February 25, 2020
By Hand Latest News | Child Welfare System | Bangor Metro | Kevin Hancock | Today's Paper

Length of light inspires cleaning frenzy

Spring is in the air. This is how I know. On a Sunday in early March, when the temperature hit nearly 50 degrees, I was seized with an insane desire to clean cupboards. I never fight these impulses — I consider them natural, like geese taking wing and heading north when the slant of light strikes them just right. Clearly, I, too, had been “light-struck,” my instincts responding in a proper way by urging in me the desire to nest — well, maybe not to build one, but to hoe out the one I live in.

Soon the sink was full of hot sudsy water and I was climbing on a chair to reach the highest shelf where there dwelt a row of nondescript tins, the ghosts of Christmases long past. Why in the world was I giving them house room? Out they went.

I pulled foodstuffs from the lowest shelf in the cupboard — molasses, honey, corn meal, olive oil, cocoa, other stuff. I emptied a jar of dried garlic into the garbage. I tossed a quantity of dried celery, too. What was I thinking when I acquired that stuff? I know I hadn’t been reading “Macbeth,” intent on making mischief in a toil-and-trouble bubbling pot. But there it was, dried garlic and desiccated celery.

It was on this shelf that I encountered stickiness to the 10th power, the very thing to attract the ants that usually arrive in my kitchen in April just after the ground thaws. To remedy that situation, I rummaged around in a closet to locate a strip of sticky-backed vinyl material I had saved a while back, knowing that one day I’d want to put it on that very shelf.

The next thing to draw my cupboard cleaning fancy was open shelves that house a collection of tins featuring pretty designs or graphics. Most are from the 1980s. Here, I encountered, well, grunge is a good way to describe it, a combination of dust, moisture and the siftings of time. It responded well to soap and water and soon the tins were twinkling in the late afternoon light.

By that time I was on a roll and I bore down on the drawer in the cupboard where tablecloths and other linens are kept. I sorted out what I’d keep and what I wouldn’t. Sadly, the “keep” pile far outnumbered the “don’t keep,” but I figured I’d made a start and “neated things up,” as my mother would say, so the time was well-spent.

At that point I decided I’d done enough for one day.

I find it odd that the cupboard-cleaning urge, which sweeps over me spring and fall, does not extend to the room where I keep fabric, yarn, patterns and other craft supplies. Nope. I look in there and I back right out again, close the door and pretend I didn’t see what I saw — a pile of old photos that need to be sorted and assigned to albums, a snarl of fabric scraps, a big plastic bag bulging with lengths of wool fabric, a bag of crochet cotton of many colors.

The urge to clean that inner sanctum will overtake me eventually, I suppose, but I hope it will leave me be until after I finish cleaning the rest of the cultch out of the kitchen.


• Knitting Out Loud has launched a blog. Find it at outloudaudiobooks.blogspot.com. The blog offers news of knitting, a pattern for a spiral scarf, stories of knitting and information of interest to knitters.

• Schoodic Arts for All is seeking fiber artists for its Winter Harbor Fiber Arts Show set for June 28-July 5. To learn how to participate, visit www.schoodicarts.org/specialevents.html#fiber.

• Is baseball your game? Do you like to do needlepoint? Does crocheting float your boat? Well, now you can do all three as part of the Stitch ’N Pitch program starting at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 19, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. Stitch ’N Pitch is a program of the National Needlearts Association.

Museum visitors with paid admission on that day will have the chance to do a baseball-themed needlepoint or crochet project. For details, visit www.StitchNPitch.com.

• Katie, a By Hand reader who enjoys doing cross-stitch, e-mailed several of her favorite Web sites: www.crosstitch.com, www.AllStitches4you.com, and www.createforless.com, an online store where one may purchase cross-stitch supplies such as perforated paper.

• Classes in knitting with beads, entrelac, socks and lace are scheduled at Fiberphilia in Orono. Call 866-3423 for more information.



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