Friday, July 31, 2009

mystery sheep photograph

A friend just sent this wonderful photograph to me in a group of amazing landscape photos, all unattributed. I'm guessing this is Scotland. Does anybody know?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vinalhaven and the reversible cable scarf

A friend of my daughter is going to Norway for her junior year of high school. She will be living on the island of Stord (Old Norse for ground or earth), on the southwest coast, population 17,000 (our town in Maine is population 1,200 - the Colosseum sat 50,000 and the Globe Theater sat 3,000 just for comparison). My daughter asked me to knit something for her friend. I decided to knit her a reversible cable scarf (I have a week), and found two patterns online: Silver's Place which is the one pictured above, and a lovely variation which I will try next, at Ruthie Knits. The blue yarn, scrumptious to knit, glossy, soft and thick, is from Jil Eaton. The frog stapler which found its way into the photo is from a local bookshop, Left Bank Books.
Last weekend my daughter and her friend and I decided to go to the island of Vinalhaven to visit my mother. We arrived at the ferry terminal in Rockland and had some time to kill so we went to a used bookstore Rock City Books and Coffee, which sells the best coffee beans in the world. I found a knitting book, published 1990, which had interesting wild mock Tudor patterns (see fuzzy photo above) titled A Passion for Color by Sarah Burnett. I opened the book and read, "Many years ago I bought some Diaghilev ballet costumes at an auction," and was hooked. Sarah Burnett lives in Dorset and has a company called the Natural Dye Company.

The ferry ride is one hour and fifteen minutes. Here is Vinalhaven (named for an early settler named Vinal) harbor. It is a working island (notice the lobster boats) with about 1200 year-round inhabitants. It was first settled by Europeans in 1766 and in the 1800's was famous for its granite. Granite from Vinalhaven quarries was used in building the Brooklyn Bridge.
We've had lots of fog this year.
Here's Sandburg's famous poem:
The fog comes in
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Vinalhaven has a wonderful yarn shop, Island Home, which carries yarn spun from Vinalhaven sheep. I was dying to have some more of this yarn, but the shop is open from 10am - 1pm on Saturdays, and we missed it. So I took this photo through the window.
Vinalhaven is stark. I love this house. It's a Cape, short for Cape Cod: "the first Cape Cod style homes were built by English colonists who came to America in the late 17th century. They modeled their homes after the half-timbered houses of England, but adapted the style to the stormy New England weather," according to But very little ever goes out of style in Maine and this house was probably built in the early 1800's.
This is downtown Vinalhaven.
The woman who lives in the house below made this scarecrow.
I love her garden. She plants by the moon in the spring so that it will be at its peak for her birthday and she never weeds it.

We toured an inn, the Payne Homestead. It was was built in 1873 by granite (remember the granite?) magnate, Moses Webster.

Below is my mother's adorable cottage garden.

She has some wonderful daylillies. Their Latin name is Hemerocallis. They were brought to Europe from their native China and were first described by Linneaus in 1753. The name Hemerocallis translates from Greek into Hemera meaning "a day" and Kallos meaning "beauty".
My mother has made this hydrangea blue by putting iron in the soil.
I am almost done with the scarf.
- Kathy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

trip Down East, local yarn

We had a day or two of sun last week and as our daughter is away, my husband and I decided to go Downeast. Downeast refers to the coast of Maine north of Ellsworth, or of Penobscot Bay, and got its name during the maritime heyday of New England. The Maine coast is east of Boston, so ships heading for Maine sailed east with the wind at their backs, which is "downwind". Our first stop was Shirley's Yarns and Crafts in Hancock where I bought the yellow yarn. I love yellow! It smells great! It feels great! It is a Maine yarn, from Bartlett Yarns in Harmony, Maine. The second yarn, which is actually plum colored, is from Heavenly Socks in Belfast (bought on a different trip, I'm cheating here) and is from Hope Spinnery in Hope, Maine. It's scrumptious! I love having yarn around the house.
This is a typical Maine house. White. The main part of the house was probably built around 1880, and it has many lovely ells added on. Looks like it grew out of the ground. This is in the town of Cutler.
The fog rolled in later that day.
This is also Cutler. Maine's coast is famously rocky.
We went all the way to Eastport. Here is their delightful library. Eastport is on the border, on Passamaquaddy Bay, on the edge of the Bay of Fundy. It was incorporated in 1798, and has a year-round population of about 1,600.

Eastport has many art galleries and antique shops. It is the home of Raye's Mustard, whose Brown Ginger Mustard is the best mustard on earth.
And of Sarah Graves, who writes juicy murder mysteries about the place.
Gorgeous! You can see Canada across the way.
All towns need a sense of humor.
On our way home, we stopped and took a four hour hike along the coast.
I made a rest stop. I love living in Maine.
- Kathy

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inspired by blogs

Last night I made a quick tour of the blogosphere while my husband was making dinner. Here are some of the gorgeous and amazing blogs I found: Liivian talossa, do you mind if i knit, assemblage. Listed in "links": Of Spring and Summer, and Jane Brocket, you may already know. The photo is of roses from my garden, I like 18th and 19th century varieties.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cutest mittens in the world, Merrimack Valley Fiber Arts, and more

These mittens win the Knitting Out Loud "Cutest Mittens in the World" award. They were knitted for the lady pictured below, by her mother. They are puppets, as you can see below. I have never seen anything like this before. Have any of you? She brought them to a Stories of Knitting talk I gave at the Bedford Public Library in New Hampshire. I had met librarian Emily Weiss at the Book Expo in NYC two years ago when we were just starting the company, so it was a special pleasure to give this talk two years, and eight audiobooks, later.

We were at the Merrimack Valley Fiber Arts Celebration in Massachusetts this spring. We learned about "The World's Longest Scarf" project through Keep the Fleece. Their goal is to "fight poverty around the world in this, the International Year of Natural Fibers".
And who could resist these sheep?
Here is The Merrimac Valley Spinners Guild contribution to the World's Longest Scarf.

This is the booth of the NOBO Weaving Guild, Newburyport, MA. Their hand weavings were gorgeous.
They had this wonderful miniature loom. It is a National Recovery Act working model from the 1930's.
My first hats, for: my daughter, myself, my mother. The pattern is from the book Shear Spirit. The white yarn is from Prince Edwards Island, the grey yarn is from Vinalhaven Island.
This is a shawl I finally finished for my mother.