Busman’s holiday

I took a break from Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse and went to visit Monhegan Island and its lighthouse. I have wanted to visit for years because we can often see it from Seguin Island and I romanticize about living there.

It is located 12 miles offshore and boasted a population of 64! in the 2020 census. on the way we passed Marshall Point Lighthouse.

I only had time for a day trip on the mail boat but it was well worth it. I visited the lighthouse, a few galleries and walked along the dramatic, southern cliffs.

The lighthouse museum devoted quite a bit of space to the women who lived there, which is often omitted from the histories. Maybe because it is HIStory! There were various kitchen implements, a spinning wheel and a couple of treadle sewing machines.

Fog settled in for my drive back to Acadia the next day and nearly obscured the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, a cable stay bridge. I know of two people who are afraid to drive over it. Maybe it would be less frightening if they couldn’t see it.

I sprinkled chili powder on my dahlias before I left and every night since. I’m not sure what the pollinators think but it has kept the deer from chomping off the flowers.

Drop spinning is a productive activity while I talk to people at Bass Harbor. Here are some of the fruits of my labors. Just like lighthouse keepers of yore.

Although I slept through the northern lights display, sunset was beautiful from the porch last night. I slipped out among the visitors, and snapped a few photos. Everyone was so busy taking their own pictures they didn’t even see me.

March came and went as a lion

Another spring snow storm.  Not a blizzard but lots of wet, heavy snow bending trees and fences, and obscuring views. It is in juxtaposition to spring blooms indoors.


Looks like “we” will be manhandling the snow blower again. Especially since Tim has a small concert here tonight.  I need a break from my latest endeavors anyway.

I fell into a rabbit hole that held a pin loom.  These are small hand held looms that make small woven squares.  But they are addicting.  One website I found said they are just like potato chips, you can’t make just one.


Now I’m puzzling over piecing them into a baby garment.  I found my 1930’s edition of 2″ and 4″ looms on ebay and they even came with some finished blocks.  The pattern books from that era are a hoot.  I could make a coat for myself, blankets, rugs… The mind boggles.


After I made a couple of hats on my Passap knitting machine, it needed something else to do.  Here’s a cotton blanket for a new baby.


These sweet blocks were a fun knit for a charity knitting project.  I finally found and joined a fiber guild.  Who cares if it meets an hour away – at night.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  So many talented fiber artists there.

Here’s another obsessive project.  I knit 6 strips on, ahem, my other knitting machine, 3 at a time, then wove them into this cute little ball.  OK, maybe I have a bit of cabin fever.


And we can never have enough rugs.  Really, I am trying to reduce my stash.  I had these sock loops and even had some unused warp.  They go together nicely.  The classes I took at Red Stone Fiber Glen have paid off.  I can dress a loom with finesse these days.

The stash I am not using has been squished so at least the volume, if not the quantity, has been reduced.  Tim picked up 5 gallon, lidded spackle buckets for me and I stored my 3 clean fleeces in them.  For another day.  Maybe next March?

Three bags full

I hit my tipping point.  Last year I bought a beautiful fleece at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. Long grey locks with lots of crimp and clean with some lanolin.  

Then a few weeks ago, a fellow spinner gifted me this beautiful, clean fleece, a 4th place Romney.  Long locks, beautiful color and did I already say, clean. 

Finally, the other day we received a box from Terhune Orchards.  I thought it might be sweet, NJ peaches. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found 10 pounds of raw fleece. 

That was it. I had to clean these fleeces. I bought a plastic bucket and tub and a bottle of Power Scour. Yesterday was sunny with a light breeze so I broke up the day by processing two of them. The third is so clean I plan to comb it lightly and spin in the greece. 

Here’s my production line. 

I soaked them in hot water with the power scour, rinsed them, put them in pillowcases and spun them in the washer, then hung them from the clothes line in little hammocks made from sheets. It was too breezy to spread them on the ground. 

After a day and a half indoors, it’s finally sunny and calm enough to let them finish drying on the front porch.  

   My fingers twitch at the thought of all the wonderful spinning and knitting I have in my future. 

Island crafts

It’s another beautiful fall day, 50’s and breezy. A great day to be stuck on an island.

No visitors or crickets yesterday but a couple of float planes passed overhead.

I wandered through the museum and thought about how keepers and their families spent their time. Just like me, there was food preparation, although they had a barn, animals and a garden. And down time to pursue hobbies, fiber and otherwise.

This linen is displayed in the museum. The center panel was taken from a linen cover, which protected the lens and oil during the day. Mrs. DeShon crocheted the lace around it in the 1940’s.

This quilted panel was donated by local ladies. It’s hard to see but there’s a lighthouse in the stitching.

Dorothy Hart made this trolly in the 1950’s from scrap material and used it as a planter.

I frequently scrounge around looking for things to improvise since we never have exactly what you need. Here’s my weed snipper strap.

And a mat from old rope.

And my swift and nostespinne.
My food requires some improvising too. For the first time ever, the cupboards were bare when we arrived. In years past, there was always lots of spices, oils and vinegars. This year, not even a shaker of salt was left behind. I totally support this but it caught me unaware. I had to bum salt and pepper.

So the first night, cashews provided the salt for braised pork. I’ve put aside some wine to use in salad dressing. Gingersnap cookies provided the spice in an apple pie. And it’s all delicious.<br

What is a vacation from vacations?

Work! I have to confess I complained a little to Tim about all this travel and packing. We’ve been home from Alaska for 6 weeks and during that time, I’ve taken 4 trips, all of which required some degree of planning. And here we go again.

I had a chance to discuss my fiber planning and travels with Kelley Petkun on the Knitpicks podcast last week. You can find the episode here

This weekend, I’m getting ready to head to Seguin Island again.

Friends stay at our house and watch the cats, which is great, but I have to get the house ready. The fridge is almost empty, a little prematurely.

We’ve taken our last sail on Boreas for the season.

I’ve been trying to spin an hour a day. Here is some alpaca fiber I am spinning straight from the locks.

Yesterday, I wound several skeins of my handspun, wool-mohair blend for socks and kool aid dyed corriedale for a child’s hat.

My clothes are packed, I’ll spend some time working on projects I am leaving behind today and, oh yes, plan our food. Tomorrow I take a vacation from vacation before my next vacation.



I realize there aren’t enough hours in the day but managed to find a new addictive habit over the summer: rope work. I view it as another form of weaving.



My first trip back to the farm to pick up our share found a whole slew of vegetables. I’ve learned that when there is surplus, take as much as you want to preserve because next week may be too late. Which means I was preserving, canning, pickling and freezing this weekend. So far I dried tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, canned tomato sauce and blanched and froze corn.

Next I MUST make more bread and butter pickles because they and watermelon rind pickles are my favorites. I still have watermelon rind pickles in the cupboard. I bought a book, Small Batch Preserving, last summer and it’s a great resource. I only make 4-6 pints at a time.


We received a gift from Terhune Orchards of beautifully packed, softball sized, New Jersey peaches. No pictures because they made their way into blintzes, two pies and at least three were eaten au natural by me. I was a juicy, drippy mess and now they are all gone.

My compost pile jumped the gun. It’s sprouting melons before it’s even ready. Another bonus for our bounty.



Betwixt and between

I feel a sense of urgency to finish (and start) a few projects. I’m leaving my loom and sewing machine when we head out to Alaska. Happily my knitting travels well and I already shipped a small quilt I intend to hand quilt. Just have to remember needles, thread, thimble and hoop.

I finished weaving a large throw blanket from a project in Weaver’s Craft. It’s made with Plymouth Encore, which is a machine washable wool acrylic blend. It works perfectly. It’s long enough and put the recipient right to sleep.

There was enough warp leftover to weave a small baby blanket.

Next on the loom are two rugs for the log cabin. 420 ends! The reed is sleyed (I love fiber’s archaic terms) and I’ll take my time dressing the loom.


My knitting consists of a sweet cotton skirt. First skirt adventure. It is knit in tiers with 40% increase in stitches with each tier. I’m on the fifth and final tier and don’t think my needles could hold much more. The pattern is Sea Glass Skirt from Yarn in the Farms. They have a number of cute patterns for the warmer months. I’m considering knitting a dress next.

My cats love quilts. It doesn’t matter what season it is, if I quilt it they will come. Here’s Loki atop my son’s quilt.
He sits contentedly WHILE I machine quilt and move the quilt all over the place. Go figure.

I hardly have time to use my new hula hoop.

My fiber is killing my garden

Maybe not killing the garden but, at least, preventing it from flourishing. I should be out there weeding and planting despite our November-like weather.

But the loom beckons me to finish a blanket I have started after “tying one on”.

20130611-074714.jpg There are two more weaving projects in the pipeline. Next up – not sure of the order yet – two rugs for the cabin and a few more placemats for my darling daughter. Her first set was a trial and I only ended up with three plus a little mat.

20130611-075246.jpgNot exactly great for entertaining. The mat will become a purse but she needs at least one and probably three more. While I’m at it, I’ll make a few ( more than three) for myself because the colors are so cool.

I just finished knitting a bathmat and a scarf. The bath mat

is from Knit 2 Together, by Tracy Ullman and Mel Carter, which has several go-to patterns in it. I love the baseball hoody,

20130611-075702.jpgballet slippers

20130611-075855.jpgand little cape. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.
The scarf is my second Swing scarf, knit with Ripple by Tahki. I gave my first one away and wanted a replacement. It’s a quick knit and a nice spring (summer here) scarf.

Next up, I’m going to knit a cotton linen skirt. Call me crazy. I’m obsessed.