MAINE knits: A giveaway!

I have the absolute pleasure of sharing a wonderful book with you today – MAINE knits. Written and compiled by Beatrice Perron Dahlen of Thread & Ladle, it is a gorgeous book highlighting the talent and beauty nestled in Maine. There are quite a few of our ‘knitting heros’ that find their home there, and it was Bea’s brilliant idea to bring them together in the form of a book.

The natural photography, gentle and inspiring essays from contributors, and wide range of knitting patterns from Carrie Bostick Hoge, Bristol Ivy, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Alicia Plummer, Leila Raabe, Elizabeth Smith, Kristen TenDyke and Leah B. Thibault and Beatrice herself, make for a full book – one that I couldn’t just flick through. What struck me was the flow of the book and I had to read it from cover to end. Since Beatrice released the sneak peeks of the patterns on ravelry I have had big love for the Astrantia Pullover, which happens to be one of her designs, and found some of my oldest stash yarn which might just find it’s way onto my needles in between other projects 🙂
I had the fortune of spending a weekend with Beatrice last Autumn (and seeing the Astrantia Pullover in person!!) and her passion and love for knitting is infectious (as is her love of good food, honest creativity and motherhood!). As a backer from the beginning I was so excited to finally get the book into my hands, and I have a copy for one of you too!

But first, Bea kindly answered a few questions about the book and it’s journey from start to finish.

When did you get the first spark of inspiration to write a book? 

Really I think the book was two ideas that slowly merged into one.  Often I think that ideas need time to stew to really become wonderful, and that was true for this.  I had often thought about our strange hot spot of fiber folk here in Maine, and how it would be neat to see those folks come together on something.  I’d also been thinking about how I would love to make a book, but as a mom of two young children, the idea of doing that by myself (with only my designs) was pretty daunting.  These two thoughts eventually merged, and the idea transformed into a collaborative book of Maine fiber folk.

What do you love most about living in Maine? (Or perhaps we should read the book 😉
It’s home!  It’s hard to say whether I love the landscape or the community more, but the truth is that these two things are so intertwined you couldn’t have one without the other.  I love living near the ocean, but also near the mountains and rural areas, and in a place with a thriving farm community.  These are also the things that create the culture, the livelihood of Maine.  You couldn’t have one without the other!

I absolutely love your Astrantia Pullover, tell us about the inspiration for that design.
This is my favorite too!  It’s actually one of my all time favorite things I’ve designed.  Again, there wasn’t an “Aha!” moment, but this process of playing with ideas.  It started with a swatch of a stitch pattern, which sparked the idea of the Astrantia Cowl.  Once I finished the cowl and laid it down to look at it, I just knew that it would make an absolutely beautiful yoke on a sweater.  A few more swatches, and the sweater was born!

What was the hardest part of the journey from idea to reality?
This is such a hard question to answer, because none of it was easy.  But I suppose the hardest part for me was finalizing everything.  Once we had the patterns, the photos, the essays, and started assembling and doing layout it was tough.  It’s tough to make those edit rounds and then proof rounds (which seemed so never ending) happen quickly when there are so many people involved, and especially for me personally with a family to tend to.  Sometimes you don’t know quite when you’ll get something back for another round of edits, and when I got it back I couldn’t always give it my attention at that moment because I’m a mom.  It was a belaboring part of the process.

And the best?
Finally sharing everything I’d been working so hard on!  Recently we had a book signing at my LYS with some of the other designers from the book, and this was the best moment, hands down.  We filled that shop up and it was bumping the whole time!  It was amazing to see so much enthusiasm about this thing I’ve worked so hard on, get to talk to people and share in the excitement together.  It really was a fulfilling moment.  But I think the best is yet to come… to see people knitting from the book!

Do you have a favourite design in the book?
Besides my own Astrantia Pullover, which I mentioned is a favorite… It’s hard to choose.  There are so many great projects in the book.  I love them all!  I just casted on my own Brookdale Vest by Elizabeth Smith and I think Bristol Ivy’s Quarry Shawl might have to be added to my queue too!

Whats next for you?
First, a little breather.  I’m definitely feeling the work of this project taking it’s toll and I’m ready for a little fun and self care.  That said, making this book has been such a wonderful experience.  I loved making it, and I really want to make more books.  But I’m trying to pace myself first and go a little slowly, as the next one will probably be all me.  And now that I know how much work is involved, well, I’m trying not to rush in!  I need some time to cuddle my kiddos before they get too big.

**

I have a very special signed copy of MAINE knits for you to win! All you need to do is comment letting me know which is your favourite design in the book, and be sure to visit Beatrice and the MAINE knits crowd across the interwebs congratulating them on a wonderful book!
I’ll take comments until end of day Sunday 19th and announce a winner the following week. Good luck!! 

51 Comments

  1. Cláudia Regina Cruz

    I Love the cowl, especially the grey with hearts, but also the shawl, and well, I Love all the designs :). Thank you for this opportunity!

  2. Kristie Statuto

    It’s so hard to pick just one, but I love the Astrantia Cowl so much! It sounds like such a beautiful book – I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Morgen S. Daily

    Tough call. Personally I love the shawl, but the first thing I’d actually knit would be that shawl-collared cardigan for my husband!

  4. Heather Baylis

    Gorgeous knits Indeed! The shawls are speaking to me. My fav would be the big broadturn hap. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.. I would love to win it and knit it up to wear on the west coast.

  5. Kristina

    I love the sweaters! The lace detail on the Machiasport cardigan has my heart. I am normally drawn to cables, but that tiny touch is beautiful!

  6. I have been following Bea for a few years now. She reminds me so much of myself as many knitters do, but something about her, I connect with. I have been enjoying watching her process with this dream and book idea and it’s so exciting to see it come to fruition. Thank you for the chance to win the book. I think my favorite design is the agamenticus cowl. So pretty!

  7. So. Many. Beautiful. Patterns. If I were to pick just one to cast on today, it would probably be the Broadturn Hap. It has a classic beauty and looks so cozy!

  8. they are all so lovely but the blue shawl with the lace speaks to me. it reminds me of the ocean waters, by which i live. fingers crossed for the give-a-way!!!

  9. SaDonna Heathman

    I love the Astrantia Cowl as well as the pullover you mentioned. Frankly, the entire book looks gorgeous! Thank you for the giveaway.

  10. Jennifer

    Beautiful book! I would love to knit the Astrantia cowl first. Thank you for hosting the giveaway. I enjoyed reading the interview.

  11. Rosemary

    I love love love the Bittersweet Cowl, although the Broadturn Hap is gorgeous, too! Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  12. Another Annie!

    Thank you for this interview. Im in love with the cresting waves shawl. I think it’s going to be my next project.
    Hope you have a great rest of the week!

  13. Mette Rimmen

    The Blue shawl and the Grey cardigan is the two models I love the most but there are several of the models in the book I would like to knit.

  14. Jess W

    The Cresting Waves shawl is so beautiful! It would have to be the first one for me. Trying to decide on what would be the next thing to make would be a real challenge!

  15. Julienna

    This book is such an inspiration! I love the astrantia pullover and have begun the search for the perfect yarn to cast on. As a Maine native that is currently living elsewhere, this book is the perfect comfort and so thoughtfully evokes the culture, beauty, and emotion of Maine!

  16. Arianne

    I’ve been looking for a simple fabled cardigan to knit. This looks perfect! I love that photo with the blossoms in the pocket. Swoon! Crossing my fingers you draw my name!

  17. Melanie Jackson

    All of the patterns in Maine Knits could make it into my knitting que, but I think my favorite has to be the Old Speck Cardigan. It is such a classic design and I always love a pattern with a huge size range.

  18. Andrea Vlahakis

    What a lovely book … thank you for the giveaway. I’m torn; I have to say Chelone Wrap is my favorite, but Quarry Shawl is a close second. Perhaps both?

  19. There are some books that are hard to pick just one favorite and this is surely one of them. I guess I’d have to say the large cowl pulled down over the shoulders. But the hat is sure nice also and the vest…

  20. Debra Jonckheere

    All the designs are beautiful. I really love the Quarry shawl, if I had to pick just one. Why do I have to pick just one? LOL

  21. Jody

    Love the sweater patterns. Especially the Astrantia Pullover, how soft and feminine, especially in the light pink color way.

  22. Lisa

    I love them all. It’s hard to pick a favorite but I think the first project I would knit would be the Brookdale vest. I’ve been looking for a vest and this one looks perfect.

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