December 7, 2012

Crafter creates homespun-holiday charm


---- — SOMEWHERE IN PERU OR PLATTSBURGH — “The Knitter” has a handmade and homespun aesthetic that will be featured in Sunday’s eighth-annual Secret Holiday House Tour, presented by the Kent-Delord House Museum.

Secret is key — no one will know whose homes are included until they tour them on Sunday, hence, use of the name “the Knitter.”

A patron of past tours, her crafty cheer includes many vibrant reindeer, wood elves and nutcrackers, her favorite.

Her husband, “the Engineer,” carved or made bases for the characters she clothed and painted.

The front lawn has a roof-climbing Santa. Many interior door frames are decorated with hanging ornaments the couple made.

The octogenarian recalls Christmases past in her native Vermont, where she was raised by an aunt and uncle.

“When I was a little child, I got one present,” she said. “There were not the piles the kids get today. I got a doll one year. The next year, she (her aunt) made a change of clothes for it.”


When the Knitter married, Christmases were spent at her in-laws’ parents’ home way up on north in Vermont.

Now, she spends the holidays with her children and grandchildren. An eighth great-grandchild is on the way.

She has attended every Secret Holiday House Tour, and this year she doesn’t have to leave the comfort of her own home.

Thirty nutcrackers are placed throughout her house. Around a doorknob hangs a cheery cardinal, a cross-stitch she made.

“I made different ones. One is a choir girl.”

A Christmas village complete with church, school, barn and a bar is the centerpiece in her sewing room. There are skaters and riders on sleighs and sleds.

“I bought the trees and little things off and on.”

She has a small tree decorated with nutcrackers in her powder room, and in the basement, a large tree with crocheted and counted-cross-stitch ornaments she made for a granddaughter.

She and her husband made a nativity set with a blue backdrop. It is located in the basement, also.


Upstairs, a group of snow people graces a bookshelf. There is a gathering of Santas in a bay window.

“It keeps me off the streets,” the Knitter said of her handwork.

Her home is one of five decorated residences between Plattsburgh and Peru chosen for the museum fundraiser this year. The tour, sponsored by Community Investment Services, includes the Kent-Delord House Museum’s recent Open House display, “Collections: Old and New.”

“If you didn’t catch the Open House last week, you will catch it on the tour,” tour organizer Scarlett McBride said. 

Sunday’s tour is from 1 to 4 p.m., and today is the deadline for purchasing tickets, priced at $15, at the museum.

On Sunday, participants are to pick up ticket tags and a tour map at Bailey Avenue School in Plattsburgh between 12:30 and 1 p.m.

“They decorate to their own taste,” McBride said of the houses on the tour. “It depends on the type of home they have. It depends on their religion, how they decorate, also.”

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WHAT: Eighth-annual Secret Holiday House Tour.

WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Various locations, including Kent-Delord House Museum, 17 Cumberland Ave. Plattsburgh.

TICKETS: $15. Deadline Friday.

PHONE: 561-1035.