By Hand


In the New Year, take stock of needlework projects

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 02, 2014, at 12:32 p.m.
The New Year always brings with it the opportunity to look back on the needlework projects one has accomplished in the past 12 months and provides a window through which to look forward to needlework activities in the ensuing 12 months. One of the projects I plan to begin fairly …
BDN Photo by Ardeana Hamlin

These vintage Christmas tree ornaments from the late 1970s were handcrafted from felt, a bit of lace and buttons.

Tradition of handmade tree ornaments lingers on

By Ardeana Hamlin on Dec. 26, 2013, at 2:09 p.m.
Every year when it comes time to trim my Christmas tree, I look forward to choosing the ornaments I want to hang. Everything in the box is familiar; some of the ornaments date to my childhood, such as the white plastic reindeer with the broken leg, a green ribbon tied …
Well-known authors including Jane Smiley, Anita Shreve, Ann Patchett and Andre Dubus III write about knitting in "Knitting Yarns."

Last-minute gift ideas for knitters

By Ardeana Hamlin on Dec. 19, 2013, at 10:51 a.m.
Books are always welcome as gifts at holiday time. Here are few that will appeal to knitters: “Writers in Knitting” edited by Ann Hood is the kind of book one will put aside actual knitting in order to read. The book asks the question, “Why does knitting occupy a place …

What to do before donating needlework books, related items

By Ardeana Hamlin on Dec. 12, 2013, at 12:19 p.m.
Many times in the course of the 10 years I have written the By Hand column, readers have emailed asking for suggestions on how to dispose of a loved one’s collection of vintage books, magazines and booklets pertaining to needlework, stashes of yarn and the tools of needlework such as …
"Suns Triptych" by Beatrice Gilbert in foreground and "These Foolish Things" by Dr. Donald Talbot on the right are on view through Dec. 31 at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham.

Quilted assemblages on view at Maine Fiberarts Gallery

By Ardeana Hamlin on Dec. 05, 2013, at 12:21 p.m.
Christine Macchi, executive director of Maine Fiberarts in Topsham, provided the following information about a new show opening at the Maine Fiberarts Gallery: Bold and painterly quilted wall assemblages by artists Dr. Donald Talbot of Lisbon Falls and Beatrice Gilbert of North Yarmouth are on display through Tuesday, Dec. 31, …

Giving thanks includes nods for years of knitting

By Ardeana Hamlin on 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 …
Penobscot basket maker Pam Cunningham of Hampden splits brown ash in her kitchen recently.

Basket-maker carries on the tradition

By Ardeana Hamlin on Nov. 21, 2013, at 5:34 a.m.
The spirit of Penobscot basket making works through Pam Cunningham’s hands. It’s there when sitting in the comfort of her kitchen in Hampden, she splits the brown ash into long strips, uses handmade gauges to cut the strips into specific widths ranging from 1/16 to 1-inch widths, and tells stories …
Sue Hopkins of Newburgh, in the basement of her house where she does her sewing, shows two of the dresses she makes for little girls in sizes 2 to 5.

Newburgh woman sews ‘twirl factor’ into little girls’ dresses

By Ardeana Hamlin on Nov. 14, 2013, at 12:36 p.m.
When Sue Hopkins of Newburgh retired last April from her job as secretary at the Hampden Academy guidance office, she had no problem figuring out what she wanted to do next. She wanted to sew. At her retirement party at the school, her colleagues, knowing her love of sewing, showered …
Artist Norm Stern of Hampden holds a totebag bearing an image of his original painting of a hibiscus. Stern's totebags will be available for purchase at the Congregation Beth Israel Sisterhood annual Holiday Marketplace and Craft Fair 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at 144 York St.

After painting lessons at 75, 89-year-old Hampden artist’s work of “rugged realism” now adorns tote bags

By Ardeana Hamlin on Nov. 07, 2013, at 11:51 a.m.
Norm Stern, 89, of Hampden received from his wife, Marie, a gift on his 75th birthday that has never left him. Her gift was 10 painting lessons from an artist in Baltimore, where they lived at the time. “I had never painted before, I never drew anything. I still don’t …
Cover shot of "Knit Christmas Stockings" by Gwen W. Steege

There’s still time to stitch holidays gifts

By Ardeana Hamlin on Nov. 01, 2013, at 5:56 a.m.
Here it is — the first day of November. Even though Halloween is barely over and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, there is still time to get a grip on the things you want to knit, crochet and craft as holiday gifts. To aid that endeavor, here are four books …

When needlework and food combine

By Ardeana Hamlin on Oct. 24, 2013, at 8:24 a.m.
At this time of year, the urge to start more needlework projects than I can possibly keep up with always coincides with the waning light. I think it has something to do with the instinct to den up for the winter. The advent of gift-giving season is on the horizon …
These crocheted (left) and knit can cozies, made with the cotton yarn the color of mud, are intended for use by men who care whether or not they leave water rings on furniture.

Beer koozies and men can coexist

By Ardeana Hamlin on Oct. 17, 2013, at 12:19 p.m.
There is no doubt in my mind that real men do not use beer can koozies, at least not in public. However, some men may in the privacy of their own man caves want to protect their prized possessions from can sweat, such as the green felt surface of the …
"Metropolitan knits" by Melissa Wehrle

New books will appeal to knitters

By Ardeana Hamlin on Oct. 10, 2013, at 3:48 p.m.
I am always amazed how as summer wanes, the latest books on knitting accumulate like brightly colored leaves on my desk. I would love to take up an entire column to review each one, but it’s much more efficient to tell you about them in batches. Let me begin with …

Designing, making a laptop tote

By Ardeana Hamlin on Oct. 03, 2013, at 5:57 a.m.
Recently, I took it upon myself to design and make a tote for a laptop computer. I mulled over the project for a while, visualizing what I wanted it to look like and weighing in my mind what sort of fabric might best suit my purpose. After a few days …
This mixed-media embroidered piece by artist Jill Snyder Wallace of Minot will be among her works on display through September and October at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham.

Gallery displays mixed-media embroidered pieces

By Ardeana Hamlin on Sept. 26, 2013, at 1:16 p.m.
My thanks to Christine Macchi, executive director of Maine Fiberarts, for providing this information: Intricate embroidered work and textile-inspired assemblages incorporating found objects by artist Jill Snyder Wallace of Minot are on display through September and October at Maine Fiberarts Gallery, 13 Main St. in Topsham. The exhibition, “Human Nature,” …

New books will appeal to crocheters

By Ardeana Hamlin on Sept. 17, 2013, at 10:57 a.m.
The mornings and evenings contain a bit of a chill now, and that’s a sure sign fall is not so very far away. It’s also the time when a new crop of needlecraft books show up on my desk. No matter whether you have crocheted for years or picked up …

Find free patterns online to knit and crochet for baby

By Ardeana Hamlin on Sept. 10, 2013, at 4:21 p.m.
Knitting and crocheting for babies has many things to recommend it to needleworkers. Projects are small and some, such as a cap or socks, may require only one skein of yarn, making it desirable to indulge in a high-end fiber such as cashmere or alpaca for the project. Handmade baby …

Crocheters, knitters needed to make purple caps for babies

By Ardeana Hamlin on Aug. 27, 2013, at 3:13 p.m.
This information, emailed to me from Penquis Early Childhood, Youth and Family Services, 262 Harlow St. in Bangor, will be of interest to those who like to knit and crochet for a good cause: Every year, thousands of infants are shaken and abused at the hands of a frustrated parent …

Vintage textiles deserve to be handed on in a family

By Ardeana Hamlin on Aug. 20, 2013, at 12:04 p.m.
By the time I was 16, I had developed an interest in vintage textiles. I did not seek to collect them, but over the years knitted, crocheted, quilted and woven textiles found their way to me. Mostly, they were handed on from relatives or friends of my mother’s generation who …

Sculpture and quilts on view at Maine Fiberarts

By Ardeana Hamlin on Aug. 13, 2013, at 8:02 a.m.
Christine Macchi, executive director of Maine Fiber Arts in Topsham recently wrote and shared the following information: “Hidden Histories,” work by Sallie Findlay of Deer Isle, Karen Munson of Brunswick and Debra Spaulding of Bowdoinham is on view at Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main St. in Topsham. The public is invited …