Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy May Day

Flax Sweater
Happy May Day! Once upon a time, my dear Mom helped my siblings and I assemble and deliver May Baskets. Sometimes they were paper cups with pipe cleaner handles and other times they were more elaborate construction paper creations. We filled them with popcorn and small candies - gum drops, M and M's, and/or candy corn. The custom was to set them on the front porch, ring the doorbell, and then run so the recipient wouldn't chase after you and kiss your cheek. My Mom never wanted any child to be left out so we placed May Baskets in large dress boxes on the back seat and she drove us to the homes of classmates who lived further away. When Mom was a girl, she filled May Baskets with flowers from the yard and only a little candy. My children carried their baskets to nearby neighbor children. Today my Connecticut grandsons are delivering a few to church personnel, much to the recipients' surprise. Is this a Midwest custom or did children in other parts of the country also deliver May Baskets?

Yesterday light rain fell and today is gray and damp. In between rains, I weeded two perennial flowerbeds. The iris show a few buds and the lilacs are blooming. This week has been quite chilly but that will change. I am dreaming about planting tomatoes and basil after the last frost date. In the meantime, a healthy crop of weeds grows in the vegetable patch.

Since I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers, I add knitting/sewing and reading notes. I haven't finished any projects but I haven't unraveled anything either. This past week I finished sewing together the blocks of Norah's Christmas Quilt. The next step is to shop for fabrics for a simple border and backing. Slowly but surely. No deadlines makes the process much more enjoyable. I also knit on two little sweaters. I hope this baby sweater blocks flat. I have knit this pattern previously and had no trouble with a rolling edge so I am hoping for the best. Norah's Flax Sweater begins to look like a sweater. I rarely knit with the yarn/gauge specified in a pattern so I swatched for both projects in order to choose an appropriate size. I tend to knit a little bigger size as babies always grow. This new little one, due in August, is a second cousin to Norah and all the boys.

Louise Cardigan

I am almost finished rereading The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. As usual, I had forgotten parts of the story. Emily Carr, the heroine and main character is certainly intrepid and unconventional. I may look for a little information about her. I am always curious about how closely historical fiction follows fact. I listened to The American Agent, the latest Maisie Dobbs novel/mystery. Maisie moves into World War II in this novel. Descriptions of the Blitz bombing of London in 1940 as well as Maisie's personal life, including a romantic interest and a child she is adopting are part of the story. Returning to this series is like meeting up with a good friend. The narrator is excellent. Time and tea with Maisie Dobbs are perfect for chilly spring evenings. Both of these novels are pure escape reading but sometimes escape is just the thing.

Welcome May. May the sun shine a little brighter on all of us. I am looking forward to flip flops, capris, and tee shirts. What about you?


  1. I remember May baskets, too! We used to make construction paper cones, add a doily on the inside and a handle on the outside, then fill them with flowers (sometimes dandelions). We would hang them on the doorknob, ring the doorbell, and then run. One year the teachers at my elementary school even tried to make the flag pole into a May pole with crepe paper streamers. There was a dance that we were supposed to do that would weave the streamers into a lovely design down the length of the pole, but it was mostly a straggly mess. Thanks for sparking some fun memories. I haven't thought about May baskets in years and am glad your grandsons are carrying on the tradition.

  2. Distributing May baskets sounds like such a nice custom! In the Netherlands we don't really have any First of May traditions, sadly.
    I love the colors of both sweaters. Hope the pink one will block flat.
    Those Maisie Dobbs books sound great! I'm going to look for them.

  3. I delivered May baskets to my neighbors as a child, too! (We were in northern Illinois at the time.) My mom helped my sister and I make them, and we also filled them with flowers (mostly lawn violets and dandelinons as I recall) and candies. May 1 is also my Dad's birthday, so we always had some sort of celebration going that day! Thanks for the sweet memories.

  4. Oh you are the only one who remained me of May baskets. Such a cute tradition. It is raining here, again, but at least it is not snow! The cats need it to be just a bit warmer for them to enjoy the porch and stop chasing one another all over the house

  5. I also remember May Day baskets from my childhood in Wisconsin (era- the 1950-60’s). We lived rurally but walked to a few neighboring farms to leave the construction paper cones and flowers, never knew candies were also added.
    A very nice memory, which I did remember on that day surprisingly.

  6. I hope your blocking dreams come true with the sweater, it's beautiful! Your mom sounds like a fun person to be with. I'm itching to cast on something new, but I need to finish something first.

  7. Yes, my family (Northern Illinois) did May Day Baskets. My mother and her sister did them at school (small town in the 1930's) and delivered them to all the single ladies in town. I wrote a blog about it also. :)

  8. I remember May Day baskets - both making and helping my kids make them! But, here in Pittsburgh I have not seen or heard anything thing about them.

    Your baby sweater knitting is so much fun!