vest is beautiful and so is your dad wearing it. He is clearly proud of your knitting and touched you made it for him. Nice.

wazz said...

Your dad is a total star - - outshining letterman in that clip, I reckon. I was very moved by this project, your post, and the sight of your lovely dad (both in the vid and in his vest).
All the best for 2009 x

brsmaryland said...

The vest is beautiful and your Dad looks great in it.
And how terrific to have this Letterman clip. Very cool.

TLCknits said...

Loved the clip.. Your Dad is an amazing man! Love the vest

Ashley said...

Your family is so off-the-charts awesome. So's your vest. I knew you'd finish it! I just did a photoshoot with my dad and his vest today too and thought of you.

Kirsten said...

The clip is fantastic! What a fun childhood you must have had with a dad like that!

The vest looks fantastic on him.

"kim and kula" said...

A friend sent me your blog post about your dad's vest...it inspired me to create my own blog. My dad has Alzheimer's too. It's at www.homeontheinside.blogspot.com. Just realized that you are blogspot too. Thank you for writing this. Kim

LindaS said...

Thanks for sharing the information about your dad. I really enjoyed his segment with David Letterman.

The vest is just lovely.

Knittymuggins said...

What a cutie your Dad is!! Thanks for sharing :)

The vest is amazing and I'm glad that he was so touched by your gift. What a special relationship you must have!

Happy New Year!

knittymuggins

Veronique said...

What an intricate vest! My grandfather had Alzheimer's, and I remember the shock it was for me as a teenager to realize that someone could change so much because of a disease. Hugs to you :)

Jocelyn said...

A honey of a vest for a honey of a man!

It was 10 years ago when my Mom was at that stage and I can tell it's hard on you - the dimmer switch where one reliable characteristic of their personality has slowly become unreliable

Trust me when I say that, Alzheimer be damned, Dad will always know who you are. You'll just have to recognize him differently.

all my love, dearie!

Jocelyn

Philigry said...

your dad looks awesome! the vest is beautiful.

Michelle said...

I loved the video...what fun! Thanks for sharing. I remember when you could get your head bumps read at Riverplace! I thought of you and your dad this past weekend while I was at the Science Museum checking out the quack medical devices.

The vest is lovely!

Kyle Kunnecke said...

first, what a great Dad! - you're an awfully lucky one to have such a cool father... I imagine your house had some of these fun odd devices tucked away in corners...enough to intrigue (or frighten) many friends! :)

Thanks also for the video - what a fun way to get to meet your dad - he looks like a fun character...

your memory vest is amazing - it fits him beautifully - and his eyes say it all...

Thank you for donating to Alzheimer's research and for making the vest - I know how you felt making and finishing it - but the gift of being able to present it to your dad is something you hold all on your own... I made mine in honor of my Grandmother (who passed August, 2008) of Alzheimers/Dementia/Old Agee - but she didn't see it nor would she have been able to receive or understand it when it was completed. Instead, I wear it in her honor - and remember any time someone asks "Why do you knit" to mention her creativity and the blessing of supporting me in any craft or art I attempted.

Your dad must be quite proud.

Lazuli said...

What a gorgeous sweater and such a moving story to go with it! Did you dad by chance curate the museum of such devices in Minneapolis? I visited there once and had an interesting time trying things out, such as the phrenology one... Fun stuff!

tiennie said...

It looks fantastic on him! I love the story that came with this post.

earthchick said...

Oh wow. I am late reading this, but what a lovely post and FO. Your post has really moved me. I'm sorry for the losses your family is going through with this disease, and I'm so glad you were able to give your dad this gift.

earthchick said...

Just went and watched the video - what fun! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Dove Knits said...

That's a lovely vest, and your dad looks great in it.

I'm sorry to hear he has Alzheimers. My grandfather died of a very advanced case, so I know what it's like to watch someone change and deteriorate...

bunnnyfoofoo said...

You dad looks great in the vest, he looks like he likes it. I have ordered/donated to Dr. G's memory vest, too, as has my son as a present to me for Christmas. I am going to make it for him for a present. he teaches special needs (Asperger's) in a high school, and i think it is perfect for him. My mom had Alzheimers and our kids were very close to her. I am proud of the things they do in order to help someone else. The video of your dad with Letterman is priceless. It is wonderful that you have it. We are big letterman fans, and I think I can remember that show with your dad. I hope he is well, I'm sure that he knows what a wonderful daughter you are to him.