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 and the urge to pad my nest with warm things fits neatly with my desire to give those warm things to others so that they, too, will have a share of the warmth. It’s about wanting to take care of others, as well as myself. Thus, making things can be all over the map — mittens for the son and grandson, hats to donate to a shelter for the homeless, crocheted stars to hang on a friend’s Christmas tree, socks for myself, and an afghan made of leftover yarn for a cause yet-to-be determined.

And right along with the “let’s make something from yarn and cloth” urge comes the “let’s bake something yummy” urge. This is, I am certain, about wanting to add a pound or two or three, in case I get snowed in for days and run out of food. Not likely, but possible. Thus, I bake bread to stash in the freezer, plot the making of popovers served with maple syrup and think about making biscuits to go with a pot of baked beans.

Evenings will find me knitting a few rows on a pair of mittens, crocheting rows on mitts and fashioning French knots on a piece of embroidery — not all at the same time, I hasten to add. I switch from one thing to another. Sometimes, a ding goes off in my head and I remember some unfinished project I tucked away weeks ago — like a chipmunk storing acorns against the blank white page of winter. I retrieve it to add to my stitching rotation. Or I might abandon yarn and cloth for an evening in favor of stringing beads. Even denned up for the winter, one can use a little bling.

One of the reasons knitting, crocheting and needlework gets mixed up with stirring bowls of dough is because I often witnessed that very juxtaposition — my grandmother seated in a kitchen chair crocheting pillowslip edging while my mother put together a rabbit stew or rolled out dough for an apple pie. Or the lovely aroma of fresh yeast rolls coming out of the oven as my mother’s friend, Lee, knitted hell bent for election on her latest wool ski sweater. Or my sister sitting in a rocking chair turning the heel on a sock as my mother and I collaborated on stuffing a turkey and peeling squash on Thanksgiving Day.

Needlework entwined with cooking; the nourishment of those memories; leaves blown from a hardy maple facing winter.


Designing Women will hold its annual show and sale, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Dyke Center for Family Business at Husson University. Admission is $2 at the door, which will benefit a local nonprofit organization.

The 17th annual Crafts and the Museum Maine Crafts Guild Show will take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 2-3, at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. Admission is free.

The annual Gifted Hand show, featuring more than 60 artisans, will take place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Ramada Inn, 215 High St. in Ellsworth. Admission is $2.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email Don’t forget to visit her blog at