Red and Blue Yarn and the Nest at the Barn

What is so special about ravens? What can we learn from watching these amazing birds?

You will find out when you enjoy this enchanting ‘yarn’. The springtime observations of a passing hiker are imaginatively illustrated with ‘knitstrations’.

All the proceeds of this book will be donated to The Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, British Columbia.

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The front cover of the children's story "Red and Blue Yarn and the Nest at the Barn" by MC Rolston

The front cover of Red and Blue Yarn and the Nest at the Barn

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The Backstory

Love at First Click…..A knitter meets a soldier with a photography hobby

This story was ignited by a story of love. It was 39 years ago that Donna spied James across a room. Mustering courage, she sauntered over with a big smile and asked, “Do you want to dance?” That was it – they have been swaying, sock-hopping, waltzing, tangoing, and quick-stepping through a very busy life. Donna, a fellow educator and avid knitter, encouraged me to retrieve my needles and return to the craft. James, a former city manager for a number of Canada’s largest cities, never fails to delight us with his municipal leadership stories. They are both enthusiastic birders, travelers and are passionate about serving others. Donna and James particularly love ravens for their intelligence and symbolism. On weekends, they can be found birding with Raven, their black border collie mix, in tow, as weekend photographer James captures striking photos of birds. Their devotion to each other while serving their community through government and education is inspiring!

‘Knitstrations’ from Red and Blue Yarn and the Nest at the Barn

The Knitting Diva

A few years ago, we met Carol, a knitting diva who can transform any piece of yarn into art. Carol’s story is one of determination, optimism and creativity. For years, she was a leader in college education. During that time, she had a devastating bike accident that left her with multiple injuries, but she has managed to fight through to recovery. She approaches life as she does with her knitting artistry – with ingenuity, finesse, flexibility and fortitude. She is in constant service to others, coordinating social events, baking up a storm for her friends, or entertaining in the garden she passionately maintains.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections


Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predictable events.

Ask the following questions:

Looking at the cover, what do you think this story is about?

What will happen on Tuesday?

Once the raven has built it’s nest, what do you think will happen?

How many eggs do you think the raven will lay?

How many days will the raven sit on her clutch?

How will she get food?

What do you think the hiker will do when she finds the end of the yarn?

What do you think she is going to do with the yarn?


Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

What happened on Monday?

What happened on Tuesday?

What happened on Wednesday?

What happened on Thursday?

What happened on Friday?

What happened on Saturday?

Is 21 days a long time? How many groups of 7 make up the number 21?

What happened after the eggs were laid?

What did the hiker do?

What is your favourite part of the story and why?


Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you ever watched a bird making a nest?

Do you like bird watching?

Have you ever seen baby birds chirping in a next?

Does anyone in your family knit? Is his something you would like to learn how to do?

Can you act out a momma bird sitting on her clutch?

Can you act out a pap raven flying to deliver food?

Can you act out the momma raven flying with the yarn?

Additional Research

Use the following links to do more research on ravens: