Friday, February 27, 2009

All things sheepish

Motherhouse in Cornwall is offering a number of "back-to-the-earth" workshops - called "traditional arts" - the next of which is on wool gathering. Demonstrations will be offered on carding, spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting, and felting with natural wool.
There is also a Sourdough Starter Course April 11, Organic Gardening May 9 and many others.

Save for visiting Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, I've never seen carding done. I do remember going many years ago, when my first child was very small, and being utterly drawn to the process, even pinching a little piece of carded wool to take home.
It's ironic I'm allergic to wool. Maybe I was a shepherd in a past life.
For information, e-mail, see or call Debra Tyler at (860) 672-0229.
The posting caught my eye in the Edible Nutmeg winter 2009 issue (

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crafty mamas

The new March-April 2009 issue of Mothering magazine ( has just arrived.
Inside, there's a big feature written by Jean Van't Hul (who blogs as the Artful Parent) about five creative women across the country who use homespun crafts as a way to stay close to nature.
Some are mothers, even a stay-at-home (called "unschooling")who sews most of the clothing her husband and four children wear. She's decorated her workspace with vintage smocks and dresses, which give it a sense that the items lovingly created by women in the past hold court with her newly inspired ideas.

Some of you may already be familiar with the immensely popular Amanda Blake Soule's blog, SouleMama, who lives on the Maine coast.
The inset photo of the crocheted beginnings of a ecru-colored recycled fabric rug has even got me thinking about picking up my own hooks again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

At the crossroad

The town known at "Connecticut's Crossroads," because it sits at the crossroads of Route 9 and Interstate 91 in the center of the state, has a knitting club that meets on Friday nights.
I haven't visited yet, but I wonder if someone who has would fill us in.
The Cromwell Belden Public Library, 39 West St., (860) 632-3460, Adult Knit Club meets on the second Friday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Arch Room.

Knitters are invited to join other fiber enthusiasts and bring what is on their needles or a completed project to share.
Enter through the Town Hall entrance since the library is closed Friday nights.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


My sister-in-law just announced she's having a baby.
Congrats! I told her.
Then thought: Oooohhh! A chance to make quick, tiny sweaters!
I picked up Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders and found just what I was looking for in Inca-Dincadoo Organic Cotton Baby Cardigan designed by Sarah Keller. It calls for medium-weight yarn knit. I had at home already Farmhouse Yarns' I am Allergic to Wool in Ecru and spent most of the day Saturday knitting it up.
I got three-quarters through the project.
It's so delightful to knit, I think I'll do a pair.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Knitting in 19th century

A program, "The Most Easy and Graceful Employment" Hand-knitting in the 19th Century, will be presented by Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. in the Music Room of the Stevens-Frisbie House.
The Cromwell Historical Society talk will offer period photographs and engravings, instruction books and period patterns, original pieces and reproductions to illustrate the depth of the art as it became associated more with leisure than with necessity. People may bring questions, comments and knitting.

Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
For information, see or call (860) 635-0501.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Big and bold

Tanis Gray designed the bulky lace scarf on the cover of the new issue of VOGUEknitting, winter 2008.
Anyone who reads fashion magazines is familiar with these Gulliver-sized sweaters, scarves and shawls — and if you’re a knitter, you’ve undoubtedly yearned to make one, if only for the rapid results size 19 needles produce.
The only problem is that luxury yarns are expensive, and you need an awful lot to complete these projects.

In fact, the instructions call for 20 100-gram hanks. At an average price of $10.80 per skein, you can really rack up quite a bill.
The bold pattern is knit in Blue Sky Alpacas’ Frost — the perfect robin’s-egg blue. (
In my newfound spirit of making do with what is at hand whenever possible, I opened my stash to find a bulky substitute.
I discovered six 60-gram skeins of Plymouth Yarn Yukon, 35 percent mohair, 35 percent wook and 30 percent acrylic, in beige, cream and rosy pink, then alternated the 24-row pattern blocks. The result is the warmest of neck coverings, more a cowl than a full-on scarf, due to its final length, 42 by 13 inches.
I downloaded the instructions to block the scarf, as I have never done it before (
I think not using a single color really affected the three-dimensional effect.
Tonight, I’ll be turning my king-sized bed into a blocking station.
For information, see

Monday, February 9, 2009

The baffling resiliency of little ones

Last night at about 2 a.m., I heard my bedroom door squeak, then open slightly. What always emerges in the wee hours is a sleepy 5-year-old who scrambles into my bed, settles himself under covers, then falls asleep. This time I wait.
Then hear that sound parents know all too well: the splattering of stomach contents onto the floor. The reaction is instantaneous: the mad search for a receptacle of any type, then something to wipe the face afterward.
I expected to touch burning skin at his forehead but found none. Strange, I thought, drifting off to sleep; kindergartner glued to my left side. In the morning, I thought for sure I’d be trying to juggle a little boy home from school with my and my husband’s work schedules, but the sun rose and ... T was fine. Screaming obnoxiously for no reason, bugging his brother, doing cartwheels on the bed.
I’d been through this phenomenon with his older brother many times, yet every time it leaves me shaking my head.
It feels so ... expeditious. Expell offending substance, resume life of constant fun. Mom cleans it up.
I did try to get dad to help, once morning arrived. (Yes, I covered the soil with a towel, hoping it would disappear by morning).
“I was up all night with T,” I moaned. “Will you clean it up? It’s all over the door, walls and floor!”
Dad: “No, I’ll let you do that.”
The silver lining? I did get T to finally change those black jeans with the tattered hems he insists on wearing for days at a time. (He’s convinced he’s a skateboarder).
I told him he threw up. And it dried overnight.
It worked.
Sort of — off into his bedroom, T leaped, changing into his other pair of black jeans.
Hopefully the teacher won’t notice.