Mary Jane’s Calendar

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Where in the World is Mary Jane?

Sun 23 Mar 2014 11:03pm


She’s been missing on this blog!


But not in real life. This is a happy shiny bloggy place and it is going to stay that way folks. We can politely say that I’ve been … a bit distracted these past few months … and leave it at that.


I have been having fun with Instagram, so if I go missing again be sure and check there.
I’m getting back on the band wagon, scouts honor.

I’ve updated my many teaching dates, but keep checking, because I’ll keep adding more details and maybe a few more events too! You can look at the calendar in the sidebar, this only shows the beginning date in red, so you have to click through to see how long it runs. You can also check my ‘Classes‘ page, for a list that you might find easier to read.

Going forward my friends, I’ll tell you what’s happening now at this moment, or maybe spin a yarn or two about past happenings. Chronological order is just not working for me at the moment!

What is the picture above? Found in the Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington, it blinks wildly. Just a hop skip and a jump from the site of Madrona, the knitting event you don’t want to miss next time around. It was so much fun I forgot to take pictures! HOLY COW. Ok here’s one from my stellar Fair Isle students. Look at the variation, marvelous eh?


…. and right now where am I? Staying on after super-fun VKLive-Seattle – recovering from a terrible tooth trauma – at my Mom’s darling tiny house, that has a pillow, just like a darling tiny croft house!


Created by the one, the only Ella Gordon of Shetland!

‘Till soon dear friends!


Madrona Means Spring!

Thu 06 Feb 2014 02:02pm

It may be cold and blustery outside but inside we’re looking ahead to the fun we’ll be having at Madrona Winter Retreat in Tacoma Washington, February 13 -16. The FIFTEENTH annual retreat – the grandmama of all Fiber Events! I feel quite honored to be included in the line up.


So if you’re in the neighborhood, there are some classes still open.

Thursday the 13th is Fresh Fair Isle, one of my favorite and most rewarding classes to teach.

Friday the 14, Valentine’s Day is Adding and Inventing Colorwork Patterns a great day for exploration and discovery… we can sneak hearts in everywhere if we like!

Saturday the 15th is Scandinavian Colorwork in the afternoon…fun things to learn!

Sunday the 16th is Andean Intarsia, we’ll have an intense but rewarding day – we’ll feel like geniuses!


This year they’re having mini classes too, mini in class size and length, so you can squeeze in a bunch! I’m teaching two.


Before I leaving Maine I’ve managed to take some hikes when the weather cooperates.

IMG_5228 IMG_5262

This is Ocean Lookout, on the left looking out above Camden Maine, seeing the coast and some islands in Penobscot Bay. On the right, my friend Emily and I – the Fair Isle Sisters! Partners in hiking and knitting – we’re on top of Bald Rock on a day so clear we could see forever.

It was safe to venture out, my work in good hands, as James was taking care of business at home, with everything under control.


Hope to see you soon!


Jenny at the Fair

Fri 31 Jan 2014 12:01pm

You didn’t see it here first – I’m about the last one to talk about my Rhinebeck Sweater
Jenny at the Fair!


MJ wearing Jenny at the Fair while browsing the floors of Maine Salvage in Portland.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Rhinebeck, that wonderful sheepy and wooly festival in New York State – the happy mecca for many knitters…and spinners…and fried artichoke enthusiasts?

And I’m certain most of you have already heard of our darling Ysolda’s book celebrating the fair,  The Rhinebeck Sweater. Because, as you know, we all feverishly make sweaters especially to wear for the weekend. I usually start mine WAAAAAAAAAAY too late…so here’s a heads up folks – get started now!

Last year Ysolda organized a bunch of her friends and we’re all in the book together wearing our sweaters. She even came to Maine last summer, where we participated in a great downeast adventure on Nash Island, the home of the sheep who contribute the wool for Jani to spin and turn into yarn that became my Jenny at the Fair cardigan that you’ll find in the book!


MJ explaining the virtue of secret colors inside your pockets. ©ysoldateague

Ysolda tells the story of the Nash Island sheep round-up in the book. That summer we also ventured to the very heart of Maine to visit Bartlett Yarns home of the oldest operating spinning mule in the country…another tale told in the book. Not only can the girl knit, she spins a good yarn too! The two of us also climbed the beehive in Acadia National Park.

Lately, others have been making Jenny at the Fair. Jani Estelle, mistress of Starcroft Fiber Mill, maker of the fine wool used in the original Jenny and knitter of fantastic garments tells the story of her Jennys. She couldn’t stop at just one. In her new year’s post Secret Revealed she shares how hard it was to keep the secret of the book and sweater for an entire year. What she doesn’t tell is how she talked me down off the ledge when I was going crazy trying to finish Jenny in time!


Jani’s Jennys at left and center. Georgie’s simple, and simply beautiful version at right.

If you tool around Ravelry you’ll find even more. Georgie made a beautiful super – simplified version. With just two colors Jenny at the Fair becomes serene and sophisticated.

Jill Draper’s mom was wearing a beautiful Jenny at Vogue Knitting Live NYC, and I was without my camera wouldn’t you know… SAD…but here’s the one Jill is making for herself. Read her post “New Year, New Sweater” on Jill Draper Makes Stuff.



Go on and make your own, I dare you!

What colors would you choose? Let us know!

Here are the details for the original:

Worked from the bottom up, the lower body ribbing is worked back and forth in rows, and then joined with centre front steek stitches for working in the round, making the colourwork sections easy and fun to knit. Sleeves are knit in the round up to where they are joined with the sweater body. Then the yoke is worked in the round. V-neck shaping and raglan armhole shaping are worked simultaneously. When the body is complete, the steek is reinforced with a line of slip-stitch crochet, and cut down the centre … not to fear! This is a great first project for steeking. The sweater is finished with a ribbed button band.

A non-superwash woolly wool yarn that blooms well.

Starcroft Nash Island Light (175yds / 160m, 3.5 oz. / 100g) shown in MC: pine cone, CC1: lobster bake, CC2: acorn, CC3: finch and CC4: cove.

MC: 750850, 900, 1000150, 1250)yds / 700800, 850, 900050, 1150)m
CC1: 110[110, 110, 120] (120, 120, 120)yds / 100[100, 100, 110] (110, 110, 110)m
CC2: 75[75, 80, 80] (80, 85, 85)yds / 70[70, 75, 75] (75, 80, 80)m
CC3: 45[50, 50, 55] (60, 65, 70)yds / 45[50, 50, 55] (60, 65, 70)m
CC4: 45[45, 45, 50] (50, 50, 50)yds / 45[45, 45, 50] (50, 50, 50)m

18 stitches and 22 rows = 4” / 10cm in colourwork and peerie patterns; use the needles necessary to match gauge for each.

Finished chest circumference: 33[36½, 40, 43½] (47½, 51, 54½)” / 84[93, 103, 111] (121, 130, 139)cm.

Shown in size 36½” with 2” / 5cm of positive ease.






Sat 18 Jan 2014 06:01pm


Hey! I’m still in NYC having a blast at Vogue Knitting Live, this is the view from my room!

Thank You all for leaving such nice comments, they are so much fun to read and make me so very happy.

Congratulations to Mia (knitplaywithfire), Lise(zenitude), Jessie(knitterdame), Veronica(punkcutie), Meriam(bethski), Susan(buttonband), Jette(missk), Aimee(PutYourFlareOn), Nell(Nell) and Lisa Draper(jollypondknitter)!!!!! Winners of the Flying Geese Cowl pattern!