Altamont, Feb. 13, 2014

Last week, I talked about some people who were physically challenged. Little did I know that this week I would be enjoying a ball game with the Wounded Warriors competing against the local All Stars.

The Wounded Warriors are a group of veterans who have fought mostly in the Persian Gulf conflicts. Victims of IED’s (improvised explosive devices) and other war injuries show that they still have the right stuff by going on the field with prosthetic legs, arms and combinations of devastating injuries, demonstrating their courage and dedication to not letting their physical challenges hold them back.

The game was uneven from the start. The All Stars did not stand a chance against the dedication and determination of the Wounded Warriors. The team provided an inspirational message to show young people and old alike that many of the obstacles in life can be overcome with hard work and dedication.

Throughout the game our friend Gayle was busily knitting a sweater for one of her grandchildren. She was able to keep count of all of the stitches (and not drop one) even though she cheered as loudly as the rest of us with the exciting plays of the game. Jim, my husband, said it was reminiscent of the days our daughters played softball and I would cheer for anyone because they got a good hit or made a great play.

Knitting is a pastime and talent that I never perfected. There were sessions in 4-H that exposed our daughters to various needlepoint, knitting, stitching, crocheting and other similar crafts. However, because I did not do any of these my daughters followed my lead and turned their free time to reading.

As we read about our history or viewed pictures of earlier days (before television) the family would gather in the living room, or kitchen after dinner and participate in favorite activities such as reading, painting, singing, playing musical instruments, knitting, and other activities to pass the time until bedtime. 

One craft example I saw at the Altamont Fair is a sampler. It is a framed cross-stitch with the alphabet, numbers, months and days all used to teach stitching, numbers, the alphabet and other basic educational things that were taught in the home.

Embroidery has been taught throughout the world. It was a skill much sought after to create beautiful decorations for the wealthy. In simple terms, a stitch as used in embroidery or hand-sewing is defined as the movement of the embroidery needle from the backside of the fabric to the front side and back to the back side. The thread stroke on the front side produced by this is also called stitch. Therefore, an embroidery stitch means one or more stitches that are always executed in the same way, forming a recognizable figure.

Embroidery stitches are the smallest units in embroidery. Embroidery patterns are formed by doing many embroidery stitches, either all the same or different ones, either following a counting chart on paper, following a design painted on the fabric or even working freehand.

Embroidery uses many combinations of stitches. Each embroidery stitch has a special name to help identify it. Taken by themselves, the stitches are mostly simple to execute; however, when put together the results can be extremely complex.

As an example, a friend said that embroidery was simple. You can start with a straight stitch. How naive I was to think that a straight stitch was in fact a straight stitch. I knew that straight stitches pass through the fabric in a simple up and down motion, moving in a single direction. Then I was given examples of straight stitches, running or basting stitch, simple satin stitch, Algerian eye stitch and the fern stitch.

Then I was informed that straight stitches can have two journeys, generally forwards and backwards over the same path. These are called: Holbein stitch (also known as the double running stitch) and the Bosnian stitch. While hardly taking a breath, my friend continued my education of embroidery by describing backstitches.

Backstitches, I was told, pass through the fabric in an encircling motion. The needle in the simplest backstitch comes up from the back of the fabric, makes a stitch to the right going back to the back of the fabric, then passes behind the first stitch and comes up to the front of the fabric to the left of the first stitch. The needle then goes back to the back of the fabric through the same hole the stitch first came up from. The needle then repeats the movement to the left of the stitches and continues.

When this verbal tutorial went on to some examples of a backstitch I knew that I was in over my head. I heard; stem stitch or outline stitch, split stitch, crewel stitch, chain stitch, lazy daisy stitch, or detached chain, Spanish chain or zig-zag chain, buttonhole stitches or blanket stitches, crossed buttonhole stitch, top knotted buttonhole stitch, German knotted buttonhole stitch, tailor’s buttonhole stitch, feather stitches and the list seemed to go on almost endlessly.

Although the language is strange at first, just as with any learning experience, once you learn the styles and stitches, the tools and materials, regional and historical background, designers and  museums then the rest is a piece of cake.

While watching the Wounded Warriors ball game today I learned two important things. One is that young people and old alike may overcome the obstacles in life with hard work and dedication. The second is that I would rather read a good book than become involved in learning the language and skills required to start a new hobby. 

OES breakfast

Members of Helderberg Chapter 331 will meet socially on Saturday, Feb. 15, for a late breakfast or early lunch at the Homefront Cafe in Altamont at 11:30 a.m.

Fire department

This year the Altamont Volunteer Fire Department will hold its annual ball on Saturday, March 22.  There will be a rip roaring dinner theatre production of ‘ Red  Hot  Wedding which will be performed by the Home Made Theatre group and hosted by members of the fire department. 

The doors of the community room will open at 6 p.m.   

Tickets are now on sale for $30.  Don’t be disappointed. Order your tickets now. There will be a buffet dinner, beer, wine and soda included (BYOB for mixed drinks).

 Support of this major fund-raiser is always appreciated. If you are unable to attend, a donation would be appreciated.  Checks should be made payable to the Altamont Fire Department and can be mailed to P.O.  Box 642, Altamont, NY 12009.

Food pantry

The Altamont Food Pantry, housed at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Parish Center on Grand Street, always has need of paper goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins.  All donations can be left in the Gathering Space at the church.

FMS report cards

By this time parents should have received their student’s report card for the second quarter. The report cards were sent home via backpack mail on Friday, Feb. 7.

Dance canceled

The seventh and eighth grade dance at Farnsworth Middle School was canceled due to poor ticket sales. Students who purchased tickets will have their money refunded.

Presidents week

Schools in the Guilderland School District will be closed Feb. 17 through Feb. 21 in observance of Presidents week.

Village office

The Altamont Village Office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17, in observance of President’s Day.

Meeting held

Members of Cyrene Temple, No. 18, Daughters of the Nile, held their scheduled session on Saturday, Feb. 8, according to Pat Irwin of Altamont. The group met at the Masonic Lodge in Latham. A social luncheon was held following the session. 

20th anniversary

The Community Caregivers, in conjunction with their 20th anniversary plans, are holding their annual appeal campaign with a goal of reaching $20,000 donations from individuals and businesses.

For more information regarding the Community Caregivers, contact Kathy Burbank, Executive Director at 456-2898 or online at .


The deadline to register for the Spring ACT test scheduled for April 12 is March 7. Registration can be done online by going to

The registration date for the SAT scheduled for March 8 has passed.  Future SAT and subject tests are planned for May 3 with registration deadline as of April 4. Registration can be done on line to


Unable to attend the Farnsworth Middle School PTA meetings. Now you can read the minutes online. All you need to do is go online to


Happy Birthday wishes are extended to: 

— Pat Crupe and Tom Munroe on Feb. 15;

— Diane Corbett and Cameron Nicholas Davis on Feb. 16;

— Nancy Chesnut, Bud Perlee, Gary Prescott, and Terry Ann  Trendell on Feb. 17;

— Genevieve Johnson, Bridget Carman, Lois Ginsburg, Alexa Olivia Johnson, and 

Kristen Marie Thatcher on Feb. 19; and

— Kiyomi Barkley and Kelli LeClair on Feb. 20.