Tuesday, March 30, 2010

knitting for friends

This is a throw, or lap blanket I am knitting for a friend. She is having a difficult year, and I wanted to knit her something. Aside from calling and emailing, it was all I could think to do.
This has been a hard year for us and a hard year for many people I know. There are health problems, family problems, money problems, job problems. This year (and I am thinking academic year here) seems to be more difficult than most.
Knitting helps. Spring flowers help. Birdsong in the morning helps. The love of family and friends helps.
Every small joyful thing we do, say, think, feel makes a difference.
Now, my timing is a little off here, giving someone a blanket in spring just as our need for warmth is waning. I started several other projects this winter, none of which seemed quite right, until this throw.
But even in summer there is often, at least in the Northeast, a chilly night or two.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Knitting Links!

From Katherine Jane:

Hey guys--Kathy has been on a roll with finding great knitting links recently. Here's some of the best:

We love the strange, otherworldly knits on artist Daniela Edburg's website: http://www.danielaedburg.net/#/content/pictures1/PARTYGIRL.jpg/

The ultimate geeky knit:

Proof that sportiness and elegant knitwear aren't mutually exclusive: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/warm-and-fuzzy-dept-rodartes-flying-colors/

And news that the Naked Chef is getting into the yarn business: http://www.tonic.com/article/naked-chef-wants-woolies/

And speaking of news, here's a couple that I found:

Covering up frigid chickens:

and a discussion of the knitwear-inspired Olympics outfit worn by the Peru Alpine Skiing team:

Not to mention these two amazing outfits, one via Digg: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45033009@N07/4412526754/sizes/o/ and one at Cute Overload: http://cuteoverload.com/2010/03/09/when-yarn-isnt-cats-best-friend/

Happy procrastinating!


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It is time to make pysanky again. I was taught this ancient craft by a Ukranian friend many years ago. It is an amazingly compelling activity. You concentrate on drawing on eggs for several hours with bees wax heated by candles.

These eggs are dyed with a wax-resist technique. Bees wax is heated in a stylus over a candle. You cover the area in wax which you want to remain that color, then put the egg in a dye.

I try to use free range eggs, as their shells are harder. Geese and duck eggs are good too. The eggs in the basket above were made over the last thirty years, some by my daughter and her cousins when they were little. The brown and yellow egg in the upper right corner was made by my Ukrainian friend's mother. She was born and raised in a small Ukrainian village, spent WWII in a DP camp, and lived for many years in a Ukrainian community in Baltimore.


Monday, March 15, 2010

In bloom! Outside and In

I live in Maine, and we have had a blessedly mild winter (sorry D.C.!). Usually March is still winter here, often very snowy. My snowdrops are always up in March, and they are a cheering sight (in bad weather or good!).
Crocus and daffodils are coming up too. I can't tell you how amazing this is, just as amazing, I suppose, as all the snow was this winter to my mid-Atlantic friends.
These are small species crocus.

And here's the witch hazel! I cut some for the house, it has a wonderful lemony scent.

More daffodils poking up through the leaves.
And lastly, an Oriental poppy.
And below, the orchids are blooming nicely indoors:

A delicious spring!
- Kathy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

UFO's or Embarrassing Revelations

I'm almost done with this coat. I have been almost done for about a year. Here is a bit of it, pictured below (possibly a sleeve), in a bag with some unfinished socks. We are in need of a little organization here...

I am knitting this sweater (without the stripes) in plum wool from Peace Fleece. I love their yarns! The back and front and half of the first sleeve are finished. I have been in the middle of that first sleeve for bloody ever.

I am knitting two of these vests (in Peace Fleece wool), one for my husband and one for my father. Not quite sure where I am here. Naturally both vests have been started.
I am looking forward to someday being able to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday organizing, and perhaps even finishing, these (and more! but mostly socks) projects. In the meantime... Well, I actually have finished knitting projects, but they've mostly been given away.

Oddly, or perhaps not, I love having this knitting around the house. The baskets of yarn with projects nestled in are comforting. Not sure why. But just looking at yarn and knitting makes me feel good.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Men Who Bake - Bob Fickett's Loaves

My husband bakes all our bread. He started doing this when we received a bread machine as a gift. When the bread machine died from overuse, he just continued baking. Our cousin Cal, another man who bakes, gave us the no knead bread recipe - amazingly delicious! - it spurred my husband on. And he gave the recipe to his friend Jeff who is the baker and cook for his family.

The fabulous loaves pictured above were not baked by my husband, but by a college buddy of his, Bob Fickett. His wife Vicky sent me these photos on Facebook, and the following story:

Bob's newest interest is bread. Bought him a book and he's taken off with baking every weekend...focaccia, ciabatta, cinnamon rolls, danish. Baker's choice. It really saved us last winter while we were adjusting to the girls being gone. Broke bread & wine and suddenly everything was clear, simple and fine.

Two Christmases ago Bob requested a "good bread book". I did a bit of research online and I gave him The Bread Baker's Apprentice; Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart. Little did I know I had purchased one of the "bibles". And although he has since amassed a huge pile of bread & pastry books, this is the only one he follows. The rest, as they say, is history. Next: Carmel Pecan Sticky Buns! Can't wait!!!
And what could be better than home baked bread and a wood stove. Yes, good bread makes everything "clear, simple and fine." Thanks Vicky, for sharing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NETA Spa Knit and Spin 2010!!!

There were lots and lots of beautiful hand knits at Spa Knit and Spin 2010 in Freeport, Maine last weekend. "Of course!" I hear you say, but I have been to many fiber events over the last three years, and there were more hand knits per capita at NETA Spa than at any other event - including Sock Summit! Or maybe I just couldn't see all the socks. The lovely sweater above is awaiting buttons from my vendor neighbor Glastonbury Glassworks. They make gorgeous glass buttons, glass earrings (see below) and wonderful stitch markers. Also check out their blog Live and Let Learn. It was great fun being next to them.

This is a Kaffe Fassett sweater pattern, which this clever knitter lined!!!
Scott, of Glastonbury Glassworks, spins too! There is nothing nicer than sitting next to a spinner, except perhaps spinning yourself (my husband has almost finished the spinning wheel he is making for me - it has been almost finished for a year).

More beautiful glass beads. Aren't they sweet?
And the earrings!!!
Look at this wonderful wrist warmer!
And this gorgeous shawl.
More glorious hand knit sweaters! The lady on the right works for Classic Elite Yarn. Beautiful hand knits were everywhere, as you can see from the ladies in back.
Astrig, who runs Fiber College in Searsport, Maine always has amazing hand knits. This shawl has a little of everything in it I think. Including felting. Fiber College is in the fall, and is always a great event! Right here in mid-coast Maine.

Above is Jennifer, of WoolworksLTD in a sweater of her own design. Her work has been in Knit 'n Style Magazine.
We were in the same room with Jackie Fee and her daughter!!! Her book, The Sweater Workshop, is a knitting classic.
My dear friend Karen (owner of Village Books) who came to help me at the event, is making the Shetland shawl above. And she found these odd shaped balls of string on the "free" table. We have no idea what they are, any guesses?
This gorgeous stuff is from Starcroft Fiber Mill. Their wool is from Nash Island off the coast of Maine. Island wool!!!
More Scrumptious colors. Naturally I bought some. Can't wait to cast on with it.
Here is owner Jani Estell in a lovely sweater knit with her wool.
And below are lace scarf kits. What could be prettier?
They also had knitting bags!
And now for the cashmere. This is cashmere from Springtide Farm in Bremen, Maine. If you haven't knit with cashmere, you are missing an amazing experience.
More cashmere. Irresistible!
Autumn Hollow Farm has the most beautiful spindles,
crotchet hooks,
and knitting needles. I have given them as presents to fiber friends, who have loved them.
Unique One, in Camden, Maine, had this wonderful felted bag kit.
And this lovely shawl!!!
Here's Karen in the snow. It was a heavy wet snow, and our motel lost electricity. So odd to be in a motel room with no light! Next time I bring a flashlight.

For more photos, and Karen's fun take on the event, check out her blog My Life with Knitters.
We had a great time!