Winter Cottage and The Shoemaker's Hat

At the close of a damp October day the silence of the woods was broken by the sound of a car rattling and chugging on the road behind the cottage. It was a lonely road, and, even in the summer, the city cars took the hill quietly. But this car sounded like a hardware shop on a holiday. It was small and very old, with a rickety trailer swinging crazily along behind it.    Carol Ryrie Brink, Winter Cottage, 1939


For most of December, I feared it was lost. Right after mentioning it at a lovely holiday breakfast Sharron McElmeel held for a group of local children’s book writers and illustrators, it seemed to have disappeared. Could I have lent it to someone? I didn’t think so. Not the Winter Cottage. After all, it’s one of my favorite books and it’s out of print. But searching my bookshelves and all the other ones in the house turned up nothing. Through interlibrary loan I was able to secure a copy. For three weeks. That’s when I dreamed up a great plan. I’d type up my own copy.  Just think what I would learn about writing the middle grade novel from that exercise!

Here’s the catch. I am a terrible typist. Really terrible. Not only do I peck with one finger, which, if I was I accurate might be efficient, but as some of you may have noticed, I make a lot of mistakes. Finally two weeks ago I gave up and ordered the cheapest used copy I could find. It arrived quickly.With a broken spine and a loose binding, my new copy was vastly inferior to sturdy version I had owned, and am now happy to say, that I found only a few days ago.

Rereading a favorite book always gives you a chance to remember beloved parts and also notice what you might have overlooked in previous readings.  I’m happy to report that I still love the Winter Cottage gang -- Minty, Pop, Eggs, Joe, Marcia, Mr. Vincent, Mrs. Gustafson and her clan.  And  I still love the story – a family during the great depression hits hard times and take refuge in a summer cottage. And without giving away too much, I still love the pancake part, too.

Something did change for me on this reading. This time, my knitter’s heart ached for Minty, the 12 year old heroine of the book. In the wonderful pen and illustrations by Fermin Rocker, she’s always wearing scarf on her head. Poor Minty, surely she suffered cold during that Wisconsin winter. What she needed was a good wool hat. Like the one Clara Parkes is offering over Knitter’s Review. If you have a Minty in your life, or if you’d like to donate a good warm hat to a group that aids the Mintys out there, check out this fast, warm, and wooly pattern. Hurry, it’s a free download only until January 15th. I’ll be casting mine on this weekend.

News and Noteworthy:

Remember the Hereville Contest is on until January 22. Click the share button on the contest post and help spread the word. For your 2012 reading pleasure, when the contest is over, I'll post a pdf with all the favorites.

My new Lion Brand essay is in the works, it will appear in the January 13 newletter, The Weekly Stitch.

Have you written your 2012 goals and resolution? My New Year's resolution is over at Living Crafts blog.  Do stop by their blog, read all the crafter's resolutions and browse about--it's loaded with wonderful crafting idea.