No matter whether you call it a knitting retreat, a knitting cruise, or a knitting vacation, all of our knitting adventures are special. Taught by fabulous instructors who have been with us for years, these trips are a hoot from start to finish. Right from the beginning, everyone starts out sharing needles, stories, and patterns – even before we even set sail. Add the sailing and the delectable meals that emerge like clockwork out of Annie’s galley and you’ve got a recipe for success.
While this article is about kids and the benefits of being outside for our kids, we would suggest that adults need the outdoors, exercise, and adventure just as much, if not more. After all, a good life is about balance. If the bulk of our days are spent inside and on a computer, then the balance to that is to get outside and breathe unfiltered, fresh air in wide-open spaces surrounded by the the sounds, sights, and smells of nature. Unplugged from our phones and completely plugged in to our natural world. Might we suggest that the Riggin is the perfect place for this outside adventure?
Details in the galley. Details on deck. Details in the cabins. Some years we’ve got big projects which cause the little projects to be relegated to the bottom of the usually long list. We’ve had a couple of those winters in a row, so things like peapod repair, settee cushions, and new navigation stations have taken a back seat to the big stuff that most people don’t see, but is part of being good stewards of a National Historic Landmark. These would be things like planking and framing, iron work, rig replacement, new sails, etc. When these big projects are part of our budget in a year, they matter. It just means that the other (usually more visible things) need to take their turn and wait a little longer. This is the year of details.
Among the many details being tended to over the course of this winter are the cabins. The little details in the cabins which make your home for a week (or 4-days) nicer, a little more special. This year all of the cabins are getting a going over – new paint, new varnish… new sink skirts.
In cabins 1 to 4, these beautiful skirts hide the plumbing to the sinks and add to the charm of the cabins. This beautiful craftsmanship was done by Tyler King with an assist by Chloe Finger.
Photos by Tyler King
While the barn is abuzz with activity and woodworking, there are other folks who are also engaged and actively planning for another fantastic summer on the water with the Riggin. E (Elizabeth) is taking reservations at a rapid pace. And Annie is, among other things, sewing. Curtains, settee cushions, deck cushions, engine box covers, and so on. The list of projects is getting longer by the day!
What began as a “simple” slipcover for the house turned into the list above, which keeps getting additions by the second as Annie gets more comfortable with the work. Annie is lucky enough to have a friend with several industrial sewing machines and she’s always offered to teach Annie how to use them. This is that winter. When Annie isn’t on a horse, or cooking in the kitchen, she can these days be found behind the needle of a sewing machine.
And a powerful one at that. These machines are not your grandmother’s Singer, although they are just as dependable. They are finger-eating, strong-engined machines for which Annie has found some serious respect. They can sew through canvas, sail material, or 4 layers of upholstery material without straining. Magic and terror all wrapped up in one tidy package.
Here is a link to Annie on one of the machines and some photos of a few of the many projects in progress or completed.
Photos by Captain Annie Mahle
We’ve got four of them. Each one is different. Each one is pure fun. They are our knitting cruises and our slow sewing trip. While we didn’t set out to create a niche in the crafting cruise department, they are among our most popular trips and for good reason. PLUS, if you are a non-knitter, no worries, you are just guaranteed to be around a hilarious, joyous group of fantastic people who happen to be doing things with sticks and yarn and fabric and thread. Men and spouses are totally welcome (Capt. Jon says, please!).
It’s hard to believe that this is our 15th consecutive year of Maine Knitting Cruises. All our instructors are as happy as we are to have them return for another year on the Riggin.
This year, with Mim Bird, you will learn where silk originates, how it’s made into a knittable product, and knit with a hand-dyed silk mawata. With Bill Huntington, you’ll learn the history and uses of gansey and then put into practice that same style in smaller projects like hats, mittens, and of course sweaters too. Margaret Radcliffe will have you playing with different types of fiber, learning how they behave, and how to make the best of them in your knitting. Find your Maine Knitting Cruise here.
If you are looking for more of a packaged trip, give Mary Penxa with Sawmill Creek Fiber Events a call as she has two knitting trips with the fabulous Casapinka leading her trips. Begin your Sawmill Creek Fiber adventure here.
Rhea Butler will guide you on the English Paper Piecing, fussy cutting and, Lucy Boston methods. Learn this popular quilting technique and see how addicting it is! This style of sewing is perfect for the novice, the experienced, and those in between. Start your Maine Slow Sewing/Quilting trip here.
Back for a second year is 207 Creatives with a rug hooking trip. Did you know that rug hooking as it’s known today was developed along our own Eastern Seaboard? Join this rug hooking/fiber art class by accomplished fiber artist, author, and hooker, Susan L. Feller of Artwools. You’ll be using modern linen foundation (instead of burlap) and a variety of materials, including 100% wool. Are you ready to “Get Hooked at Sea”? Book your Maine Rug Hooking cruise here.
Join us on any, or all, of these fun and creative
Knitting with Mim, Bill, or Maggie
Knitting with Sawmill Creek Fiber Events
Rug Hooking with 207 Creatives
Slow Sewing/Quilting with Rhea Butler
The barn is abuzz with winter projects. While Louis and Chives prep and sand and scrape and fill, Capt. is busy repairing the peapod. A couple of summers ago she received some structural damage to her mid-section and while she has held up fairly well under the strain, it was time to address her needs.
We carry this sweet little row boat on our davits and lower her all summer long for those who want to do a little harbor exploring or catch a bit of exercise to work off Annie’s meals, so she’s pretty important to our summer operations. In addition, she’s a Jimmy Steele design, one of the many built by the famous boat builder. We are lucky to have such a special little vessel and we are happy to be taking good care of her.
Here’s a little photo journal of the work and care she’s receiving.
Photos by Captain Jon Finger
While the weather outside fluctuates between spring and the arctic, inside the barn, all is toasty and warm… and busy! Louis and Chives, long-time Riggin crew, are both ‘on deck’ so to speak and in the barn full-time. Right now, much of their work is about making dust as they sand and scrape all of the surfaces in preparation for their shiny coats.
Photos by Captain Jon Finger and Elizabeth Poisson
Photo by Alan ‘Mouse’ Castonguay
It was one of the best seasons in our 21 years of owning the Riggin, filled with moments that we want to absorb deeply so that as winter settles in, we can unpack and relive them one by one.
- Many of our evenings are spent under the darkening sky scattered with millions of twinkling stars and singing harmony with the girls to Jon’s guitar. One night, after music, someone pointed to this strange color in the night sky. It took us but a second to realize that it was aurora borealis, a phenomenon of electrons and light, which magically lit up the night sky.
- So many beautiful lobster bakes were shared while sitting on the beach looking out at pine-studded islands, digging feet into the sand, splashing toes in the chilly briny Maine water and feasting on the freshest Maine lobster ever.
- Whales! For the first time in over a decade, we saw whales in Penobscot Bay. For some time, we’ve yearned for sightings like we used to have and were blessed this summer. It gives us hope that the bay is changing for the good….
- Every Race Week is special, but this year’s was one for the books. Even as we started the race, we were at the head of the pack. After a full day of tacking and strategizing, we were in the last leg and just under the hills of Rockport off Indian Head Light. The wind had died at this point to a whiff, and we were all yearning for the forecast 15 knots. With only two vessels in front of us, we saw wind begin to skim the surface of the water. Seconds later, they began to heal and then heal hard. And the wind was upon us. The Riggin gently healed over and when the physics of the sails began to dominate, she started to move forward and pick up speed. The wind drove her with such purpose as we went from a relaxed, everyday sail to a thrilling chase that had us pulling ahead of one of the two vessels. The Riggin finished 2nd in her class and overall! What a moment!
As always, it is a blessing to spend our summers with you all. We hope that this letter finds you all in the peak of health, in the throes of happy, and surrounded by the love of your family (chosen or given).
Photo by Captain Jon Finger