Saturday, December 18, 2010

An announcement

After much thought, I've reached the (difficult) decision to make the tours in 2011 my last. Although many of you have told me I've said that a number of times before, I really, really mean it this time! Since the first tour in 1995, I've made many friends on both sides of the Atlantic and have had unbelievable travel experiences. For a former retail travel agent who loved to knit, these tours allowed me to indulge in two of my favourite activities--travelling and knitting. Although I could always have travelled and knit, it's been the friends I've made who've meant the difference. This was especially borne out recently when I was travelling in both the U.S. and Canada, as at every venue I was fortunate to spend time with travellers who have become friends.

So.....if you've been thinking about coming to Scotland with the fourteenth and final Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour, don't hesitate to contact me and please tell your friends and members of your knitting guilds, so that no one misses out. The information is on my website: At this point we have about eight places left.

Barbara from Iowa (thanks Barb) sent me the link to this article from the British newspaper, the Daily Mail. The article details how the traditional, hand knitted Fair Isle and Shetland knitting are very much threatened.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I've been busy & an update:

I've finished reading the book, Sweater Quest, My Year of Knitting Dangerously. Author, Adrienne Martini, set herself the goal of completing one of Alice Starmore's designs within a year. Although I didn't care for her personal style of writing, I did enjoy her explanation of the current popularity of knitting. Also, her references to knitting in Canada and on Shetland.

On Saturday, I went with Anna and Diane to an open house at Janie Hickman's lovely little yarn shop, near Perth, ON, In spite of the small area of the store, I'm always surprised at the variety of the yarns, books and notions which Janie carries. In fact, one thing I was looking for was a very small crochet hook to add beads to the current knitted lace triangle project. (I bought the beads in Italy and this particular colour has very small eyes/holes.) I found exactly what I needed at Janie's.

The special event that day was to attend an open house for Helen Hamann, Helen was there and it was a pleasure to meet her. She brought many of her designs and and a wide selection of her beautiful alpaca yarns. People kept busy trying on the garments and it was interesting to see the different effects depending on the body types, colours, etc. Although Helen was born in Peru, she lives in the U.S. and said she left her home in Tennessee in September. Since then, she has been criss-crossing North America. In fact, she arrived in Ontario from Vancouver--many miles/kilometres on her car.

I've also been busy knitting. Just for a change, I've put aside the lace triangle and have started something less demanding: a diagonal scarf from Noro Kureyon sock yarn. I bought the pattern and yarn when I was on Salt Spring Island, at another treasure trove for anyone who loves textiles and crafts.

Yesterday, I received the latest journal of the British Knitting & Crochet Guild, called SlipKnot. I haven't had a chance to read through it in detail, but was interested by the book reviews. More about the issue in another post.

Update on tours: Wales is sold out and more than half of the places for the 'Scottish Skeins' trip are filled.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This and that

Numbers update on the 2011 tours: there are four places left on the Welsh tour and more for the 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries' itinerary. The latter tour was planned to have room for potentially more travellers, although still not a large number. Neither tour will be offered after 2011--don't miss out. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to register.

Last week I received the most recent newsletter from Treenway Silks on Salt Spring Island: I was fortunate to visit there last month and am always amazed by the beautiful range of colours in the ribbons and yarns. Their newsletter is always interesting to read and visually attractive.

I've finished my first lace triangle scarf and it's waiting to be blocked. The patterns are included in Evelyn Clark's book, Knitting Lace Triangles. Initially, I followed the instructions in the narrative form but was sidelined by an error in that format. (As far as I can tell, it's in the Medallion Lace pattern, between rows 3 and 5.) Once I realized the problem, I switched to the chart and all has gone well.

Although, I ended up unravelling my first effort--tried to rationalize the wasted time--but am pleased I did, as I'm much happier with how this one looks. (Shirley, aka known as Shirl the Purl, thanks for the inspiration and technical help.) One small thing I learned was how to add beads using a crochet hook. I find the designs somewhat addictive and have been knitting when I should have been doing other things. I'm now started on a second triangle. I'm using another beautiful yarn from Fibre-Isle International, located in P.E.I., (Have a look at their website too.)