Maine Knitting Cruises


Thursday, May 9th, 2013

We are so lucky to live and work here.  Maine is a pretty place and every day we are surrounded by a large slice of transcendent beauty that not even poetry can do justice.  I could tell you about the drizzly days that are a monochromatic silvery color or the sudden break in the clouds over the harbor, between the breakwater and the islands, that allows golden shafts of light to gild the surface of the water with tiny iridescent sparkles like fish scales.  Or the lift on the heart and soul when you drive up Old County Road, hit the top of the hill and look out over the bay as you head down into Glen Cove…and you know without a doubt that you are blessed to be in this place, in this moment.  Maybe my poetic skills are just not up to the task, but really, these words on this screen can not take the place of seeing it for yourself.

And, for a time, if you play your cards right, you can see it for yourself.  We have several historic schooners moored in the harbor here, and they sometimes do knitting themed cruises.  We here at OTR are partnering with the schooner J&E Riggin this summer to make four specialty knitting sailing adventures happen.

 

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Doesn’t that look like fun?  Or if that’s not quite your style, how about this…


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I am actually teaching on the first cruise out this season.  We’ll be covering embellishments in a class I call Gilding The Lily.  Imagine, a short, focused workshop in the morning, then all the rest of the day to lounge around, hang out, trade inspirations or stories and knit.

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Oh…and did I mention that Captain Annie Mahl is an exquisite chef with two published cookbooks?  This will be my first time on the Riggin, but I have heard from others that the food is so good, you will eat ’til your sides creak.

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There are friendly deck hands… some of whom are knitters…who play guitars and sing in the evenings.  Then you’ll be gently lulled to sleep by the rhythm and swish of the ocean.  Dreamy, right?  And all in the context of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  What’s not to love?

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Wind and weather depending, we may even get to explore some islands or secluded beaches.  We may see seals or puffins or dolphins.  You never know what might come out to greet us.  But it’s certain that even long after you’ve returned to your ordinary life, at odd times, when everything seems cloudy or gray, these moments and these folks will break through like those golden sunbeams over steely water and lift your heart.  Like knitting, it’s not just for a day, but if you do it right it can last a lifetime.

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I can’t wait to get there, and I know I won’t want to leave.  But when I do have to put my feet back on land, I’ll be headed to the Maine Fiber Frolic, and your ticket to the Frolic is included in your package.  You can get all the particulars on the Riggin’s web site here.   And you can read more about past trips here.  When you call for your new reservation, be sure to mention Over The Rainbow Yarn.  They’ll offer you 25% off a new reservation.    Won’t you join me?

 
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Crazy Yarn Lady Opens Rescue Shelter


Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Okay, you’ve all seen the news items about people who have a gozillion cats and the animal protection agencies raid them and gather up all the kitties and take them to shelters?  And the people are invariable crying about how much they love their darlings?  And you know…the thing is…no one sets out to become a crazy cat lady.  No one swings in a hammock on some sunny afternoon when they’re ten years old and muses to themselves, “Gee, I think when I grow up I want to be a crazy cat lady.  Yeah, that sounds like a great thing to do with my life.”  No one looks at their collection of pets and thinks, “Oh, my goodness!   I don’t have enough white to balance the black.  And you know I don’t have a single ginger.  Maybe I should go find one in the perfect shade or orange marmalade.”  No one starts scouring their neighborhood looking for strays to build up their kitty population so they can enter some crazy cat lady olympics.  There are no categories for “Most Cats Living Under One Roof” in the Guiness Book.

Now I’m not saying I have a problem.  And I’m really not saying that you have a problem.  But I want to introduce you to a few friends of mine.

This is my favorite winter shawl/stole/scarf thingy.  I believe it is a basic Prayer Shawl Ministry pattern, and I believe the yarn is Manos del Uruguy in the Wildflower colorway…but I have no way of knowing.  See, I found this most comforting of friends at our local Goodwill Thrift Store.

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I also believe this is someone’s beginner project.  It is full of beginner basic mistakes.  The pattern is supposed to be a kind of garter/reverse garter basket weave.  You know…k3, p3 over an odd multiple of 3.  If you look closely, you can see where the knitter stopped in the middle of a row, then went the wrong way when she picked it back up again.  There are places where the garter turns into stockinette, and there’s some random short rows here and there.

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I saw it in the bin and my heart melted.  Someone put a lot of work and love and, yes, probably prayers into this, and it ended up donated to Goodwill.  Did the original knitter think it wasn’t  good enough to give away?  Did the recipient think it wasn’t good enough to keep?  Or maybe it was well love by both the knitter and the recipient, but the recipient has passed on and it was just tossed in with the old, unwanted clothes by someone who didn’t understand what they were holding in their hands.  No matter which way you look at it, it was imperative that I take it home with me and give it a life of usefulness and love.  It now has pride of place on my Island of Misfit Knit Goods.

My urge doesn’t stop at finished objects.  These are my newest pets.  Don’t look for them in the store; they are both discontinued and these might be the last unused skeins in the world.

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A small hospital in our area has a thrift store that helps with their funding.  A couple times a year they have a $5 Bag Sale.  You get a tall kitchen sized bag ad anything you can cram in there and still tie the bag shut, you get for $5.  I went with a friend, not intending to get anything, but I saw these luscious skeins stuck in a back corner of the sale area and they looked so sad.  Each color is enough to make a whole sweater.  Somewhere in the land, some knitter or crocheter put these beauties in their stash with some definite intention.  But they wound up donated to the thrift store and have been languishing on a shelf in a back room long enough to be a little dusty.  I could no more resist them than a crazy cat lady could resist the entire litter of kittens that just got dropped off on the side of the road near some local farm.  If yarn could have a tiny heartbreaking mew, I am sure I would have heard these darlings crying out in fear and confusion at being abandoned in such a lonely place…with no knitter to love them and help them reach their full potential.  You see where I’m going with this…

I know I am not alone in having a large stash.  I mean really large.  I mean, “She who dies with the most yarn, wins,” right?  Maybe I’m not alone in my urges to rescue lost or abandoned yarn or knit goods.  I know that, just like no one sets out to be a crazy cat lady, I never intended to give shelter to quite so many skeins.  But I can’t help it.  And I have no intention of stopping, so I suppose I am relieved that there is no Yarn Control Officer in my town who would raid my home and confiscate my darlings.  Beside, I found a great home for at least half of this latest batch.  Kristin has taken the copper colored Softwist from Berocco to make a summer sweater.  I may yet find a home for the white Isadora from Classic Elite.