Welcome to Over The Rainbow Yarn, where your fiber dreams come true. Centrally located in the Mid-Coast between Camden and Damariscotta, right in the heart of downtown Rockland, we are curating a collection of quality yarn and tools to support all fiber artists.
From the most inexperienced beginner just making his or her first stitches, to the most accomplished knitter or crocheter working on his or her latest, most complicated creation, we have everything you need to bring your most cherished wooly vision into reality. Needles, hooks, patterns, books, and yarn, glorious yarn in lace weight, sport, DK and bulky, wool, alpaca, silk, blends, even cashmere! Come see us when you have some free time. We’re waiting to inspire you.
In addition, we offer individual and group knitting and crocheting lessons. We’ve taught clients from a wide range of ages, as many have either found knitting or crocheting to be a worthwhile hobby or a valuable skill to learn, while more advanced peers have improved their technique and knowledge base to make more intricate pieces, then use them for personal use, as gifts, or even as a way to earn money.
Regardless of whether you are looking for knitting supplies, or you want instruction to hone your craft, a trip to our yarn shop in Rockland, ME, can help you do just that.
This is the Tulip Pattern from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.For those of you who are familiar with the collection, that’s the blue one or the first one. It’s on page 25 and is worked as follows:
Over a multiple of 3
Rows 1 and 3 (RS) – Knit
Rows 2 and 4 (WS) – Purl
Rows 5 and 7 – K1, * p1, k2; rep from *, end p1, k1.
Rows 6 and 8 – P1, *k1, ps; rep from *, end k1, p1.
Rows 9 and 11 – *P2, k1; rep from *.
Rows 10 and 12 – *P1, k2; rep from *.
And it looks like this:
It’s not super stretchy so it won’t nip in like straight up ribbing does, but has a combination of knit and purl stitches that makes it lie flat. It gives a bit of textural interest to an otherwise plain stockinette fabric, or is subtle enough not to draw too much attention on something more complex. It could also be used as an all over fabric. The example you’re looking at is still on the needles, but I’m thinking it will flatten out a bit with washing and blocking. All in all, a sweet edge treatment.
A man approached me at Farmer’s Market today wearing a worn-looking shirt with the sleeves cut off, work jeans and no shoes. He was middle-aged, his face was handsome, tanned and deeply lined and he was rather muscular.
I stood behind my tables covered with brightly-colored knitted *things* and smiled, hoping he was going to buy something for the wife that had wandered past to the vegetable stand.
He fingered several of the hats, then a cowl before saying, “I started teaching myself to knit this past winter. Can’t say’s I’m gonna remember any of it but I ‘tend to pick it up again come cold weather.”
I tried to swallow my surprise as suddenly as it appeared – he did not look like the ‘knitter type’.
“Oh!” was about all I could manage at first, then I got ahold of myself and added, “That’s great!”
Because I am a brilliant conversationalist.
“Yeah…” he continued, looking first at the delicately stitched wool and silk scarf I had resting on the farthest edge of my stand, then turning his head towards the bright sky with a squint, “I like it well enough, just decided to try it. Supposed to be relaxing but my tension is so tight still. Gotta work on that…”
“That will get better. Just relax your shoulders. Breathe. It takes practice. My husband was the same way when he started. You’ll get it.” I smiled again.
“I really liked to sew when I was a kid, then I worked as a mariner and you know a mariner ain’t worth his salt ‘less he knows his way around with a needle and thread…” He waited, leaning his head forward as if to remind me that it was my turn to say something.
“Ah yes. I think that’s wonderful. I think all men should know a little something of the fiber arts…” I could feel my ‘men should knit too’ speech coming on. “You know, knitting used to belong to men for the most part. It’s only relatively recently become a ‘womanly art’. It’s like spinning and weaving – some cultures considered them too sacred to be given over to the ladies. I certainly don’t agree with *that*, but I don’t believe that men have lost any right to it by sharing with the rest of us. It’s your birthright – keep at it, you’ll get.”
I offered him a couple of simple patterns to work on and then he left.
He was the first of several men who stood and talked to me knowledgeably about knitting. I am so impressed by the rich tradition of knitting that’s to be found here in Midcoast Maine. I am fascinated and inspired to hear the stories of these gentlemen who are either drawn to knitting personally or have stories to tell of their grandmothers and grandfathers or parents knitting thick woolen mittens, socks and sweaters for the lobstermen to wear to keep their hands from freezing off. They hold this history very dearly, I can tell by the light that comes into their eyes when they talk about it.
One man told me today, “You don’t know how important those mittens were! The fishermen used to say, ‘if you lost your mitten, you’d lose your hand’. I remember my mother knitting thick mittens using wool spun in the grease** and then boiling them to get ‘em good and thick. Then my wife and I raised sheep and would shear them and then she’d spin the wool and make mittens to sell… The fishermen needed them. Acted just like wetsuits, get their mittens soaking wet at first then put them on and they’d keep a layer of warmer water by their skin. Pull their gloves off at the end of the day and their hands would be steaming warm.”
Another, older man mourned the fact that, “…nobody knows about wool anymore. Wool is perfect. Wears like iron. I hate to say it, I hate to say it but that polar fleece stuff is good. I admit it – that polar fleece stuff is warm and light, but it still ain’t wool. What happened to the wool? I remember having wool sweaters my mom made me being so warm and thick they were waterproof. Polar fleece is something – but it sure ain’t wool. We’ve lost that.”
Hopefully, we haven’t lost it completely. I’ve never knitted a pair of mittens in my life, but this man’s sparkling eyes convinced me that it’s time to learn. And not just any mittens. I’m going to make traditional, boiled wool fishermen’s mittens.
“You think you could make me mittens? Wool mittens?” He asked.
“You want them fulled? Good and thick?”
“Oh yeah – I didn’t want to ask. No one knows about that anymore. I’d love a pair of thick mittens like they used to have.”
“I think I can do that.”
I took some measurements and hope to start them some time next week.
I wasn’t born here, I don’t consider this my heritage by blood, but I am a knitter to the core and feel a deep kinship with anyone who has worked with fiber to create something that has a legacy of its own. We knitters are often remembered by the mittens we make – I don’t know much about that man’s grandma, not even a name, but I know she used her skills and her birthright as a creator to make something that helped to keep a vital industry thriving and alive. She probably didn’t romanticize it that much, she probably said, like her grandson,
“The fishermen need them.”
** ‘In the grease’ means all of the natural lanolin has not been removed from the yarn. “My wife would wash the yarn in something like Ivory soap, enough to get it clean but not enough to strip the grease from it. Made it waterproof, sure did.”
We’re having a trunk show at The Shop this Wednesday (August 20th) starting at 10:00am and running right on through the day until 7. Come try on some gorgeous goodies and don’t worry – we’ll all be drooling and cooing like babes…
Swan’s Island Yarn Company is based right here on the coast of Maine, they say of themselves;
“The Swans Island process is a labor of love and a meditation on the beauty and value of a handmade life..”
We like this.
They are a certified organic mill and produce their luscious array of colors using only natural dyes;
“Each one is subtle, sophisticated and has a richness not found in other solid, chemically dyed yarns. The history of natural dyeing is a long and rich one and we are proud to be carrying on this time-honored textile tradition.”
This event is definitely something you don’t want to miss – so come on down! We’ll be looking for you…
*quotes taken from the Swan’s Island website: www.swansislandcompany.com
The thermometer says that it’s a lowly 61 degrees out. The wind is tearing out to sea and threatening to take the house, the trees and several well-meaning telephone poles with it. Everything is trembling and huddling close to land. There is thick fog hugging the ground and the raindrops are splitting mid-air, shattering in the force of the gale mid-air. The gulls have taken shelter in the backyard, roosting in the grass and looking like a well-tended field of puffy, white marshmallows.
I think I’ll knit something. Something woolen – something for the winter.
I usually start the bulk of my winter projects in the blistering heat of August, with sweaty hands and ambitious heart, plotting and planning and casting on in order to get everything ready for the arrival of Cold and then, before I’ve had time to catch my breath, Christmas. It’s a treat to be knitting in August and not have my yarn stick in between my fingers like tacky spaghetti.
Truth is, I’d be knitting even if it were 100 degrees out. I’d be knitting something distressingly cozy and warm, my fingers would hate me and everyone who saw me would say, “I can’t believe you’re Knitting in the Summer!”
I can’t believe it, either – but here I am. Knitting in the Summer.
This season I have several projects to get onto needles before time gets spread too thin by the autumn; a bright red hat knit in a bold cable pattern for my son as well as a new sweater – the one I knit last summer when I was pregnant for him has been outgrown – a sweater for me in a gorgeous plumb color, and then a sweater for my husband’s cousin’s dog, Eva. Eva’s sweater is also going to be plumb-colored, but that wasn’t done on purpose. There are sundry other little things I’d like to knit for Christmas presents, and sometime next March I’ll give up on meeting the deadline and give them as inappropriate summer birthday presents. Because who doesn’t want a pair of hand-knit, wool boot socks for their birthday… in July?
Perhaps an August will come when I won’t eagerly get out my patterns and try to remember just how frigidly cold it will someday be as I slip woolen yarns into my project bag. But that is not *this* August. *This* August I will get started on my winter projects with my customary fervor and knit on.