Friday, November 29, 2013

Spinning Wheels, Scotland and the Blanket

The Spinning Wheel Sleuth: This is a really interesting site. I'm not a spinner, but admire people who are. There is something very peaceful and somewhat mesmerizing about someone sitting at a wheel.

The National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, has been given the Trip Advisor's, Travellers' Choice award as the first-place museum in the U.K., and "the most popular U.K. visitor attraction outside of London".

I've visited the museum a number of times and can attest to the quality of its collections and displays. There is no admission charge and the building is in central Edinburgh, within easy walking distance of so many sites. I usually walk up Victoria Street after a visit to Bill Baber's knitwear shop, and the other interesting places to see in the Grassmarket area.

For those who aren't tired about hearing of the blanket I'm knitting: I've finished knitting the edgings and just have the ends to work in and the lining to sew on. (It's apparent that I've been knitting when I should have been doing a number of other things.) Initially, I started the project at the request of one of my grandsons, plus it seemed like a good way to put leftover yarns to a useful end. Along the way, I decided that the blanket would lack enough variety in the squares, so I bought more yarn--which wasn't the idea! I still have a lot of leftover yarn.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Websites, a magazine and my blanket update

I get so many emails per day that sometimes, particular ones which I like to read, get buried in my inbox. One example is from Brooklyn Tweed, which arrived earlier this month. This is one I read in detail. I particularly like the beautiful photographs, the designs and the biographical sketches of the designers. I see the patterns are available on Ravelry, in addition to their

Also news of the 10th anniversary of the magazine Wild Fibers. Linda Cortright always has stunning photographs which accompany the articles about her travels to remote areas with textile connections.

Andy Ross of Yell, Shetland sent his regular newsletter--where does he gather so much information? Those who came on the 2013 Scottish Skeins tour this year will remember our visit to his gallery and weaving studio. I was surprised and impressed by the facilities--also bought a couple of handwoven scarves which were woven by one of the weavers in residence.

My blanket update: I've completed the knitted borders on three sides. I was very pleasantly surprised that this part has gone much faster than I'd anticipated.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Twist Collective, Wales (lots), Knitted blanket

The latest Twist Collective newsletter arrived in my inbox yesterday. I'd forgotten what an interesting presentation it is--so much to read from a range of articles (knitting history), to technical help (darning techniques) to a large range of patterns. (I've darned socks for years, but learned some helpful tips.)

I also received the Visit Wales, Red Dragon newsletter.

I loved reading about the little steam trains which have been restored and travel 'off the beaten path' in this special place. It reminded me of the train trip we took during our May 2013 Welsh tour from Caernarfon to mid-Wales, through Snowdonia National Park. It was a beautiful sunny day and a treat to travel through the woods with daffodils blooming, waterfalls, little villages.......

Continuing with a Welsh theme: I enjoy listening to a CD of a Welsh male choir which I keep in my car. I bought it earlier this year when we went to one of their practices. (I'll have to check where they are from.) I also got distracted looking at YouTube presentations: This one is of an actual train trip. As the commentator said, it's a matter of "enjoying the journey". Read about all that is going on in Wales: a cookery school, adventure travel, castles--no end of things to do!

The site also mentioned the best places to have a cup of tea in Wales. There was a photo of Welsh cakes--which are a real treat. Plus, a reference to Dr. Who. I'm not a science fiction fan (although I'm probably in the minority) but apparently there are a number of connections/references to Dr. Who and TARDIS in Wales.

A mitred-square blanket update: I've finished knitting the squares, all 96 of them and now to work in the ends, knit a border and line it with flannelette. I know the method I'm going to use for the border. (Thanks Judy)

Monday, November 25, 2013

More about Joyce James Tours - The 2014 Viking Route Cruise & Tour

Join us for this unique opportunity to visit  Norway, ports in Scotland, the Faroe Islands and  Iceland.  Throughout the tour, you'll be travelling in comfort on an outstanding ship of the Norwegian Hurtigruten fleet. We will be accompanied by a team of resource specialists and lots of time for relaxed knitting.

For more details on this special trip and to learn about other tours for 2014, visit my website:
Click this link to view a full size PDF version of the pictured flyer.
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"Memorable Travel for Knitters & Friends"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shetland and Tacoma, Washington

The 16th 2014 Scottish Skeins and Skerries Tour is already one quarter full--don't miss the opportunity to travel with us next year. 2014 is the year of Homecoming Scotland.

Hot off the press--or the internet equivalent!  When I opened my email this morning, there was the December 2013 version of 'Postcard from Shetland'. There is too much to detail and read immediately in this (always) informative post. However, I intend to go back and read about the Christmas craft fair, the kayaking journey from Shetland to Norway and the Craft Trail, plus watch the video diary of Shetland Wool Week 2013.

I find that Shetland has changed in many ways since my first visit there in 1995. They are still the same kind, gentle people but there is now a confidence in their many abilities, and they don't seem to be as reserved about their pride this special place. As an example: when I first visited, they referred to their beautiful knitted creations as "just knittin". Now, they have published book about Shetland lace and for the past four years have offered 'Shetland Wool Week', which just goes from strength to strength.

Well-known Shetland knitter, Hazel Tindall has a website:

The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, sponsor of the Winter Retreat opened for registration this week. (13 - 16 Feb, 2014) Again, I managed to forget to register on the first day. I didn't intend to take any courses, although there is a full range offered, but wanted to stay at the main hotel, the Murano. I was fortunate to get a room at a nearby Holiday Inn Express, which is maybe just as well, as then I'll have to get out and walk a couple of blocks. I've attended this event several times and always enjoy it--especially the collegiality of knitters.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2014 Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour

I wanted to announce the details for the 2014 tour are now on my website. To all those who have been waiting for this information, I apologize--it's taken longer than I'd anticipated. Be assured it will be a great tour. I've sent out  emails to those on my mailing list. If I've overlooked your contact information, please let me know.

If you'd like to join us, complete the registration form and email it to me. Space is limited and there has been a lot of interest in the tour--the sixteenth time it has been held.

Just received the latest copy of the Shetland newsletter, 60 North. As in previous issues, it's full of a wide variety of news and beautiful photographs. If anyone thinks that not much happens on Shetland, they are very much mistaken. Be sure to take the time to go through the contents.

The Selvedge newsletter this month is full of lots of news--mostly about activities in Britain, but also of interest to those who won't be able to visit the U.K. in the next little while.

Anyone who has visited Orkney, will be aware of the Orkney chair. On some of past 'Scottish Skeins' trips, we have visited one of the few chair makers in business. It is a very labour-intensive craft and the waiting list to purchase one is long. (Thanks Alice)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Colorado, Scotland, Viking Cruise

I arrived back in Ottawa earlier this week. It was a wonderful time in Colorado and I was touched by the generosity and friendliness of the people I met. Needless to say, they were mostly knitters, although I found those in restaurants and shops to be very helpful. 

I've sent the draft of the 2014 itinerary and registration form for the 2014 Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour to my talented, long-suffering 'Website Guy'. I expect that information to appear on my website next week. The dates are the 03 - 21 July, 2014 and the cost will remain the same as it was last year.

Concerning the Viking Cruise, I'm getting close to filling the allotment of cabins which I have reserved on the MS Fram, of the Norwegian Hurtigruten fleet. If you would like more information about the tour, either have a look at my website:, phone me or send an email. The 2014 itinerary is unique, the only time next year that the ship visits such a variety of ports.

At present, the MS Fram is visiting the Falkland Islands. One of the crew members writes a blog: Have a look at the latest photos from Stanley, the Falkland capital. The blog is an interesting read and gives one a better idea of the facilities and scope of the ship.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Greetings from Colorado

I've spent a wonderful six days in Colorado. Currently, I'm at knitting retreat in a beautiful area called Buena Vista, which is south of Denver.  Most of the attendees at the retreat are members of a knitting group which meets regularly in Denver. They are both talented and friendly and made me, as the only newcomer and Canadian, feel very welcome.

It's been a treat to just sit and knit, all the while visiting with others who are devotees of knitting.

I've received a number of registrations for the Viking Route cruise and some of the cabins have been assigned. If you would like to join us, please contact me next week--I'll be back in Ottawa then.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Viking Route Cruise & Tour

Finally, I can let everyone know that the details and registration form for the Viking cruise are on my website. I have a limited number of cabins reserved. is the only year when this particular itinerary is offered. The cruise is on the MS Fram of the Norwegian Hurtigruten fleet. The tour also includes two nights each in Bergen, Norway and in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Please have a good look at the details and let me know if you have any questions and would like to join us.

I'm off within the hour to drive to Gananoque, Ontario, situated beside Lake Ontario. The event is the Needler's Retreat, which has been held for many years.