SEARSPORT, Maine — The Penobscot Marine Museum will open its winter exhibition season with a party, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Its new exhibit, “Keeping Warm,” will showcase the museum’s collection of 19th century quilts, and 19th and early 20th century winter clothing, fiber art tools and crafts, toys, sports equipment and historical photos of Maine in winter. Ice boats also will be on display on the museum crescent.
“I was at a recent Maine archives and museum conference at the University of Maine,” said Kathy Goldner, museum development and marketing director. “During a breakout session about saving a collection of Penobscot Nation artifacts that had come up for auction in Boston, a member of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance talked about raising money to bring the objects back to the Penobscot Nation, and she cried. It was very moving. Objects are so important to our sense of self. We are losing them and losing the idea of how to make them [with our hands] because of industrialization. Beautiful objects, people who invested their time and spirit to make them, those feed us. What could be cozier in the middle of winter than to go and see the ‘Keeping Warm’ exhibit?”
The exhibit will feature a pair of fishermen’s mittens from Winterport made for fishing in winter. Such mittens were knit larger than needed, dipped in water several times to shrink and felt them, Goldner said. Other items in the exhibit will include several 19th century bed jackets and a red velvet riding hood.
Eight quilts will play a starring role in the exhibit, including a signature quilt from Bucksport made in the variable star pattern and stitched in 1849; a contemporary quilt, Storm at Sea, made of dye transfers of photographs and text; a nine-patch quilt; a fans in stripes quilt and a log cabin quilt.
Sewing tools in the exhibit will include tin hexagon quilting templates, needle cases from the China trade and local sources, spinning wheels, pincushions, sewing boxes and a yarn swift.
The exhibit is co-curated by members of the Searsport area Friendship Sampler Quilters chapter of the Pine Tree Quilters, and will include quilts stitched by chapter members.
During the opening party, a resident quilter will work on a quilt, and adults and children will be encouraged to learn a bit of quilting and work on a quilt in progress. Those who stitch on the quilt may put their names into a raffle for the quilt.
In the Museum Gallery and Store, cookbook author Sandra Oliver will talk about her new book, “Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes From Down East Kitchens.” Author Robin Hansen will sign her children’s book, “Ice Harbor Mittens.”
In conjunction with the “Keeping Warm” exhibit, a lecture and workshop series will run January through April. As part of the series, “Bed Turnings” will be presented at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 9, at the museum store and gallery on Main Street. Friendship Sampler Quilters members will bring 30 quilts in traditional patterns and discuss each one.
Other events in the series will include Garrett Conover of Northwoods Ways discussing his snowshoe trips in the Maine woods, a workshop with knitter and author Robin Hansen workshop, and a workshop with knitter and author Mary Jane Mucklestone.
“Keeping Warm” will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Feb. 24. For information, call 548-2529 or 548-0334.
Keep warm by knitting, crocheting or quilting your own bed cover. One of my favorites is the simple granny square. Keep working rounds until its as large as you want it to be. This is a great way to use up odd balls of yarn. Go to crochetme.com/Crochet-Granny-Squares to access the free downloadable and printable 27-page ebook, “How to Crochet Granny Squares with crochetme.” The ebook contains 8 designs, including an afghan.
You could also knit a stack of simple squares and sew them together. Even a beginner knitter can make a blanket using that method. To learn now and to find clever ideas for using knit squares go to ravelry.com/patterns/library/blanket-squares-6-knit-version.
Sandra Standish-Bunnell of Calais is seeking a pattern for knitted hunter’s mittens, the kind with a trigger finger. If you have a pattern to share, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email email@example.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.