Late in the afternoon on May 3, a storm with high winds and heavy rain tramped through the Bangor area. In my town, it caused a large tree limb to fall into a utility pole, severing it, making the power lines attached to it look like tangled strands of yarn.
Those who lived south of the damaged utility pole, including me, were without electricity for more than six hours.
When evening drew in, I lit candles and took up my knitting — socks for a child in the family.
I noticed how the light reflected off my hands and aluminum knitting needles, making it easy to knit, even without the amount of light I was accustomed to. I could see the individual stitches quite well; however, the purple and denim blue colors in the self-striping yarn appeared brown. The sock instructions, printed on blue paper, made the words difficult to read.
But I kept knitting. And as I knit, I thought about the women in my family who had come before me, the ones who lived all their lives without electricity, who knit by the light of oil lamps or by candlelight, just as I was doing. It occurred to me that memorizing a simple knitting pattern would have made sense to those ladies — no writing to squint at in inadequate light. For surely, those women knit in the evening after spending the day making the candles, lugging wood to keep the stove or fireplace going, nursing the baby, tending the other children in the family, cooking everything from scratch, feeding the chickens, scrubbing the clothes on a wash-board, and doing all the other daily chores — big and small — that they were obliged to do to keep body and soul together.
I wondered whether certain types of needlework were popular in candlelight days because they required dark threads on a light ground — such as Deerfield embroidery, which uses indigo blue threads, and blackwork, which uses black threads — thus, easy to see in limited light.
It was an interesting thought, not one I really needed to pursue. It kept me happily entertained on that cloudy, windy night as I sat in the circle of yellow candlelight knitting a sock.
BANGOR — Bangor Bear Paws will hold its Quilt Show 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at the Sunbury Retirement Village, 922 Ohio St.
A brunch buffet prepared by the Sunbury chefs will be served starting at 11 a.m. at a cost of $7.
The event will include three area quilt shop venders, a quilt raffle to benefit the Sunbury Village residents’ activities fund, and a basket full of quilting books, patterns, a quilt kit and lots of notions to raffle. Bangor Bear Paws members also will sell small quilted items. Admission to the event is $3.
CAMDEN — Coastal Quilters will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at the Lions Club, Lions Lane, in Camden. The program will feature Carol Boyer, artisan, quilt maker and instructor from Syracuse, N.Y.
Boyer will present a trunk show, “Not Your Mother’s Doll,” featuring her work as a doll artist.
Refreshments, show-and-tell and a short business meeting will be after the program.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Karen Martin, 236-8038 or Louisa Enright, 236-6215.
BANGOR — A Haiti Relief Project, Informal Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit and Tea, will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 540 Essex St., Bangor.
On display will be baby and lap quilts made for local distribution, miscellaneous quilts made and-or owned by members and fiber arts items.
A raffle will be conducted and a tea party will convene in the church’s Morning Glory Diner, where freshly baked scones and other desserts will be available
General admission is $3; tea party is an additional $3.
Proceeds will benefit efforts to provide relief to Haiti.
NEW HARBOR — The seeds were “sewn” for Marti Lew’s future as a fiber artist when she helped her young daughter make the solar system out of papier-mache. Lew, who made her career as a nurse, was taken with the technique and began to sculpt papier-mache for pleasure.
When she moved to Bangor her home was small and did not have a separate room to accommodate the wet sculpting materials, so to fulfill her need to create, Lew pulled out her sewing machine and began her investigation of fiber as an art form. To the delight of her friends, their mailboxes held her first project, fabric postcards. In these she used thread as a medium for creating images, a technique known as thread painting.
When Lew moved to Washington, Maine, her work shifted to hospice care. A turning point came when she inherited a drop cloth from a patient who had died. The cloth had a big splash of yellow paint on it, which immediately caught Lew’s attention. It became her canvas and she began to work on a much larger scale. She added more colors and then with her sewing machine she began to paint with thread creating wall-size art.
Although Lew has been working with fiber for only two years, she has created an impressive body of work with images influenced by her Maine surroundings. Lupines, puffins, lobster buoys and kayaks are just some of the subjects she celebrates.
Recently welcomed as a member of the Saltwater Artist Gallery in New Harbor, Lew will show her work this season along with 20 other members.
The gallery is looking for new artists. To be considered, call 350-3072 for details.
For more information, visit www.saltwaterartists.com.