Friday, August 29, 2014


What a lovely morning!
Just back from a wonderful vacation in Bayside, a small vacation village on the shores of Penobscot Bay near Belfast, Maine. 

Maine is a source of many wonderful things. The number of small farmers is growing and the state is planning to get up to 40 percent of its produce from local farms in the next decade or so.
Good Karma Farm

Being on vacation and relaxing, doing some hiking, running, and reading were high on my agenda. But I was also curious to see what the local area had in terms of yarn. I was not disappointed.

Good Karma Yarn
Delightfully, a sheep and alpaca farm was only a few miles away. Good Karma Farm is an all-in-one farm from sheep and alpaca to fleece to spun and dyed product. And they love to have visitors. My sister, husband and I found it fascinating. Their small mill is one of only a few left in the New England area. Lovely, lovely yarn. They'd had a great season and so had limited quantities of their yarns, but my sister and I were able to get enough for a sweater each. I was delighted to support them. Make sure you check out the video of their operations.

Another yarn delight was the home of String Theory in Blue Hill. I'd come across this yarn at a yarn shop in Bethesda, Maryland, and knit a sweater for a friend and two pair of socks. It was really fun to see the store and to meet one of the women who run it. They make deep, luscious colors.
String Theory yarn

Getting to this store reminded me of my trek in Scotland to locate the Skye Shilasdair Shop. They exist in remote areas that require concerted effort to find. Of course, when you do arrive, it's like opening a treasure chest.

Rural Maine seems so civilized. They have "honor-system" produce stands where you pick up vegetables, fruit, eggs, bread, jellies, etc. and put your money in a can--sometimes an open jar so in case you need to make change.
Purple Fleece yarn

We came across a remote yarn shop while driving to meet my sister's friend at String Theory. We passed a little sign that said Purple Fleece yarn shop. We decided to stop on our way back. This lovely shop is situated in a home near a lake in Stockton Springs, a village that you could easily miss. We were grateful we pursued it. Along with the full gear for a knitting store, she has her own yarns that knit into lovely designs plus supplies for weavers and dyers. She is a weaver and has many items for sale.
Purple Fleece Yarn Shop

Of course, Belfast, Maine sports its own yarn shop: Heavenly Socks yarn. I discovered this thriving shop during my first visit to Belfast in 2008 and I always look forward to shopping there during my Maine vacations, even though they may be years apart.

And just so that you don't think that's all I did during this wonderful week, we also climbed Mt. Megunticook and kayaked.

So many, many wonderful yarns!! Let's just say all in all I helped the local economy. ... and had lots of fun doing it.


Reah Janise
Heavenly Socks Yarn Shop


Monday, August 4, 2014


Crescent Hearts Shawl
Apologies for the hiatus, but some family matters required my attention.
Knitting projects, however, have not stopped. First up, I was flying to California for a conference and had thought I was more than prepared for knitting air time. I managed to complete the second of a pair of socks about midway and started on a lace shawl. I’d designed and knit one earlier and quickly given it to a departing colleague. I call it Crescent Hearts. The pattern is available on Ravelry.
Close up of lace pattern
To my dismay, I found that I’d not included stitch markers and had only 6 in my Knit Kit. Yikes!

While you can knit lace without stitch markers, I do not recommend it. It is far too easy to make errors and thus lose valuable time and energy, not to mention having to rip out lace. (Oh the horror!)

I remembered that a friend had made her own stitch markers from yarn. Seemed like a good idea to me, especially since I wanted to get this shawl moving. So, using the leftover sock yarn, I made 20 little slip knot stitch markers. (They work very well. You just need to make sure you don't knit them into your stitches.) The shawl was nearly finished by the time we returned home a few days later.

I like crescent shawls mainly because they are so-o-o much easier to design than triangle shawls and more interesting than rectangle shawls. Oh, and the yarn is made from soymilk: Pure Soysilk from South West Trading Company. It works up nicely and has a lovely luster.

By the way, the socks used a butterfly stitch. Since the yarn was already multicolored, I had looked for a stitch that would add just a touch of fun, and the butterfly was just that. The yarn was Berroco Sox. The pattern is available in my Ravelry store for free.

Until next time ... happy knitting!

Reah Janise

Butterfly Socks