Deep Freeze, Raw Emotions

Deep Freeze on Messalonskee 3/2/2021

My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.

We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.

Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!

I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!

I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!

I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!

We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)

Gone knitting!

Bernie’s Mittens

Thanks, Bryan!

We have all seen the memes of Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his now iconic recycled sweater mittens and Vermont-made “snow jacket” at the inauguration of Joe Biden last week. Bernie’s been traveling EVERYWHERE!!!

Thankfully, my sweet friend, Bryan in MA sent this photo to my personal Facebook page because this old gal hasn’t got a clue, nor, frankly, has she got the gumption, to figure out how to do this! It makes me giggle and we all need a good giggle now and again, right?

I’m pictured here in my me-made lobster mask and my hand-knit Sunset Highway sweater. (Click on the link to head on over to my Ravelry project page. Email me if you can’t do Ravelry and I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions.)

WIPs … What to carry into the New Year


My Amarylis is Blooming! Happy, bright colors help in Maine winters!

I started 2020 with a list of WIPs.

  1. Dolores by Franklin Habit
  2. Bristol Ivy’s shawl
  3. Clog Socks (one was done, this was the second one needed)
  4. Lobster Hat
  5. Hope Cardigan
  6. Good Karma Shawl
  7. Mitts for Flo
  8. Battenberg Blanket
  9. Socks for Rose
  10. Maine Mittens

This year I finished the The Shape of a Bay shawl. It was a kit that I bought at Medomak Fiber Arts Camp two summers ago. it got sidelined but I really wanted to finish it and wear it! It’s a beauty! I also finished the socks for my granddaughter, Rose.

Shape of a Bay (pre-blocking)

I didn’t even begin two of the “WIPs” … so, do they even count as WIPs if I didn’t ever start them? Maybe they should have been put on a wish list rather than a WIPs list. Anyway, the Good Karma shawl and mitts for Flo have not even seen the needles yet. Needless to say, I’ll carry them along.

I frogged the clog sock because who knew, all those months later, what size I made (I didn’t mark my pattern well before I put it in time out.) I also frogged the Maine mittens. I have two skeins of Bartlett yarn and ton of stashed fingering bits and bobs enough for clog socks. I won’t carry them forward but I will eventually make the clog socks again (I’ve felted a couple of pairs) and I really want to make the mittens but they were too hard on my hands this year.

Remaining on my needles, or off of them and in time out, are Dolores, Lobster Hat, Hope Cardigan and the Battenberg Blanket.

I got some good progress done on the Hope Cardigan this year and I’m excited to keep going on it. I like the weight and the different construction of this sweater so I’ll take it with me into 2021. I’ll also commit to finishing Dolores (and the outfits that I have bought) and the Battenberg Blanket. Although I won’t make any more tiny granny squares, I’ll just attach them and make do with whatever size it makes. The assembly is what I find way too tedious!

Hope Cardigan in process

I had 10 WIPs on my list in my new Bullet Journal planner. I listened to the Yarniacs podcast this morning and I decided to look at those WIPs and decide how many I really want/NEED to carry along into the New Year.

I have decided to cut my WIPs down to

  1. Dolores
  2. Hope Cardigan
  3. Battenberg Blanket
  4. Fine Sand Sweater
  5. Arne & Carlos Quarantine KAL cushion

I’ll add Mitts for Flo, Good Karma shawl and Fish #3 to my list of things I want to knit … maybe my Ravelry queue would be a more appropriate place for them to sit since they’ve never been started and they’re not technically WIPs. That will feel better.

While I was adding to my Ravelry queue, I deleted a bunch of projects/patterns that I had marked as favorites or put on my queue and that lightened my load a bit more. Now, if I could only get that efficiency in the house … closets, drawers, pantry …

As we step out of 2020 and into 2021, I’d like to wish each of you a lightened load. This has been a trying time and it sounds like masks and distancing will continue in the future. It’s all about how we carry these “restrictions” with us. I choose to take the blessings with me – our health, my love of family, gratitude for a roof over our heads and food in our pantry among others – When I can do that I make my life easier and happier. Light, love and laughter keep me smiling (and I can see it in the eyes of others!) I’m so grateful to be a maker this year. Making – knitting, baking, sewing, etc. keeps me focused on a forward-looking task. While I am sometimes fearful, I am mostly content and I wish you the same contentment. Thank you for reading my blog and I appreciate the sweet comments and encouragement you’ve offered over this year. I know 2021 is going to be another great year. Cheers!

Making Stories

This year I’ve been touched by a few, perhaps many, different podcasts, people and situations all over the world. The inspiration helped me get creative a few times this year but until this week, it’s been sitting around my studio. Unfinished.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an amazingly bright, strong woman who lived an exceptional life. She was thoughtful and fair as a judge and I respected her perseverance. I dug deep into my crafting stash and found some felt and lace and made a pin. I like it even more as an ornament. I’ll remember RBG each time I place this simple ornament on our tree.

RBG ornament. Felt, lace and wool.

I finished the stitching on this mitten ornament, bought as a kit, a year or so ago. It’s one of a set of mittens but I’ve only made one. I probably won’t make another. This one is finished and on the tree this year. While it wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, I was inspired to get it hung on the tree after spending more time than in the past at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2019 Wool Felt Mitten Ornament with poinsettia

Today, my sweet and talented husband helped me to make a new project. Inspired by Arne and Carlos and their “Sit and Knit for a Bit” Advent series this year. Arne and Carlos made this on their podcast but I first saw Kate (from The Last Lonely Home podcast) make it on her podcast. International inspiration! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one to put out on our boathouse. My husband cut the boards for me from his wood stash. (The family that stashes together stays together? LOL) and today I put it together. We need a short extension cord so that we can plug it in, but here it is during the day.

Arne & Carlos’ Advent Star
Our Christmas star at night

This afternoon I made the second of two up-cycled tote bags from bird seed bags. They’re so strong and so pretty, I couldn’t resist.

I have begun to stuff and finish the first six ornaments from Arne & Carlos’ Advent KAL – 24 new Christmas balls! I’m happy that I’ve finished six and I’ll work on finishing the rest over the next few months.

I started the repair of my daughter’s quilt that was chewed by her dog. It needs a couple more patches and a new border. Once the quilt top is finished, I’ll take it to a local sewing studio to quilt it on her long arm machine, I think.

It feels good to get some of these “old” projects wrapped up. The New Year is a good time to start fresh … so this lazy lady needs to get some projects finished! Inspiration from everywhere!

Gone finishing!

My Fingers Smell Like Garlic

“Fire Cider”

This morning I made “Fire Cider” or “Master Tonic” from scratch. I even made it from memory (which may not be a good thing.) I saw the recipe on a Youtube channel that I follow and found the vlog about it here.

I had ordered all of the ingredients from the grocery store (believe it or not!) and so today I just had to process all the ingredients and put them in my jars to “stew”! In a few weeks, this will be strained, and I’ll add a bunch of local honey to make it (even a little bit) palatable. This stuff is rough to swallow, I’ll be honest, but this winter is bound to be a doozy!

Gone knitting!