On a sunny day in June, our Maine Knitting Cruise crowd took to the island armed with indigo dye and yarn. The process was magical, beautiful, creative, and a complete blast.
Below is the best of the process start to finish. Ending with the yarn hanging over the wood stove for a final dry. Of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without an all you can eat Maine lobster bake too!
The trip began with a visit to the Swan’s Island Company north of where the Riggin is docked. Jackie Ottino Graf, the resident dye-master and social media maven of the company, took us through the dyeing process, handed out complementary patterns with yarn, and shared her extensive knowledge.
The next day found us in the Rockland yarn shop, Over the Rainbow Yarn, owned by Mim Bird, resident knitting instructor extraordinaire, for last minute items and extra yarn (because who doesn’t need EXTRA yarn)? We left the dock shortly after for our 4-day adventure armed with more yarn than we could possible knit in as many days.
Our first day had us romping across the bay to feisty winds and feistier seas with a promise of sunnier days to come. Mim started everyone off with information on how to knit with multi-colored yarn, the difference between a tonal yarn and variegated yarn, plus many more tidbits and facts.
As with any knitting retreat, some dug right in to their project and managed to knit furiously, finishing on the last night. Others meandered their way through the day, working on the official project some and their pet projects as well.
I’ll post photos of the actual dyeing process next, because that cool event deserves it’s own post.
My hands are blue (from indigo), but my spirit is sunny
P.S. When you go to the Swan’s Island Company website, check out what schooner is the setting for some of the photos! And,yes, the model and the yarn are pretty too.
P.P.S. Our next two knitting cruises are June 19 to 22 and August 31 to September 5. You should come!
Recycling used clothing has to be among one of the most satisfying ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon (other than watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl – GO Pats!) Easy, frugal, fun and useful all at the same time, this sweater became a pair of hand warmers for Ella, a mini-skirt for Chloe and a cowl for me. Now the rule is that no one can wear their item on the same day. Fair enough.
In the winter time when the temperature drops, the air inside the house gets dry and my hair begins to stand up on it’s own from the static electricity, my skin also gets dry. After trying lotions and potions, some expensive, some not, my mom gave me a salt and oil scrub as a gift one year. I was hooked. Yet a jar of sea salt scrub costs over $10 per jar and lasts a month or less. Being a homemade sort of girl, I wondered if I could make it at home and have it be just as wonderful. And I can.
Homemade Salt Scrub
1 wide mouth jar that you can reach your fingers into to scoop
sea salt, medium grind not fine
canola oil, jojoba oil or almond oil
My favorite scent combinations are:
Lemon and Lavender
Rosemary and Orange
Fir Needle and Lemon
Rosemary and Lavender
Pour sea salt into the jar until it is 1/2-inch from the top of the jar. Add the oil in batches until it has completely soaked in and then add 10 drops each of the scents of your preference. Cover with a secure lid. This will last as long as the oil does, so more perishable oils like almond oil will maybe last a month or two where as canola oil will last much longer. However, if you like using this scrub as much as I do, it won’t even last a month before you are making more.
Mim is busy knitting away. If you haven’t yet already guessed, she’s designing a sweater for Jon. Why is it so huge, you say? Did Mim have a ‘minor’ measuring catastrophe? Well, no. Mim is a knitter extraordinaire. It’s actually going to be felted, which will make a super warm fabric for those breezy, on the wind days on the Riggin. Mim’s done a couple of interesting posts on the process already….
This one’s about gauge related to boiled wool and how different yarn and different tension matter hugely when it comes to all things measuring. Over the Rainbow Yarn.
Speaking of ‘on the Riggin,’ we have space left on both of our knitting cruises. You should come! We’d love to have you. Do both even; it’s too hard to choose! The dates are June 6 to 10 and/or June 23 to 25. Book now and receive a 15% discount! Click here for more details on either Maine Knitting Cruise.
Who better to be Rapunzel than a blonde-headed schooner girl with some extra manilla line just hanging around in the barn? Rapunzel’s hair turned out to be quite a project and at the end we were ALL glad that our hair is as short as it is!
First we unlay the line all the way down the driveway and then as it began to rain, we transferred the operation in doors. The braid ran the length of the house and then we needed to begin coiling to save on space.
My character, Rapunzel, was one of many on our school’s All Hallow’s Eve Walk through the woods. I spent a relaxing two hours up in a tree raising and lowering my braid and doing a good job of not falling! As any schooner girl who’s spent any time aloft should do.
Grumpy didn’t begin to describe how I was coming to feel about our 15 year old couch. My parents still have the couch they were gifted when they married and even more, the couches that were my grandparents. Yup, re-upolstered, but still have them. So when I looked at our couch, only 15 years old, piping beginning to show, fabric beginning to fray and the corners much maligned by our dear (grumble) cat, I didn’t like it.
Every morning when I wake up before the rest of the household to meander downstairs and enjoy my first cup of coffee to silence and the dark morning sky dawning to light, I sit right across from this couch. I was grumpy. Grumpy that the couch looked like this. Grumpy that ‘things just aren’t made like they used to be.’ Grumpy that a new couch is $1,000 or more.
Then one morning, a glimmer of a different attitude that is so much more in keeping with my positive self emerged. I like handmade things. I like upcycled, recycled, repaired and repurposed things. Why was I focusing on the things that I didn’t like instead of what I do like?
And so a new couch was born. One that makes me happy every time I look at it. Same couch. Different attitude and much more like it, thank you very much!
This is what I did:
From our local Salvation Army, I found a wool coat in a color that I thought would go with our couch.
I then made a pattern for the arm rest out of newspaper.
Cut out the wool fabric.
Sewed it on by hand with a hidden stitch. And the best news of all is that the cat doesn’t want to scratch on these repairs!
My sewing machine whirred away for a while this Christmas season in an attempt to give small, meaningful gifts from the heart rather than the pocket book. These coasters were one such gift and I’ll be posting about others over the next few months. For those who have sailed on the Riggin already, the striped fabric may look familiar. I’m not going to tell you where it came from, you have to guess! I will say that the fabric is upcycled. And just as it jazzes me to create dinner out of what looks like “nothing to eat” in the fridge, it was just as fun to create something out of fabric I may have otherwise thrown away like last week’s leftovers.
Fabric remnants in 1, 2 or 3 different matching fabric.
Thin quilt batting or ugly fabric that you don’t want to see.
Cut 4, 5 inch squares from fabric 1 (the back.)
Cut 4, 4 1/2 inch squares from batting or ugly fabric.
If you’d like for the front and back to be the same fabric, cut 8, 5 inch squares of the same fabric.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 5 inch rectangles the back fabric.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 inch rectangles of fabric 2.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 inch rectangles of fabric 3.
Sew the small squares of fabric 2 and 3 together first with a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all.
Sew the two squares to the 2 3/4 x 5 rectangles and press.
With wrong sides facing, leave a 2 inch opening, and sew the front and back pieces together around the outer edge. Snip the corners.
Invert as you would to make a pillow and then insert the batting material. This took some patience to smooth out the batting and not have wrinkles.
Fold the opened seam closed and top stitch at both a 1/4 inch and right on the edge. I also added an x, but you could easily do circles or another free form design.
Our knitting cruise on the J. & E. Riggin, taught this year by Bill Huntington, is from June 9-11, 2011. Bill owns Hope Spinnery yarns and is a knitting wizard. Last year when I boarded the boat after getting the girls off to school, Bill was surrounded by rosy-cheeked, vibrant women, all clamoring at once to tell me what they’d learned or show me what they’d knit. A happier group I’ve yet to see – loud belly laughs and hands moving furiously were what occupied the galley after dinner that night.
Join us and share in the fun as we sail, knit and eat our way along the Maine Coast! It’s the only trip in June that still has space and from now until June 1st we are offering a Buy One, Get One Half Off Special. Call 800-869-0604 for more details.
If you can’t make this trip maybe our Sept. 5-10 knitting cruise with Maggie Radcliffe fits your schedule.
I’ve fallen in love with Quince and Company Yarn, sold in their flagship store Knit Wit in Portland, Maine the Munjoy Hill neighborhood. A friend and I were scheduled to have lunch one day at Duck Fat (just go and have the fries, oh, and a shake – heaven) and in she walks with this cowl that I HAD to own. And what do you know? It’s hand knit with Quince and Co. yarn. And also what do you know? The yarn is sold just around the corner, to which I hied myself after proper sustenance and bought my very own yarn. When I got home, I promptly began making cowls with Quince and Co. pattern. I was so excited about my first one that I couldn’t wait to weave the bitter ends in, I just tucked ‘em up and wore it. Oh, shhh. I’ll weave them in eventually.
Maybe we could knit a cowl on one of our knitting cruises? Hmm. I need to think about this a little more….