Monthly Archives: May 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friend…

Two friends at the beach…


Oak Bluffs  ~  Martha’s Vineyard

Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

On this Memorial Day I am remembering my great grandfather, Joseph P Littlefield


The following is copied from post my daughter Deb wrote … I couldn’t have said it better.

“Remembering: JOSEPH P. LITTLEFIELD of Rome, Maine. 40-years-old and father of eight children, my great-great-grandfather joined the Union army in the summer of 1864, just as the Civil War was grinding to its bitter, violent end. He was in Company C of the 9th Maine Regt, and badly wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor, shot through his left hand into his lower back. He was sent back home to Maine where he died two months later on 30 Sep 1864. According to his 24-year-old doctor, he died of “Typhoidal Pneumonia induced by wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness, VA … the deceased soldier came to this death by reason of disease induced by a wound through the hand, contusion in his back, and subsequent exposure and fatigue in the field of battle, causing fever or “Typhoidal Pneumonia” from which he never recovered.” The pain must have been horrible.

Worse, adding insult to grievous injury, within a month of Joseph’s death, his wife and three oldest children also died, presumably from Typhoid or some other contagious fever. This left my 10-year-old great-grandfather Charles Littlefield the oldest of the five remaining children. I know how desperate both sides of the Civil War were by 1864 for men, but the idea that a 40-year old father of eight would sign up is appalling. And the fact that he not only died—horrible, but not unexpected for a soldier–but that he took his wife and three of his children with him?”

On this Memorial Day, remembering all who gave their lives for our country.

Memorial Day 2017…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield  fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds.  He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.  He was sent home to Maine to die.  He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine.  Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.


Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey,  where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried.  Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862.  He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.


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Civil War monument in Fairmont Cemetery…

Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent…

 Evanescent can be any fleeting moment in time and sunsets certainly qualify as such.

Cape May, New Jersey – May 2017.


i phone

Martha’s Vineyard – October 2013.


New York harbor – October 2009


Themed Collections: Why and What

One of the things I really love doing is designing around a theme.

California Revival Knits (CRK), my first book, was built around the theme of Californian Spanish Revival architecture. The Wild West e-book collection was inspired by, as the tagline says, the flora, fauna, and geology of Arizona. Hitch, of course, focuses on designs inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock.


I only choose themes that really grab me.  I’m not an expert in any of those topics, but I do have a decided interest — and, honestly, a love for — each.  But it’s not enough for me just to have a love for a topic — the theme has to evoke certain colorways, shapes, or something that I feel I can interpret (however loosely) in a knitted design.

Choosing the colorways that fit the theme, or are evoked by the theme, is one of my favorite parts of working with a theme.

For CRK, I chose colors that you can find in the brightly colored deco tiles so ubiquitous in everything from fountains to kitchen and bathroom tiles. Earthy to bright reds, deep blues, vibrant turquoise, and creams formed the backbone. Here’s a link to part of the book proposal PDF (check out the old logo!), and one page excerpted below:

Hitch required drama: black (including deep grays) and cream, with splashes of (blood) red. Only one sweater (the Cypress Point cardi) is an outlier, and that’s because unfortunately the dye lot of the yarn we received was more yellow than the described and anticipated cream. Stuff happens.

Here’s the initial proposal for Hitch, showing the planned colorways:

I got to play with lots of dusky, earthy colors with the Wild West series, with splashes of turquoise (yes, turquoise is a favorite of mine!). Unfortunately I deleted the promo stuff for the Wild West series, so I don’t have a document like those above to share.

As you can see from the proposals and links above, I do also use the themes as inspiration for shapes and motifs. The Wrought patterns from CRK exemplify this. It’s not just me who does this ; Elizabeth Green’s San Juan Bautista Shawl is another fabulous example. Compare it to the Saul Bass Vertigo poster in the Hitch proposal.

Although I often choose yarn companies based on the fact I’m trying to promote other small to medium businesses, yarn selection is also impacted by the theme.

For the upcoming Winery Knits collection I wanted yarns that were subtle and earthy. I chose yarns from Elemental Affects, Sunday Knits, Shalimar, Sincere Sheep, and Harrisville, focusing on solid but heathery yarns in creams, browns, and sky blues.

Let me know in the comments if you enjoy themed collections; and if so, what do you like best about them?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage…

This week we are to share a photo of something that says “heritage” to us. My  daughter Deb and I have been deep into genealogy and tracing our roots.  On my father’s side our family, the Freeman’s go back to the original founding fathers of Newark, New Jersey.  My 8th times great grandfather (not sure of the number), Stephen Freeman, along with Robert Treat and a host of other men from Milford and Branford, CT founded the city of Newark in 1666.   I am the last of our particular Freeman line to be born in Newark as was my father, my grandfather etc.

There are two monuments to the founders of Newark in the city.  One is in Fairmont Cemetery where many of my family are buried. That’s Robert Treat on the top.

The other monument, which had fallen into disrepair was restored and put in its new location last year for the 350th anniversary of the founding of Newark.  This monument has the founders names on it… there’s my 8times great grandfather, Stephen Freeman.

Today in (Phone) Pictures

I went out this evening fully intent on taking plenty of good pictures of the flock in this glorious weather, and realized my camera battery was dead. So, I used my phone.

Everyone is doing very well on the plentiful grass, and the new honeybees are thriving. I’m hoping the temperatures stay reliably warm now, because I’ve transplanted my tomatoes and peppers into the garden.

Oona chose watermelons to grow in her garden space, and if we can keep the ducks out, I think she’ll be successful.









Tagged: Farm, Garden

May Flowers…

Sample Sale! Sweaters, Fingerless Mitts, Hats, and More

It’s time for a sample sale!

All hats, cowls, fingerless mitts and full mitts are $15 each plus shipping. Sweet Cicely is $50 plus shipping; Tarte Tatin is $30 plus shipping; Cinnamon Bay is $25 plus shipping. Elise is $40 plus shipping. US/APO shipping only, thanks! Please email me if you’re interested in any of these!

If the pattern is available in my Ravelry store here (sorry, not all patterns are available), I’ll gift you a copy of the PDF pattern as well via Ravelry if you’d like 🙂

Deco Hat

Anemone Hat

Painted Desert Hat

Arrows Hat

Prototype Exakta Hat

Abalone Cove Hat

SweetGrass Mitts

Quatrefoil full mitts.

Sleeping with the Bats mitts

Malaga Cove mitts

Sweet Cicely, Size XL.

Cinnamon Bay, Size XL. Front view.

Tarte Tatin, Size XL. Front/side view.

Emily, size XS

Mothers and Grandmothers…

Happy Mother’s Day

       My mother & grandmother        Me and my mother             Me with my girls


Me with my girls now… Patty and Debbie

Along came grandmahood via Patty with my two grands… Tiffany and Tyler

Tiffany 1989                                 Tyler 1993



But let’s back track just a bit to my mother who I am remembering on this Mother’s Day, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman.

Born in Waterville, Maine




Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

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my mother and grandmother – Oak Bluffs 1924


After high school she moved to New Jersey and married a Jersey boy…


and had a Jersey girl (me)…


The next to the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom was May 1975. My parents were vacationing on the Cape and she was unaware that we were driving there to surprise her for the weekend. I gave her the book ‘Mostly On Martha’s Vineyard, A Personal Record’ by Henry Beetle Hough, as I knew she’d know some of the people mentioned in the book. I am so glad I did that because after reading the book she decided she wanted to sail over to the Vineyard to visit her mother’s grave. It turned out be her last trip to her beloved Vineyard.


I never knew my grandmother, my mother’s mother, she died before my parents were born but I’ve always felt a closeness to her through stories my mom would tell me about her and also the essence of her I feel when I’m on the Vineyard. She is buried on the Vineyard and I visit her every time I’m there.

Chances are she might have visited me a few years ago !!!!  Read on…

Here’s an excerpt from a post I did about the ‘spirits’ of my mother and grandmother.

100_0175    On the very haunted island of Martha’s Vineyard.. in the town of Oak Bluffs.. in a restored Victorian home was a restaurant called The Sweet Life Cafe.   In this house in the 1930′s lived a daughter and her mother.   In this house the mother passed away.   That woman was my grandmother and the daughter was my mother.

 A few years ago my daughter Deb and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Sweet Life Cafe… we’d never eaten there but felt the time was right.   It was around 5 o’clock on a beautiful cloudless and breezeless May evening so we opted to sit on the patio in the garden as it was empty and peaceful.   We had a glass of wine and settled back to talk about our day and enjoy the pretty surroundings.   The tables were beautifully laid out and each had on it a small hurricane lamp with a candle in it.  We looked around and noticed that the candles on all the tables but ours were lit!   Our waitress re-lit ours.   The candle went out.   Again she lit it.  Again it went out.   She came back with a new candle.  Again out it went.   Again she re-lit it to no avail.  My daughter and I joked that our grandmothers were joining us and were definitely in a playful mood.


Later that evening as my daughter and I were passing by the restaurant we looked in at the patio……   the candle on the table we had been sitting at was burning brightly !!