BY HAND

Giving thanks includes nods for years of knitting

Posted Nov. 29, 2013, at 7:44 a.m.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. When my family gathered around the table, I was thankful for many things, including the people in my life — the ones with me on that day and the ones from years past who have gone on to another dimension.

I also gave thanks for the year that has passed, which has been filled, as it has been since I was a child, with yarn, fabric, sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery and other needlearts that embellish my life.

On Thanksgiving Day, another kind of creativity was on the table. It consisted of the spicy hue of pumpkin pie, the golden brown surface of a roasted turkey, the bowls of white mashed potatoes and the dark yellow bounty of squash.

My table was covered with a cloth I stitched on my machine and set with plates I have had since the 1960s — crockery that reminded me of my mother and sister who also had dishes in the same pattern.

The centerpiece was a simple clump of evergreens enlivened with a few yellow mums, and flanked by candles set in holders shaped like stars.

After the dishes were done and my guests and I had completed a walk to help settle the feast we had consumed, we migrated to the front room to talk and laugh, to recall other Thanksgivings at the pond when my parents were still living. One of us said, “Remember when it would be cold enough on Thanksgiving Day to skate on the pond?” And we recalled being bundled up in hats and mittens, and sometimes socks, my sister had knit, and how wonderful it was to go back inside where the woodstove was humming with warmth. We would help ourselves to slices of what remained of a row of pies — apple, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue, chocolate cream.

And as the talk began, that was my cue to reach for my knitting, a project I am making up as a I go along, but may turn out to be a garland for my almost 4-year-old grandson. Using odd balls of worsted weight wool yarns in seasonal colors — red, green, white, gold, mulberry, midnight blue and whatever else I can find, maybe even sock yarn — I use size 6 or 8 knitting needles and cast on 8 or 10 stitches and knit each row for 4 inches. Over the next several rows, I will fashion a buttonhole, and continue knitting until the piece measures five inches. Then I will bind off and sew up the sides to create a little pocket. I will need to make 24 in all.

When the pockets are done, I will sew a white button to each one and attach the pockets to a long cord I will crochet. I will fill the pockets with small treats to appeal to a small boy eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. Each day he will open a pocket.

I thought of that as I knit, for as much as knitting ties me to the past, it also pulls me firmly into the future.

Snippets

• A balsam fir wreath making workshop will be held 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 30, at Ecotat Gardens 2699 Route 2, in Hermon. The cost is $20 per person. To register, call 848-5946.

• Penobscot Marine Museum is seeking gingerbread houses for Gingerbread Christmas By the Sea, its annual gingerbread house competition. Children and adults may bring their creations to the Museum Shop and Framer at 40 East Main St. in Searsport by Thursday, Dec. 5. The public is invited to vote for their favorite gingerbread house during the opening party for the winter exhibit “Underfoot” 4-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. The Searsport Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 4 p.m. Friday on the crescent and Searsport children will hang their hand-made decorations on the tree.

After Saturday, Dec. 7, the gingerbread houses may be entered in the annual Chocolate Drop Shoppe Gingerbread House competition. A $5 fee will benefit the Belfast Rotary 100 Fund, which provides holiday gifts for struggling families in Waldo County.

For information on Gingerbread Christmas By the Sea, call Lin Calista at 548-0334. For information on the Chocolate Drop Shoppe Gingerbread House competition, call 338-0566.

• A reader has lost her pattern for a knitted Santa boot tree decoration which is approximately 3 inches high. The pattern was featured in Workbasket magazine many years ago. If a reader has that pattern or a similar one to share, email sandmbennett@myfairpoint.net.

• To access free counted cross stitch charts, visit theworkbasket.net. I fell in love with the hedgehog and the holly in the Quaker series.

• The University of Maine Page Farm and Home Museum will hold wreath-making workshops Saturday, Nov. 30, on Portage Road. Workshops will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Workshops also will be held 5-7 p.m.Tuesday, Dec. 3; 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4; and 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. The cost is $15 per person per workshop and includes instruction and materials to complete one wreath. Registration is required by calling, 581-4100.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.

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