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My Stitch group has become so loose, it almost isn’t one. But that’s the way we like it. Rules don’t apply, though we do try to meet at each other’s homes once each month. But that isn’t a hard and fast rule either, because sometimes we don’t meet in December when we are caught up in the whirl of the holidays, or in July when we have succumbed to the bliss of summer.

At a recent meeting there were five stitchers gathered in a living room in Orrington, where the fire in the stove blazed merrily. We were knitting — white lacy gloves, the neck ribbing on a sweater, mitts and shawls for a local church’s shawl ministry program. In the course of the two hours we were together, I switched from knitting to crocheting and then to embroidery. Another attendee switched from knitting to embellishing quilt squares. The other three ladies stuck to knitting.

The woman knitting the lace pattern had to stop and count stitches every few minutes to be sure she hadn’t missed a stitch. It’s not easy to follow a lace pattern when the other women in the room are carrying on a lively conversation about favorite public television programs.

We all like “Doc Martin,” a series that airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays on public television. I have been waiting for the fifth incarnation of the series to be aired, or to come out on DVD, but in vain.

“Was there a series five?” I asked the others. The woman knitting the lacy white gloves assured me there was, and that she had seen it — every episode — through some mysterious digital process I failed to understand. What was clear to me, however, is that there is a series five and I want it!

“Doc Martin,” for those of you haven’t seen it, is a about Dr. Martin Ellingham, played by Martin Clunes, who, because he develops a fear of blood, gives up his stellar career in surgery in London to move to a village in Cornwall where he sets up a general practice. Martin’s edgy personality doesn’t win him friends easily, but it turns out — of course — that he’s lovable anyway, especially to Louisa. The series was filmed in Port Isaacs, where Daphne du Maurier, author of the classic “Rebecca,” spent a great deal of time. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear characters in the series refer to du Maurier.

The other program we have on our “can’t be missed” list is “Downton Abbey,” series two. It’s an upstairs-downstairs format set in England against the backdrop of World War I. It has many story lines running at once, like a soap opera, and that’s one of the things that makes us want to watch it. We have gotten to know the characters and care about what becomes of them. It’s a good program to knit to.

We also raved about “William and Mary,” another series with Martin Clunes as the star. He plays an undertaker who meets a midwife through a dating service. He’s a widower, she’s a divorcee, he has two daughters, she has two sons, they both have all the usual ups and downs that go with single parenthood. It’s quirky and interesting and airs at 10 p.m. Saturdays on public television.

If you don’t have a Stitch group, call a friend or two and ask them to your house to knit, quilt, crochet or embroider for a couple of hours. Once you get started, it’s difficult to stop. Forget the rules.


The colors for Special Olympics scarves for the 2013 Winter Games will be announced in April at The colors for the 2012 games held in January were red and navy blue. Recently, Betsy Bass of Hampden, who has volunteered at the Special Olympics winter games since 1983, stopped by to show me photographs of Special Olympics athletes wearing the scarves. She brought an “honorary” scarf for me, that was knit by Jan. I wish the colors were announced earlier so we all could get knitting!

Visit to learn about knitting classes held in Orono and Presque Isle.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or email