Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Knitting Out Loud is proud to release our fifteenth audiobook, ARCTIC LACE! This wonderful audiobook is beautifully and lovingly read by its accomplished author Donna Druchunas, who was an absolute delight to work with.

ARCTIC LACE is the story of Donna's personal quest for the mysterious luxury yarn qiviut and the elusive Native Alaskan women who knit it into gorgeous lace patterns. Donna tells the moving stories of the women of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers’ Co-operative (do check out their great website, one look will make you smile) in Anchorage, stories reflecting their courage and determination to maintain and honor a traditional culture in the midst of contemporary pressures. We learn about the rare Musk Ox from which qiviut comes, and hear remarkable stories of the daring first European explorers to traverse Alaska’s inhospitable terrain.

Donna Druchunas is the author of Successful Lace Knitting, Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland, Kitty Knits and The Knitted Rug. She designs knits for Family Circle Easy Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knitter’s, PieceWork and several yarn companies.

Join Donna this fall on her Canada & New England Knitting Cruise! I can't imagine anything more fun! It is a nine day cruise which stops, among other exciting places, in Bar Harbor, Maine, one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

My garden here in Maine is just stirring to life. Below are Squill, or Scilla, which I dug up from the side of the road in Blue Hill (so I think of them as Blue Hill Squill) at the prompting, or rather bullying, of my delightful plant thieving neighbor Bettie Thornton (Bettie passed away some years ago, but she could out dig, out garden me right up to the end and I miss her very much). You can see that the Squill have naturalized in the grass.

My hellebore!
This is cheating, a photo from last year, but the Jeanne d'Arc crocus are blooming.
Muscari are my favorites.
What I especially admire about Donna Druchunas is her interest in and commitment to folk, or ethnic knitting. She brings this sensitivity and love to ARCTIC LACE.

Happy spring! Odd how it always seems like a new and fresh miracle every year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Hampshire Spinners and Dyers Guild 2011

It was my very great pleasure to speak at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Spinners and Dyers Guild today. Last October I spoke in New Hampshire to the Seacoast Knitters, and the lovely Harriet Bailey arranged for me to do the talk again today for the NHSDG. The meeting was at the Epsom, New Hampshire Fire Station which has a beautiful hall on its second floor. I love New England.

I had driven to New Hampshire yesterday (it is a four hour drive so not practical as a one-day trip) and spent the night with my friend Kathleen Kearns (she designed my website and is currently working at M.I.T. I have known Kathleen for twenty years, our daughters are best friends - my daughter did the drawings on Kathleen's website - and our husbands, both painters, are currently painting together in Texas) which was a great treat.

Today was stunning, as only a warm sunny spring day in New England can be after a long snowy winter. We were all euphoric. Harriet Bailey met my car and insisted on helping me carry things in, and as she is a tiny bit older than I we quarreled for a minute over this and then I gave in. She is an inspiration.
The ladies were wonderful.
Judith Bastianelli showed me a Corsican spinning technique, which I am guessing must be thousands of years old. She learned of this method of spinning with well, a twig, then saw it again on the island of Corsica.
Below are Ruth Stevens and Judith Bastianelli in their lovely hand-knits.

I am sorry I didn't get the name of the lady below, but her beautiful sweater is all her own hand-spun! *I have just received her name: Judy Gauthier.
Gorgeous Ashford wheel.

Fran Emory is on the left, and I did not get her friend's name (so sorry!). Look at their wonderful hand-knits! *I have just received her name: Susan Burns.
Below is Fran Emory in a vest she designed and knit based on...
these buttons!

People brought their fiber in lovely baskets.
This is a gorgeous Canadian spinning wheel designed for production spinning, Harriet Bailey informed me.
Beautiful metal foot pedal!

I am back home now and it is 8:30 pm. I stopped at the new Trader Joe's in Portland on the way home and bought coffee, wine, figs and olive oil. Listened to a 1940's Sherlock Holmes radio theater with Basil Rathbone in the car. May watch a little Perry Mason before I turn in. Tomorrow I will work on Macbeth, Tudors, Borgias, Medicis etc for Senior College, and on taxes for the government.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


"You can never have too many eagles," Jason Robards says in the wonderful movie A Thousand Clowns. Can you also never have too many teapots? Looking around my kitchen the other day I was thinking that I possibly just might.

I can't quite remember where the charming big-bellied number pictured above came from. It has a 1930's look to it, but doesn't pour well. It says "U.S.A." on the bottom, which was a way to let buyers know, right after WWII, that it wasn't "made in Japan".

My husband painted one of my teapots, was it for an exhibit? What's wrong with my aging brain? My husband and his painting buddy Stapleton Kearns are on their way to paint in Texas for a few weeks, so I can't ask him.

When I moved to Maine twenty-three years ago, one of my first exploratory trips was to the gorgeous town of Blue Hill. I discovered a pottery shop called Rowantrees. The pottery was made on the premises with Maine clay. It was founded in 1934 by a woman who had been to India and met Gandhi. When she asked Gandhi what she could do for the people of Blue Hill, he told her to start a pottery. So back she went to Blue Hill and started Rowantrees. The White House has a set of Rowantrees dinnerware, bought by the Eisenhower's. The designs are charming, but the pottery closed last year. Still, that's a pretty long run. Andrew Phelan, the son of one of the potters who worked there, wrote a history of it Following the Brick Path: The Story of Rowantrees Pottery.

There is a wonderful English teapot called a "Brown Betty" which this is not, but I have seen the same design in a British movie. Either a Miss Marple mystery or The Secret of Roan Inish, I think.
This is a plain, inexpensive, "made in Japan" or perhaps China, teapot, but I love it and use it often. If I am home, I drink a pot of tea in the afternoon. There are people who don't like hot liquids. I don't like cold liquids.

The interior basket is perfect for Lapsang Souchong.

My wonderful aunt, who passed away last year, bought this very silly teapot for me on the sly after I laughed at it in a store in California.

My friend Sally gave me this delightful art deco number. It says "coorsite No. 920" on the bottom, which means it was made by the H.F. Coors Pottery.

I have never made tea in this silver German teapot inherited from my grandparents. It belonged to my great-grandmother. My grandparents fled Germany before World War II and I am not sure how this teapot came to be in America. Like most immigrants they arrived in this country with nothing. My grandmother was very modern. She was a Freudian psychoanalyst and loved Danish modern design and modern art. I never saw her use this teapot.

I found this French teapot at Village Books in Washington, Maine and fell in love with it.

The teapot below was given to me by my mother. It is a from a child's tea set and has the phoenix design on it.
This is a very large teapot from my father, handmade by a potter in the Northwest.

I believe this is Japanese. There is a word for the type of unglazed pottery this is, but I can't find it right this minute an the web.

Here is another unglazed Japanese pot.

I have never made tea in either of those beauties above. But the one below I use all the time.

Arthritis in my thumbs has kept me from knitting for awhile. It seems better now, so I will pick up the needles again soon.

Also, I just began teaching a course on Shakespeare and the Renaissance at the Senior College in Belfast, Maine. I LOVE it!

Hope to see some of you on Saturday, April 30th at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival!
- Kathy