Monday, March 21, 2011

Piecework blanket & more........

Progress report on the blanket: I'm getting there and have completed 70 mitred squares and have knit a moss stitch border on the two longer sides. I'm now picking up the stitches for the third side. The monthly meeting for the Ottawa knitting guild is this evening and I plan to sit and knit during the proceedings.

I also have a sweater for one of my sons which has been 98% completed for close to two years. It is of one of my favourite yarns--Sympathie by Filatura di Crosa--which was discontinued many years ago. Fortunately, I managed to get a supply which will keep me going for a long time. Even though I've knit the Alice Starmore pattern before, I am not happy with the neckline on this garment. A talented member of the guild (of who there are many) has agreed to have a look at the problem. I'm hoping she'll have some ideas and I won't have to unravel the complicated yoke portion. I'll try to post photos later in the week.

Ever since the first day of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the ongoing nuclear emergencies and the turmoil in the Middle East, I've been reminded of the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times"!

On a more peaceful note: have a look at my website: and think of tranquil days travelling in Wales.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The problems with my website: have been corrected and all is well.

This evening I watched a documentary about Donald Trump and his efforts to take over a large part of the sea front in Aberdeenshire for a golf course, mega housing/recreational/tourist accommodation development. Initially there was significant opposition to the project from the local landowners and council, however that dwindled to the point where only two landowners held out. At first it was described as a David & Goliath battle, but in this case, Goliath won out. Very disappointing! Initially it reminded me of the movie which I saw many years ago, Local Hero, but alas, a different outcome.

One thing I learned and didn't know before was that Donald Trump's mother was from the Isle of Lewis. At least I saw some views of Stornoway and Luskentyre Beach.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Update on my website

I wanted to let everyone know that we've had some problems on my website and Garth (my website guy) is currently working on them. I expect the site will be up soon and the details will be accessible again. In the meantime, if you have any questions and/or would like to register for the second Wales tour, please phone me at: 613-695-0889 or call the office at 1-800-267-5552 and leave a message for me. As an alternative, if you prefer, you could send me an email.

Sorry for this temporary 'glitch'.

As I've mentioned before, I've been doing a lot more research about small farms and yarn sources in Wales. I was surprised by the number and have been making arrangements to visit as many as possible during our trips in May and September.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Knit London

I regularly receive a newsletter from I Knit London ( Before now, I hadn't taken the time to read through the various links in detail. However, fortunately today I did--it's a treasure trove of information, even if one doesn't live in London or the U.K.

In addition, I noticed that this coming Saturday, 19 March there will be a live phone in about knitting and pain management. Have a look at the I Knit site to get the details. The program is scheduled for BBC Radio Bristol between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., which would be early for us in the Eastern Daylight zone--between 05:00 a.m. and 06:00 a.m. However, one can download the program as a podcast or it will be recorded and will be available for the following seven days.

Somehow, quite sometime ago, I managed to inadvertently delete the list of blogs I used to follow. I'm going to start searching for those I really enjoy and will start a new list.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More reading.....

I'm always conscious that I should accomplish more in a day and an article which I saw on the internet, How I Learned To Save 3 Hours A Day, really caught my attention.

Two hints which I plan to follow are only to check email once per day and when I read a message, immediately decide how I'll handle it: i.e. deal with it, delegate or delete. I don't even want to admit to myself how many times a day I check my inbox--that will be a very hard habit to break.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Difficult times

I feel certain most people have reacted as I have, and were/are transfixed by images of the Japanese earthquake and following tsunami on TV and in the newspapers. Even though I've seen the photos over and over many times, I still watch them again--just can't imagine the enormity of such an event. Now there is an additional nuclear threat. I've been switching channels back and forth ever since the disaster occurred.

It all makes me realize that one doesn't appreciate when things are going (relatively) well and the daily vexing occurrences which come along seem, well, just petty. Makes one appreciate again how peaceful knitting is.

On a happier note: I read that during 2011, there will be a travelling exhibition of the Lewis Chessmen in different venues throughout Scotland. Fortunately, it will be at the museum in Stornoway while we are there. As I understand it, this is the first time that the known 93 pieces have been shown together. (82 pieces are held in the British Museum and 11 in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.) They are called the Lewis Chessmen as they were found on Lewis but their origins are Nordic. I don't know how to play chess--just found it too confusing and boring. In fact, when my grandson Sam was four years old, he tried to teach me to play and gave up in disgust--I just didn't get it! Saying that, I find the concept of the Lewis Chessmen very interesting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

News from Shetland

This week I received the most recent issue (Winter 2010) of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers & Dyers. It's always a joy to read--with news of their activities, photos of the winning entries in a Guild competition and even an advertisement for knitters who are willing to knit Fair Isle garments. One company, Thistle and Broom indicated they would pay "from 290.00 GBP per jumper and from 130.00 GBP per slipover/waistcoat per bespoke order of your original work". It didn't indicate who supplied the yarn. I wonder if they've received any/many takers. Apparently, the Shetland Wool Brokers are advertising for knitters too.

Yesterday, I had a disturbing email from a member of the Guild to tell me that Bess Jamieson had had a heart attack while visiting her sister in New Zealand. As many of you know, I met Bess when I went to Shetland on my own in 1995, to see if I could plan a group tour. (As I've frequently said, I should have gone right out and bought a lottery ticket, as I had good karma going for me!) Bess was a wonderful source of people to visit and opened many doors for me and our groups, which greatly enhanced our enjoyment of this wonderful area. (One example: before the first tour, Bess spoke to Jimmy Work to ask if he would let us visit him--apparently he doesn't let everyone! This resulted in memorable visits to his home and also many of his wonderful baskets finding new homes in North America.)

I don't know how serious Bess's situation is, but her sister is also a retired nurse, so know she will be getting the best of care. She is a wonderful friend and I have never been to Shetland that Bess didn't have a bouquet of flowers from her garden, waiting in my hotel room. Her talents are amazing--as a spinner, weaver and knitter--and her commitment to the Guild and to the textile arts on Shetland is endless.

Don't forget that that Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, 13 March @ 2:00 a.m. (I'm not sure if all American states observe DST, but Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province which follows Standard Time throughout the year.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An announcement!

Due to the overwhelming, immediate response when the first trip to Wales was announced, the tour quickly sold out, with a waiting list. Since I designed the initial itinerary, I've done a lot of additional reading and have discovered more small wool producers, craftshops, another interesting speaker--and much, much more! (These revisions will be included in the May tour.)

As a result, I've decided to offer one more opportunity to visit this beautiful principality. The second tour will take place during the first two weeks of September. Garth, my website guy is currently getting the details ready for the website, along with an updated registration form. The price and length of the tour will remain the same as the May version. I expect the information will be there in less than a week.

I've kept in mind to keep the tour small (maximum 14 people), with time to relax and to enjoy the experience. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to join us on this unique itinerary. You can either email or phone me at: 613-695-0889 or 1-800-267-5552.

I am still going to retire and the 2011 tours (regretfully) will be my last.

I'm still here.......

I knew I hadn't posted to my blog for awhile, but didn't realize it had been just over a month until I signed in today.

I have been busy knitting and have finished the mitred squares for another piecework blanket. This time it's a larger version: 80 squares. I've picked up the stitches on one side for the border, but am not not happy with the colour I've chosen and will probably unravel it. Even though one reason for working on this project was to use up my stash, I've hardly left a dent in the supply! I have piled the yarn which I wanted to use in a basket and it looks as though I could knit several more blankets. I've yet to secure the ends, complete the border and then I plan to line it with flannelette.

I've also been doing a lot of reading and earlier this week was very happy to see the latest copy of the Slip Knot, the journal of the Knitting & Crochet Guild of the U.K. in my mailbox. It was full of a number of interesting articles and contact information. Even though it's not inexpensive to have a subscription sent to North America, I think it is a worthwhile publication to support--perhaps local knitting guilds could consider this. More about this issue in future blogs.
Their website is at:

I've just heard that the V&A Museum in London is marking the 100 years of Harris Tweed production. (Thanks Barb S.!) This event is part of a number of celebrations recognizing this iconic fabric.