Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wild Fibers Magazine, News from Yell, Travel articles

Linda Cortright, intrepid traveller and publisher/editor of Wild Fibers Magazine sent an email about her latest project to Ladakh, India, a journey which was supposed to take 21 hours, but ended up stretching to six days. I hope her latest email is available on her website:

Also Andy Ross of The Centre for Creative Industries on Yell, sent his latest posting. He sent a follow up message that there was a 'bug' in the subject of bugs and textiles, which didn't transmit correctly.

For those who are interested in a travel newsletter: Scroll down to the article, "Hurry It Up--The Harder They Try.........". Read the whole article about how the time taken by passengers exiting planes has decreased by 50% since 1970. I have my theories!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Google's home page, Socks & Madrona

I briefly glanced at Google's home page a number of times today before I noticed their current logo--appropriate and clever. Make sure you see it, I expect it will disappear tomorrow.

I've finished the black socks and hope they fit the recipient. My friend, Judy S. in Colorado helped me get started. It seemed that I knit forever on the ribbing, but it was a good project to have when I was at the retreat--didn't require much concentration and I could enjoy the conversation of the group. Once I got back home, I found Ann Budd's book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, to be very helpful.

Earlier this week I received an email from Madrona that they still have space in some of their classes. To commemorate the 15th year of the retreat, two patterns have been designed, one for a hat and the other for a scarf. The instructions are both available without charge on the Madrona website. I'm going to knit the scarf by Evelyn Clark. I've long been a fan of her designs and my copy of her book, Knitting Lace Triangles, is practically dog eared as I've used it so much.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Knitter's Review, Shetland, Orkney and North Ronaldsay

Clara Parkes's latest newsletter, Knitter's Review arrived. As I've mentioned before, this is one newsletter which I look forward to receiving and always read it in detail. Clara does a lot of research and offers interesting subjects. Don't miss this issue.
Liz Lovick, well known author and teacher has published another book, Magic of Shetland Knitting. I haven't seen a copy of it yet, but the reviews are very positive. Although Liz lives on Orkney, she seems to travel between Orkney and Shetland frequently.

On the subject of Scotland, and specifically Orkney, today I phoned to Kirkwall and spoke with a representative of Loganair there. I wanted to find out about the 2014 schedule of same-day return flights to North Ronaldsay from Kirkwall, so that our travellers could visit this tiny island and specifically the mill there called, A Yarn from North Ronaldsay. The mill processes the fibres from the breed of the same name, which vitually only eat seaweed.  On previous tours, this optional excursion to the mill has been a consistent favourite with Scottish Skeins and Skerries tour members.

Saying all that, the airline has increased the number of flights and I will reserve eight seats for two consecutive days. Once you're sure you'll be coming on the 2014 Scottish Skeins and Skerries tour, and if you'd like to go to North Ronaldsay, let me know and I'll save you a place. Travel is on a small plane, which only takes a maximum of eight passengers and I can assure you, the previous tour members thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The flight just takes 18 minutes each way and the fare is 36.00 UKL round trip--heavily subsidized.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wales and Shetland

An announcement from my favourite Welsh contact for small hotels and travel arrangements, If you see a trip to the U.K. in your future, here's a chance to win a voucher, good for a stay from a wide choice of distinctive hotels and inns. I hadn't looked at their website for awhile and see they have many recipes for delicacies served at the properties they represent. (The ingredients and cooking temperatures are shown in the UK version, but can be easily adjusted to our North American style.)

This week, I received the current newsletter of the Shetland Amenity Trust, titled the 'Unkans'. Take some time and have a good look at the whole site. I'm certain I can speak for all those who have come on the Scottish Skeins and  Skerries Tours, when I say that a visit to the Shetland Museum is one of the highlights of our stay on Shetland. Shetlanders are justifiably proud of the building and the collections, and the Museum is the venue for many local events.
A photo of the museum from outside, on a sunny day.Looking up at boats hanging from the three storey Boat Hall.A family play with a spindle whorl in front of a replica cow - © Malcolm YoungerLarge sheets of textile hang down from the ceiling in one of our temporary exhibition areas.The Museum and Archives in front of a deep blue, night sky - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography
Shetland's Story Starts Here...


Looking up at boats hanging from the three storey Boat Hall.A family play with a spindle whorl in front of a replica cow - © Malcolm YoungerLarge sheets of textile hang down from the ceiling in one of our temporary exhibition areas.The Museum and Archives in front of a deep blue, night sky - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography

The Mareel, a stunning new building is next door, and also situated on the waterfront. To
give you an idea of the facilities and activies at the Mareel, I've copied from their website.
"Mareel is the UK's most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre.

Situated in a prominent quayside area in Lerwick next to the Shetland Museum and Archives, Mareel has a live performance auditorium, two cinema screens, rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, education and training spaces, a digital media production suite, broadcast facilities and a cafe bar with free high speed wi-fi internet access."

Monday, December 16, 2013

the Outer Hebrides, the Faroes & the Blanket (finally)

Bill Lawson has published another book about Hebridean migration, this time to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I had always just assumed that people from the Hebrides, who settled in Canada, went to the maritime provinces, especially Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. Bill is a highly respected genealogist and fount of knowledge about family and social history throughout the Hebrides. 

Our visits to his research centre, Seallam! on Harris are always a highlight on our Scottish Skeins and Skerries tours. We'll be visiting Bill and his wife, Chris, again in 2014. Take some time to read through his site, with the links:

Also received information about a BBC presentation:  (Thanks Ann) The article is both a visit to one of the smaller islands in the chain, but I found the historical description of the Faroes more interesting. It shows how there is never one story, but a number of interpretations. 

We'll be visiting the Faroes briefly during the 'Follow the Viking Route Cruise and Tour' in May 2014 as part of our cruise on the MS Fram.

I finished the mitred-square blanket last week and hope my grandson likes it. Will try to get a photo on my next blog.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scotland, Vikings & "Gotta love that snow!"

I've been receiving registrations for our "2014 Scottish Skeins & Skerries" tour. If you'd like to join us or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me: Plus, don't forget about the "Follow the Viking Route" cruise and tour. There are a very limited number of cabins available. As it is a relatively small ship and a unique itinerary, the space fills up quickly.

I had an email asking about any Shetland or Orkney blogs. (Thanks Shirley) My first thought was Hazel Tindall's site, which listed many Shetland blogs which she follows--look on the right-hand side for her list. I haven't looked for Orcadian blogs yet, but will do so.

Even though winter hasn't officially arrived, I thought these photos were amusing. (Thanks Jean for sending) Some people just have way too much time on their hands!
Gotta love that snow!

Oh, and by the way, WINTER is just around the corner!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iceland, Textile Museum in Toronto, a London Tour

This newsletter was in my inbox this morning. Although this issue is understandably oriented towards winter travel, the newsletter illustrates the scope and diversity of the country. Well worth a read.

We'll be seeing many of the Icelandic sights during our 'Follow the Viking Route' cruise and tour in May. If you'd like to come, don't hesitate to contact me, as cabin space on the ship is getting booked up.  

Also, the Textile Museum of Canada sent their December Dispatch newsletter. There is a lot going on there too--interesting to read about both the permanent collections and special exhibitions.

Last week I went to a presentation hosted by Visit Britain, Air Canada and a number of hotel and rental car companies. One tour I learned about in London, was a custom tour in a classic Mini Cooper car. No doubt an alternative to the open-sided bus tours.

I am going to London for a week after Christmas with one of my granddaughters. Although I've been to the city a number of times, it's been more a matter of connecting flights at Heathrow, or staying at an airport hotel. I've enjoyed researching about the city--so much to see that a week won't be enough, but at least it's a start!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Irish tour in September, 2014 & the Fastest knitter in North America

I'm into the planning for our trip to Ireland in September and below are two books which I've been reading.(Marilyn King of Blackwater Abbey Yarns lent me the copy of Irish Hands and told me about the other by Irish designer, Carol Feller.

I have a lots of ideas for our itinerary and it will be a matter of making sure that we aren't too busy, yet miss as little as possible. We will be using Abbey Yarn for our group project during our Irish travels.

Linda Benne of Mississauga (next to Toronto for those who don't live in Canada) has been named the Fastest Knitter in North America. I always admire people who can knit with such speed--I'm more of a 'plodder'.