Foundation Friday: Biscuits & Blocking

Happy Foundation Friday!

I’ve talked a lot about blocking in knitting. It seems easy enough but sometimes requires just a little extra! The extras can be:

  • the liquid used to saturate knitting before blocking
  • the time an item soaks
  • the temperature knitting soaks at
  • what at item is blocked with
  • what an item is blocked into

Seems like a lot when you quickly think that blocking is no more than a soak in water, patting into shape and allowing to dry, eh?

My favorite liquid in which to relax knittery before blocking is by Soak in the Fig fragrance. Sooooo yummy!

Fig There are indeed other brands of washing liquid for completed knits. Like Eucalan, I like it too!

Wool Wash

While the product is important (look for no rinse agents– even though you likely will rinse you want to know that nothing harmful will remain in your finished knit to attract dirt, look dingy or cause a problem) the thing of greatest urgency is HOW you presoak/rinse!

Fill a basin (or clean sink) with just warm water and add the soaking product according to the label directions, it usually requires very little! Drop in your item and very gently sink it/smoosh it so that it becomes wet. Evenly wet. DO NOT AGITATE!!! Agitation can cause felting in woolens and even pilling in acrylics. You want your knit to be completely and totally wet and this might take an hour or so. Make sure your basin is large enough to handle the item for even wetting and that you have enough product incorporated into the volume of water needed. For example, a large afghan might best soak in a bathtub with a couple inches of water, adjusting the amount of product needed.  When you’ve adequately soaked/wetted/relaxed your finished knit, drain the water and allow the item to drain a minute, compressing uber gently. Then into a white fluffy towel (or two) lay the item and very very gently roll the towel and squish it to remove water. Add a dry towel or two and repeat the process until the knit is damp and smiling. Then to the blocking process you go!

Blocking can be as gentle as a pat pat and fluff fluff. It depends on the item. An acrylic sweater might require very little as opposed to a wool sweater or something with edges that want to curl, in a size that isn’t perfectly as prescribed in your pattern or if the fiber used is fussy. The most important thing is to block to size. Use a tape measure that is easily readable and your set of finished measurements/schematic. Measure each component called for and pin into a thick towel or a pinnable foam type surface.

Speaking of surfaces, I personally like to be able to pin into something to block. For me, it gives the best results in the fastest time.

Blocking MatsI like the foam mats from Knit Picks. They’re reasonable and break apart for easy storage. You set up as many locking pieces as you need and can pin into it over and over and over again. Having said that, there have been many times I’ll use a clean fluffy towel if my item just needs a pat and a promise!!

Socks love to be blocked on a sock blocker– again, you can lay them out on a surface and push and pat if     they’re simple. A lacier sock or a sock that has a distinct pattern will benefit from a little loving care! Stainless Steel Sock Blockers

I love the stainless steel sock blockers from Bryspun! There study yet lightweight, socks dry quickly AND you can hang them to catch a breeze!

Another blocking essential especially if you’re a lace knitter are blocking wires! They’re long flexible wires that when woven through the edge of a product and pinned into a mat make sizing easy and showing off a beautiful pattern or open weave a snap. The ones from Lazadas at Noble Knits are excellent!

Waiting until an item is blocked and dry is a very hard thing to do! Don’t be tempted to remove your knits from their pins or wires until they’re completely and totally dry!!!! Patience is a knitterly virtue after all!

I’m finishing with a foundation we never do enough for ourselves….. I’m braggin’!!! :)  I’ve refined and tweaked, messed and fiddled and think that I have the Perfect Biscuit recipe!!! Per.Fect. The color is great without butter or an egg wash (but both really make it pop if you’ve a mind to), you can split a biscuit with your fingers and not use a knife, there are perfect layers, it doesn’t break apart and the flavor and texture are fabulous. I told you….. PERFECT!!!

The weekend’s coming, are there biscuits in your future? There just might be in mine!!



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The Problem With Knitting

For me….. the Problem With Knitting a big (sometimes boring) project is that my mind wanders to projects I can’t wait to do/would rather be doing/!!!

Sewing—- Crafting— Creating

I’ve started a list. From yesterday!

Have you seen the ADORABLE organizer in “Sew It All Magazine”????? I was wandering through Books A Million (such a dangerous place to be on any day) and saw this on the cover:

Stinkin cute right? I can’t even tell you how much I want to make this! In my altered while knitting state of possibilities I think that there should be some made for gifts. I see rafts of them. This one says it’s to carry stitching supplies but honestly, this one would fit my everyday wallet needs plus be large enough to carry my phone and would work really well with a strap to make it a crossbody. I need (and you know who you are) someone to use that big fancy embroidery machine and make me a monogram for the front!!!

Life does not always meet up with knitting daydreams but hope springs eternal.

Knitting content, almost done with the second cable block— Snake Cables. I love this block of mirror image snakes but this particular cable pattern always makes me feel as if I haven’t ‘crossed a cable’. Like it a lot though.

I’m getting ready to enter the Bride Zone again with another wedding show this Sunday. So far the latest crop of brides are fabulous. Well except for the one who shall remain nameless. She’s a ‘zilla of all ‘zilla’s and it will be pretty great to get her off the books. Oh, and the MOB (Mother of the Bride) who is KILLING me. I’m telling you, they have not paid enough to be such enormous time sucks.

Have a fab Wednesday, go ahead…. be creative!!!

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Monday Monday?

Yup, Monday again. And a new month! It’s still hotter than billy heck around here (thanks Grams, I never get tired of that saying!) but the local kids are headed back to school this week. SEC football is getting ready to kick off and it was Fall Fashion Day yesterday. (of course I watched!!) And I’m not ready for summer to be over. At all. It’s time to give some thought to the fall wardrobe (such that it is on Island Time) and while waiting on hold yesterday I sketched a couple of ideas using my very own and completely fabulous sloper. (Thanks so much Cal Patch & Creativebug I love you both madly truly!!) A couple of knit tops in a color I’d call avocado and one in a sapphireISH blue. I need more fabric, better put that on the list!

That lovely weekend I was dreaming of evaporated in a flurry of contracts and details— never a bad thing but I did get less done than I thought/hoped. There was a loooooooong bike ride on Sunday to clear our the old and prepare for the new!

Beige Afghan? Five, count’em FIVE squares completed and a solo cable block on the needles. I’ll take it. Plus finished watching a 6 year series again On Demand. The afghan knit along with Creativebug is going to be on Week 6 this week with 6 weeks to go. I think with half of the plain garter blocks done and being a fairly fast cable knitter I’ll be able to catch up and finish the afghan when the class/knit along wraps. Hold me to it!

I’m really liking the stitch definition with the yarn (Red Heart Soft) working the cables too!

The week will be a flurry leading up to a wedding show this weekend, there is a book to finish before my Nook sucks it back to the library and then the finale of that series is sitting in the wings. I need a beach day scheduled to get some reading done!

Have a fantastic week!  OOOOOH— in case you don’t know, the Art Journaling Class with Dawn Devries Sokol kicks off today! It’s bound to be GREAT even if you’re not an art journaler. (And I bet you might become one!)

Art Journaling with Dawn Devries Sokol - Creativebug


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Afghan #2: And we’re off!!!

I’m still basking in the glow of the completed Mitered Square Afghan. Really. And have begun knitting Afghan #2, the designer is Edie Eckman and it’s a featured knit along on Creativebug. You know how I love me some Creativebug! Simple bias garter squares alternate with cable squares making this an easy knit. The neutral beige (colorway: wheat) is almost unbearably quiet after knitting on the saturated colors of the last afghan for so long.

Four of the ten garter squares in my reward to myself will be to knit some FUN cable squares at the five plain squares completed point. I’m off this weekend and it’s supposed to be rainy so that may keep me off my bike and on my needles more!

I love a July Beach, don’t you? SO nice to run to the water when it’s unbelievably hot and just float until your fingers and toes prune up!!! School starts here in the next couple of weeks (unbelievable) so the beach is starting to clear out a little bit. It’s been delightful! I can pop a beach mat and towel in the bike basket and make a run for it!

Have a great weekend!!

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Giddy with excitement, GIDDY to the bone!  The Hue Shift Afghan is DONE! The last row was bliss, the binding off was outstanding and after the last stitch was off the needles? I danced. I’m not sure if it was the jerk, the hully gully or just a dance of mad passion but you can bet that there was dancing!!!

Did you enjoy the Hully Gully? I know I did!  :)

So, the afghan. The one that is done and danced over. Began on November 11, 2013 and finished July 28, 2014.

She needs a nice relaxing soak and a gentle blocking. I always enjoy the blocking process because it gives me a last chance to pat in some last good thoughts and prayers, love it a last time and put in the very best wishes for the recipient!

I’ve started the second afghan a SIMPLER PROJECT (because I’ve clearly lost my mind), from my favorite thing— Creativebug. This one is super simple and would be perfect for a beginning knitter. It’s from instructor Edie Eckman and knit in Red Heart Soft. I’m not normally a Red Heart knitter but I am a passionate believer of purchasing materials from those who help bring a great idea or class to the front— and this class has Red Heart branding. I found the Red Heart from Loveknitting a UK company that offered outstanding prices (honestly half the US price!!), shipped free and fast-  it arrived in a week beautifully packaged! See the cute little project bags the yarn came in? Nice touch Loveknitting!! You can be sure I’ll be back!


The yarn itself is super duper soft—- and yup, it is acrylic. NOT a bad thing when it comes to afghans, especially when they’re gifts and you can’t be sure how they’ll be treated. The yarn for the mitered square afghan was also an acrylic, slightly finer in gauge and more tightly spun. The Red Heart Soft is not as tightly spun, has a very nice sheen and not ‘splitty’. I’ve knitted half of the first of 10 bias garter blocks and enjoy knitting with it so far.

Putting It All Together

This latest afghan is also modular in simple bias blocks and different cable squares so it’ll be great to take on the go— on the go is the order of the day! The perk is that the follow along class is a 12 weeker, meaning I’ll definitely have this done by Christmas THIS YEAR!  :) (The class has started but you can pick it up anytime or catch up along with me). I love to knit cables so I’m looking forward to this one a lot, different cable patterns all together in an afghan with the gentle nudge of an online class! The semi-vacay of early July is long gone and in it’s place are brides and more brides— not a bad thing!

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One Almost DONE: TWO in the Wings!

This is BIG y’all!  B.I.G. As in notorious!!!

The Mitered Square Afghan? I’m smelling soak and seeing blocking! Half of the last border remains and it will be finished, finito, fini, & pau hana honey! Can you tell I’m positively GIDDY over it? Beyond.


I love the way the black border sets everything off and melds it together at the same time!

And the two in the wings? Finishing up a large lap quilt and beginning the knitting of afghan number 2. Christmas is going to be incredibly wonderful this year!! The getting there has been something but when it’s all done and ready to be unwrapped, it’ll be incredible!

Did you see the ‘peek’ behind the mitered square afghan???? Let me give you another small peek before the bigger reveal:

 The past weekend there was opportunity to do a quick wander to the ‘island next door’. I have to leave you with a near sunset view of Driftwood Beach, it’s amazing!


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Foundation Friday: Yarn Conversion

Using yarn in a project that isn’t exactly the yarn that was called for in the pattern? You just KNOW that you can’t substitute lace weight (very fine) yarn for a thick, chunky yarn in a heavy sweater. Without using 25 strands of it—- which would just be crazy. But frequently the creative knitter wants to use a different yarn either because it is in the stash or you don’t like (or can’t find) the yarn that is called for.

From a yarn as fine as a spiderweb to a yarn so fat you need to make stitches with a needle fat as a broomstick the spectrum is made. This becomes a problem when you understand that not all yarn companies call different weights of yarn the same thing! Almost all companies call a lace weight a lace weight upon a site search BUT this can also be called fingering weight. Sock yarn is a fine yarn that CAN be as fine as a lace weight but not usually. SOMETIMES depending on the pattern a sock yarn is actually the weight called for and NOT a lace weight. Weights 2,3, and 4 are also very confusing as there is not a lot of difference in a fine, light or medium weight yarn with medium weight frequently the size of a worsted weight yarn. The chart below shows the weight symbols and the corresponding names of the yarn— from fingering through sock, sport, DK, worsted, chunky and bulky.

Yarn Weight Symbol
& Category Names
lace super fine fine light medium bulky super bulky
Type of
Yarns in
Knit Gauge
Range* in
Stitch to 4 inches
Needle in
Metric Size
8 mm
Needle U.S.
Size Range
000–1 1 to 3 3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 11 11
Crochet Gauge*
Ranges in
Single Crochet
to 4 inch
Hook in Metric
Size Range
mm and
Hook U.S.
Size Range
6, 7, 8
hook B–1
K–10 1⁄2
K–10 1⁄2 to


The chart below (from Ravelry) incorporates a couple other useful pieces of information—- WRAPS and PLY.

Wraps are calculated by how many times a yarn can wrap around a consistently sized object in the space of an inch. There is room to fudge this as your brain may WANT to make that yarn a certain size and subcontiously you’ll squinch or spread it! I love this $9.99 tool from Knit Picks that much more easily calculates wraps per inch, it’s a good tool for your knitting bag! Remember to wrap evenly over the inch to be measured, if a yarn is uneven wrap a longer length and average!

WPI Tool and Knit Card

Ply? When you look at a yarn how is it made? Is there one single thickness of the yarn or is that strand of yarn made from 2, 3 or even 4 smaller strands of the same (or different) yarn? How a yarn is plied, in which direction, and how tightly it is spun to make the yarn in question is another subject for another time! For basic purposes, notice the ply chart below. You’ll see that a super fat yarn is usually comprised of several plies of yarn—- BUT the ginormous yarn found today and used for arm knitting or to be knit on size 50 needles (25mm) are usually one ply of a yarn without much twist and can also be called roving. Most commonly roving is defined as the material (wool) that is held and drawn as the yarn is spun (plied) into a thinner yarn. Again, a subject for another time.

Name Ply (UK, NZ, AU) Wraps per inch Knit gauge (4 in / 10 cm) Crochet gauge
Thread 0 : Lace
Cobweb 1 ply 0 : Lace
Lace 2 ply 32-34 stitches 0 : Lace
Light Fingering 3 ply 32 stitches 0 : Lace
Fingering 4 ply 14 wpi 28 stitches 1 : Super Fine
Sport 5 ply 12 wpi 24-26 stitches 2 : Fine
DK 8 ply 11 wpi 22 stitches 3 : Light
Worsted 10 ply 9 wpi 20 stitches 4 : Medium
Aran 10 ply 8 wpi 18 stitches 4 : Medium
Bulky 12 ply 7 wpi 14-15 stitches 5 : Bulky
Super Bulky 5-6 wpi 8-12 stitches 6 : Super Bulky

When deciding on a yarn to use or substitute in any pattern use the charts gathering your information. Check this info against the pattern requirements given— usually in the form of gauge. Then—- knit samples (the dreaded gauge swatch) using a couple different needle sizes. Check the gauge YOU knit against the resulting fabric (feel, look, hang) and again, check that against the pattern.

You can ALMOST always make gauge—- but the knitted swatch using the given gauge may give a knitted fabric that is just not going to work.

It’s a process. Enjoy the journey little knitter!!

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Roadtrip: Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery

The time is flying and hard as I try it’s impossible to put the brakes on summer 2014! And I’d really like to! With a big wedding show coming up this weekend and several elopements on the books it’s been a whirlwind. Not always a bad thing, no work at all would surely be far worse!!!

I tagged along last week to Savannah to hang out at the Mansion on Forsyth during a short elopement where I had nothing else to do besides sit by the pool and have a cocktail! We did arrive early enough to check out Bonaventure Cemetery while the weather was not so desperately hot as usual. Gorgeous, what a gorgeous place! I’m a fan of historic (or just plain old) southern cemeteries anyway and Bonaventure had been on my list for a long time. It did not let me down. The cemetery really became famous when “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was published and the ‘bird girl’ that was the book cover has been moved to a museum in Savannah.

There are plenty of other historic graves in Bonaventure and many Savannah notables:

I gazed awe-stricken as one new-arrived from another world. Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light.”
“Camping in the Tombs,” from A Thousand Mile Walk

Perhaps one of the most famous graves is that of Little Gracie, I’ll give you a closer look below:

From Visit Historic comes a wonderful telling of her story:

“One of the most visited grave sites in Bonaventure Cemetery is that of ‘Little Gracie‘. Her story has captivated visitors to Bonaventure Cemetery for over 100 years. The wrought iron fence surrounding her grave site is often adorned with little gifts left by people who were touched by the story of Little Gracie. After all, she died at a young age and was left behind in Savannah, all alone after her death.

Gracie Watson was born in 1883 to W.J. and Frances Watson. The Watson family was originally from Boston Massachusetts. They made their way to Savannah after W.J. was hired to manage the Pulaski Hotel. This luxurious hotel, which was located at the corner of Bull Street and Bryan Street, was one of the best hotels in all of the south. Managing the hotel was a prestigious position. While working at the Hotel his daughter, Gracie Watson, became quite the center of attention. This bright eyed girl warmed the hearts and brought smiles to the faces of almost every visitors to the Pulaski Hotel. It is said she would put on little shows for the guests, dancing in the lobby and singing songs. Any of us with young children could certainly relate to this!

In 1889, just two days before Easter Gracie Watson would pass on. She suffered from pneumonia and finally her little body couldn’t take any more. Savannah was heart-broken. Her parents were far beyond heart-broken. Her father fell into a deep depression after Gracie’s death. She was laid to rest on the Watson family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery. As a tribute to his beautiful little girl, Gracie’s father had sculpture John Walz carve a monument to his girl. Using a photograph as reference John Walz scupltued the monument which now sits upon Little Gracie’s grave site out at Bonaventure Cemetery. It is said to be life size and a picture perfect representation of Little Gracie Watson. This hauntingly beautiful monument to Little Gracie has captivated visitors to her grave site for over 100 years.

Perhaps the most heart breaking part of the story is the Gracie is here all alone. After her death, her father quit his job managing the Pulaski Hotel. He took a job working at the Desoto Hotel. However, that didn’t last too long. Eventually him and Frances moved back to New England, leaving Gracie all alone in Savannah. After their deaths Gracie’s parents were buried in New England. Is this part of the reason why Little Gracie’s grave site is such a popular place to visit in Bonaventure? It would only be human of us to want to comfort the young girl, to keep her company, even after death. Perhaps we feel a need to keep her spirit from getting lonely, even though she is buried over 1000 miles from the only family she ever knew.

The Ghost of Little Gracie

Even after death Gracie has remained an ambassador for Savannah. It seems that the spirit of Little Gracie Watson is still around. Many people have reported seeing the ghost of a little girl playing in Johnson Square, the Square that the Pulaski Hotel was built on. Some of the people who have seen this ghost have said that they believe the ghost to be a real girl, with a pretty white dress, running around Johnson Square, just as you would imaging any child to do….until she disappeared into thin air. I personally have never seen the ghost of Gracie Watson, or talked to anyone to hear a first hand account of them seeing her. Is her ghost really seen in Johnson Square? Or are these simply reports from people who had over active imaginations? I guess I will have to spend some more time sitting in Johnson Square late at night to see if I can see her for myself.”

I closed my day at the incredibly beautiful Mansion on Forsyth where I enjoyed an excellent Old Fashioned with a Sweetwater 420 chaser. I should have brought my knitting along!

Speaking of knitting, I’m halfway through the border of the Mitered Square Afghan!  Time to join the entire afghan (it’s currently in two sections) and the last two borders will march down the remaining sides. Almost done,  I can’t stand it.  In crazy news, I’m getting ready to knit another afghan for a Christmas gift—- much faster and easier. Deets later! :)



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Foundation Friday: Tools that Save

Tools that save? Pretty fast and loose talk, eh?

But there are several that save us time energy (cussing and carrying on).

My current favorites are:

The quilt marking gun. Line up your quilt top, batting and backing and shoot the boogers out of it. It makes delicious tight layers for machine quilting and even if it’s unavoidable to stitch over a ‘tack’…. it’s okay because they’re plastic.

The Bias Binder foot for sewing machines:

The one above is for a Bernina.  I hate to bind a quilt, hate it! Maybe because it’s the last boring step in getting a quilt into the ‘finished category’ or maybe just because. But this foot does a great job of putting on a nice tight, flat binding onto a raw quilt edge. Most sewing machines have one specific to them and run in the $40-60 dollar range.

The Pom Pom Maker:

LOVE me a pom pom, and although they never really go out of style they’re huge right now! Clover makes a good one and it runs under $10. Can we ever get enough creative toys?

I love to watercolor for projects and in my journal so the watersoluable shading pencil is great! Small enough to pack easily to take along and it can provide a fine bit of shading to a large heavy shadow depending on the application.

I couldn’t get by without my Koi Water Brushes! I have all 3 sizes and keep them filled and in my walk about sketch kit. The reservoirs hold plenty of water and don’t leak at all. They do a great job in their super fine to fat tips. (sizes #2,#6 and #8) No need to carry water along and many times I use them in the studio to blend colors and shading.

Double Pointed Needles fit into the great tools category. You can buy cheapies…… and buy pricier needles. I don’t like plastic needles (although I did recently knit an the Mitered Square Afghan on orange plastic double pointed Pony needles!)

and I hate metal double points. My favorites are also gorgeous on their own:

From Blue Sky comes these gorgeous rosewood needles— satisfying to knit with and delightful to hold. Mine were from Purl Soho.

I’ ve recently been a foray into leather working for bracelets and jewelry and have fallen in love with the 1/8″ french edge tool    Osborne French Edge Tool 1/8"




and the Osborne embossing wheel Osborne Embossing Wheelsboth from Zack White.

Every creative needs excellent storage, right? My new favorites are from (where else) The Container Store:

CUTE!!!!  And $11.99-$18.99, can’t beat it!


What do YOU love?


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Travelogue: Cumberland Island: Plum Orchard: First African Baptist Church: Dungeness

It’s a long post, heavy with photos but if you stick around I think you’ll really enjoy the trip!

We recently traveled to Cumberland Island for a bit of R&R, a bit of work and to visit the First African Baptist Church on the north end. The island itself is absolutely amazing. Owned by the National Park Service with a few landhold families who live there for varied terms and arrangements many are the descendants of the original Carnegie and Candler owners of the Island. Cumberland Island limits daily visitors to 300 and arriving on the island takes place by ferry out of St. Mary’s Georgia and contracted through the NPS on the Cumberland Island website.

Cumberland Island is approximately 18 miles long and between one-half and 3 miles wide—or about 40 square miles.

Cumberland Island, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

golden isles, getaway vacation, luxury romantic hotel, georgia coast, oceanfront hotel

Most visitors are day visitors although there is camping at several sites as well as lodging at the Greyfield Inn. The ferry leaves at 9 and most visitors head back to the mainland on the 4:45 ferry although there is an earlier one for quick visits and to return campers and residents to St. Mary’s. On any day you could see jumping sting rays, manatee, or even a submarine from nearby Kings Bay!

You’re at the mercy of the elements and must carry on your own water and food as none is available. Pack it on, pack it off. Restrooms are few and far between but clearly marked on the map provided by the NPS. Most day visitors travel to the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness, and it’s remarkable grounds. Wandering around the perimeter of the ruins, along sandy paths shaded by enormous live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss and out to the beach along a couple long boardwalks over the marsh and over hot white sand is a once in a lifetime experience. While bicycles are available to rent, in all honesty they aren’t maintained very well and are useful only to travel the short walk to Dungeness. Biking further north is very VERY difficult due to the deep sand and intermittent washboard surface of the roads—- ask us how we know! :)  Our first trip to Cumberland was with the thought we’d bike up to the church where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Bessette. We were wrong and actually made it just a bit further than the Stafford Cemetery.  But this trip the focus was on reaching the church……. and focused we were. Arranging for a tour (after hours on the phone waiting to make a reservation), and arriving at Sea Camp, we boarded a van with 6 other guests of the island and had the opportunity to tour another unoccupied mansion on Cumberland, Plum Orchard. Enormous, magnificent, still showing off Tiffany lamps, beautiful wallpaper as well as many features ahead of it’s time (ice makers, elevator driven by water pressure and gorgeous bathrooms) touring the mansion and having lunch on the grounds with the wild horses was a treat.

Did I mention that approximately 140 wild horses have the freedom to wander all over the island and are seen everywhere? They aren’t terribly skittish around humans but approaching them is definitely not recommended!

Plum Orchard was amazing, I was so glad it was open for touring on our visit. Dedicated in 1898, it’s remarkable to me that tourists can take in just about every nook and cranny & find it is wonderful shape!

The mansion had lots of unique ‘tech’ that was not seen in ‘regular’ homes for many years such as the heated towel racks in the bathrooms, the bells that summoned the servants in the basement, and plumbing in the bathrooms that was so modern it was not hidden from view. Note one of the children’s dollhouse in the lower left! The bell on the lower right is engraved with the names George Carnegie and his wife Margaret who built the mansion. It was rung only when visitors were coming up the long drive or in case of an emergency.

There is still a squash tennis court as well as an (empty) indoor pool 9 feet at the deepest and quite large!

The kitchen was ENORMOUS taking up a huge space in the basement. Recently renovated with fresh pennyround tile and a fresh coat of paint I felt as if I could move right in and begin work!

Check out the electronic board on the upper left. A bell in each of the rooms of Plum Orchard could be rung and the staff summoned to exactly the right place! I got a kick out of one of the sinks in the kitchen on the lower right— it would be gorgeous in a kitchen today!

Moving out past Plum Orchard after having lunch on the grounds we stopped at Stafford Cemetery, and drove out past the Stafford mansion. The road got MUCH worse as the van moved through the center of the island past pig traps and the occasional camping sites well off the road. Once arrival at the north end of the island it was more than clear to me that there was no way in the world that we would have made the trip on bikes during our first trip over to Cumberland. The roads were that grueling, the rental bikes that bad.

That brings me to an iconic site, historic on it’s own yet having an attraction for today’s bride and all visitors! This remote location is 12 miles from the Sea Camp dock, the second stop of the ferry into the island, the ferry ride itself is 45 minutes long. The ride from Sea Camp is easily an hour, maybe more for horses in the road, trees blocking the way or any number of hazards. I’d love to go back again and  stay on at the Greyfield Inn!

The church sits at the end of the island before a river separates Cumberland Island from Little Cumberland Island, not accessible to tourists and privately owned. I have SUCH a hankering to go and see the lighthouse there! “This small, one-room church on the north end of Cumberland Island is where John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married on September 21, 1996. Constructed of whitewashed logs, it’s simply adorned with a cross made of sticks tied together with string and 11 handmade pews seating 40 people. It was built in 1937 to replace a cruder 1893 structure used by former slaves from the High Point–Half Moon Bluff community. The Kennedy–Bessette wedding party stayed at the Greyfield Inn, built on the south end of the island in 1900 by the Carnegie family.” (Fodors)

Goosebump stuff indeed.

Doesn’t everyone know the iconic photograph of JFK Jr. and his bride Carolyn Bessette Kennedy leaving the church?

© 1996 Denis Reggie

The wedding planned by Cumberland Island resident and Carnegie descendant Gogo Ferguson, “Carolyn walked down the aisle in a $40,000 pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length gown, hand-rolled tulle silk veil and long silk gloves by Narcisco Rodriguez. She also wore beaded satin Manolo Blahnik sandals. Her hair was pulled back away from her face and styled by George Kyriakos. A bun at the nape of her neck was pinned with a clip belonging to Jackie Kennedy. She clutched a lily of the valley bouquet, arranged by Rachel “Bunny” Melon, the same woman who designed the White House rose garden. The groom wore a single-breasted, midnight-blue wool suit, with a white piqué vest by Gordon Henderson and his father’s wristwatch. Following the ceremony, guests retreated to the Greyfield Inn for a reception. Dinner included shrimp, artichokes, grilled swordfish and lemon-raspberry ice cream. There was also a traditional three-tier white wedding cake covered with vanilla butter cream frosting and flowers.” (

Normally you’d never be able to squeeze in a trip to the southerly Dungeness ruins but our tour driver was kind enough to drop us off so that we could tour there and catch the ferry back from the main dock and not Sea Camp. I’d been before but it was no less magical!

Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanael Greene purchased land on Cumberland Island in 1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original foundation in 1884. The Carnegie’s Dungeness burned in 1959 and today only the ruins remain on the site. (NPS)

No doubt I’ll go back again to magical Cumberland Island

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