Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm still here

Gosh, has it really been that long since I last posted?! My intention was to post during our Viking Tour but unfortunately, internet connection was virtually non existent on the ship and (again) I got out of the habit of updating my blog.

I enjoyed our travels in May very much. As with many endeavours, it wasn't without its ups and downs: for instance when a number of us got caught in the results of the Icelandair pilots' strike on our way to Norway. This meant unexpected travel to a number of European airports before we could reach our first destination, Bergen. I liked our ship, the MS Fram--accommodation was comfortable and the ports of call interesting. I also liked the fact that there was a relatively small passenger component--don't think I would want to go on anything larger. Our group found a comfortable place to sit and knit while we were at sea. In fact, unbeknownst to us, we garnered a fair amount of attention. 

At the end of the cruise, we were asked by a member of the crew to display our knitting in the lounge and were astounded (at least I was) by the amount of interest shown by the crew, even the captain, and the other passengers. I think that's a characteristic of knitters--we think that because we can do it, that everyone else can too.  I was hoping that there would be a mention and photos of this event on the ship's blog. Unfortunately, there were no postings for the last two days of this particular sailing. 

I leave for Scotland very shortly, on the 16th and last Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour. I never could have imagined when I planned and escorted the first tour in 1996, that it would be so enduring. I'll miss the annual visits to the wonderful people I've met on the Scottish islands, but I don't plan to stop travelling--it's just that I will no longer be offering formal tours.

I have decided not to offer a second Irish Treasures tour. The first tour is now full and I am looking forward to travelling with many old friends on that special itinerary. 

Even though I haven't been posting to my blog, I still read the many emails which I receive each day. It was interesting to read what Shetland was like earlier this week during the Summer Solstice--known there as the Simmer Dim. Andy Ross of Yell posted a photo taken at midnight. I have been on Shetland at this particular date and can attest, that is exactly the way it is. http://www.globalyell.org/blog/simmerdim

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Knitter, Scottish Skeins and Skerries Tour, Needle Arts Book Shop

I must have had a lot of time before the internet came into widespread usage, as I certainly spend a lot of time at the computer now. There is so much going on, that I don't know how I'll ever manage to keep up! So that people aren't overwhelmed, I'll add some of recent news.

ellI did find a copy of The Knitter, issue 70, but just in time to get an email from the publisher that Issue 71 is now available in the U.K. I haven't had the time to read this issue thoroughly, however I wasn't surprised to see an article entitled "Take a trip to Shetland". It's good to see this special place getting the attention it deserves.  The Knitter June 2014 Magazine

I hope that anyone who would like to join us in July, will come on the 16th Scottish Skeins and Skerries Tour. We have several places left-- don't miss out as the tour will not be offered next year. The trip information is on my website: www.joycejamestours.com.

I received an email from Marsha White of the Needle Arts Book Shop. www.Needle Arts Book Shop.com   In addition to the wide variety of books which she stocks, Marsha has started a virtual knitting museum, http://www.knittingmuseum.com/ It's a beautiful site and well worth spending the time to read thoroughly. 

Andy Ross of Yell is still as busy as ever. There was a lot of news in his most recent post, but the one which caught my eye was about a post open for a Knitter in Residence at Glasgow University. www.globalyell.org.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mark your calendars.....Shetland Wool Week; Black Water Abbey Yarns

For anyone who is planning, even thinking about going to Shetland Wool Week 2014, ticket sales for classes and other events will open on Monday, 28 April. Bookings will be taken through the Shetland Box Office from 10:00 a.m., local time in Shetland. (In Ottawa where I live, EDT time is five hours behind Shetland.)

The details for the festival from 04 to 12 October are now available--they are too numerous to list here. You can learn about them at: http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/

I received Clara Parkes, Knitter's Review newletter this week. It is a newsletter which I'm happy to see in my inbox--find that I always learn something and it isn't a waste of time. In this issue Clara profiles in depth the Irish yarns of Black Water Abbey. I was pleased to see them getting the attention they deserve. I hope you'll read about them yourself: http://www.knittersreview.com/article_yarn.asp?article=/review/product/140424_a.asp

I've made arrangements with Marilyn King, the hard working and very pleasant owner of the yarn company, to supply the yarns for Carol Feller's workshop during our Irish Treasures tour. https://www.abbeyyarns.com/fork-in-the-road.php

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Knitting Traditions; News from Yell; Shetland Guild

I bought a copy of the Spring issue of Knitting Traditions yesterday and read it from cover to cover. The first article I looked for was by Hazel Tindall. It was about her late mother Chrissie Sandison. What a difficult life Shetlanders had. In addition there are articles and patterns about Sanquhar gloves; the Unst Heritage Centre and a previously unknown box of knitting; Welsh socks; Haapsalu knitting from Estonia; even Cowichan sweaters from British Columbia; and much more-----a great issue.

Andy Ross from Yell sent his newsletter. http://www.globalyell.org/textiles (I've added the textile website--it shows what is accomplished at this centre, located on a lonely bit of Yell.) He noted a number of books which he'd received as a donation. I see that among the selection was a copy of a book I used to have, but gave away as a prize in a competition-- thinking I could easily get a replacement but woefully, no. Apparently, it is out of print and virtually unavailable.

I received the April newsletter from the Shetland Guild. As in the past, it was full of news of past activities and future plans. Just to mention a few items: Shetland Wool Week is coming up in six months time, and there is already an enthusiastic response to the activities. The Guild will be involved in this event again. Fortunately, the Guild has also been able to get funding for a project to interview and record the voices of Shetland knitters. (That would be a treat, to hear that gentle Shetland accent again.)

I was pleased to note that our July 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries' tour is scheduled in their calendar for another visit. Always a treat for our travellers.

Please note: the Guild also has a Facebook page and is on Ravelry. In both cases, look for:Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers & Dyers.

Also heard from a contact in Iceland to let me know that she won't be able to respond to a request today. Apparently the 24 April is designated the first day of summer in Iceland and it's a national holiday. Sounds like a good idea!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

60 North, Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour, The Knitter, Shawl designs

When I mentioned 60 North in the previous post, I hadn't read through it thoroughly and thus given it the time the publication deserved. This is an especially interesting issue--in addition to the chapter about Shetland knitting and Wool Week 2013, you'll find a wide variety of articles. I hope you'll take some time to read them. www.shetland.org.

As anyone who knows me is aware, Shetland is one of my favourite destinations. The articles made me look forward even more to our July visit to this special place, during this year's Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour. www.joycejamestours.com.

Actually, I will be on Shetland and other ports in Scotland during next month's Viking Journey trip. In addition to good memories of sailing on another Hurtigruten itinerary and ship, I chose this one because of the many ports which are rarely offered in one sailing.

I did take out a subscription to my favourite knitting magazine, The Knitter, however was told that it wouldn't start until Issue #72, the July issue. I'll have to make sure I time my visits to my local magazine store so that I don't miss an issue in the interim. This is the cover of the current issue.

The Knitter The Knitter Cover
Currently, I've  been concentrating on the tour to Ireland, starting in late September, and I came across the names of two patterns for shawls which were on display in the Dublin yarn shop, 'This is Knit'. The helpful shop assistant wrote down the names and told me they are both available on Ravelry. One is called 'Sunlight Shawl' by Sylvia Bo Bilvia; and the other is Color Affection, designed by Veera Valimaki.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nancy Bush, Shilasdair, 60 North

On Monday evening of this week, I went to the April meeting of the Ottawa Knitting Guild. (Our newsletter is called The Tangled Skein and is edited by a very talented young woman, who not only has a young, active family, but also knits prodigiously and has had some of her designs published. (Note to myself: what do I do with my time!?)

The guest speaker this evening was Nancy Bush, so there was a large-sized crowd there. Although, saying that, most meetings are well attended. As many knitters know, Nancy's primary interest is Estonian knitting and she had a number of slides plus examples of Estonian knitting. Nancy had been in Ottawa for the past three days, giving a well-attended series of workshops.

Earlier today I received a link to a website: www.theskyeshilasdairshop.co.uk/index.html .(Thanks Kathi) Looking at the website reminded me of when we used to visit Eva Lambert at Shilasdair on the Isle of Skye. Unfortunately I had to drop the Isle of Skye from our itinerary a number of years ago--it just became too difficult to work around the travel logistics. However, our visit to Eva Lambert was always a highlight and although the shop appears to have a new owner, Eva is still involved.

We will be able to visit the shop next month when the MS Fram docks at Portree during our Viking Cruise. I phoned the shop to find out how long we should allow to travel from the dock to Shilasdair. (I was told just 30 mins.) It was also advised that we/I should book a taxi or two (or more) ahead of time. Will do!

I've also received the Spring edition of 60 North about Shetland. There is a lot of interest inside the magazine but I think for knitters the article which they will especially enjoy is the write up about the activities of Shetland Wool Week 2013. Download a PDF version - 15mb

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Irish Treasures, Kate Davies, Hazel Tindall, Knitting Traditions

I thought I'd 'lost' the previous blog which I composed earlier this week. Just when I was ready to draft a replacement, somehow the blog 'materialized'. A lot that I don't understand!

I've really enjoyed doing the research for our Irish Treasures Tour. Have found more and more memorable places and people for us to visit. I'll be sending the information to my talented, patient, long-suffering website guy tomorrow or Monday. I'll let everyone know when all the details are on my website.

The news just keeps coming:

Alison from Australia told me about Kate Davies's blog which is currently coming from Iceland. I continue to admire and be amazed by what Kate accomplishes: she's a talented designer and photographer, and a frequent blogger. How does she do it all, especially when she has had a stroke and still isn't in the best of health? (As some of you may remember, Kate was going to be our special speaker in Glasgow, during last year's Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour, but she had to cancel due to doctors' orders that she couldn't take on further obligations at that time.) Not to overlook that she is a very nice person.

I've been trying to locate the magazine Knitting Traditions. Several people have recommended that I read it (thanks Kathi), plus I received an email this week from Hazel Tindall telling me that she has had an article printed in the current issue. Will try to track it down.  

I also heard from Hazel about something called 'Knitsonik'. Wasn't sure what it meant, but went to Tom of Holland's site:  http://tomofholland.com/2014/03/01/exploring-mary-walker-phillips/. Wait, there's more: http://tomofholland.com/2014/04/11/knitsonik-blog-tour-part-1/.

I think the above is enough to read in one blog!

The Knitter, Joe Hogan, Ireland

I just walked up to my local magazine store and was fortunate to get this copy--they just had two left. I'll have to look at the copies I already have to see if I've missed an issue before this one. The package also included a supplement entitled 'Faroe Family Style', with three designs. Good karma since I/we will be in the Faroes next month. I see that they've called for a Faroese yarn called Navia. It is available from the Island Wool Company, www.islandwool.co.uk. I haven't read through the magazine yet, but feel certain there will be lots of interest.

If you have been thinking about coming along on the Viking tour, I can probably get a cabin for you. It will be a great trip, with many interesting ports and a great itinerary--not usually offered, only once this year and not at all next year.

Later: I read through the The Knitter from cover to cover and yes, I had missed the previous copy. Although I prefer to support my local magazine store, I've decided to take out a subscription. I found that invariably I would miss an issue and they quickly sell out of printed back issues. Again, I really enjoyed the articles and a couple of the designs--especially a step-by-step tutorial on using Ravelry. What an astounding concept--I see there are close to four million registered users.

I've had an email from Joe Hogan, talented Irish basketmaker, confirming that he will meet with our group at his home when we visit the area north of Galway in early October. For anyone who has travelled to Ireland with me before, you will recall the previous visit when we all sat outside in a circle while Joe wove a traditional basket. (I can't recall the name, but it was used to drain the potatoes after they'd been cooked--the water then went to feed the pigs.) We have an appointment to meet with Joe on the 05 October and at that time, his wife will serve us tea, coffee and homemade scones.

Again, I apologize that the final news for the Irish tour is so late in coming, but the tour is definitely 'on'. I will let everyone know who I have on my mailing list as soon as I have the final price. The hotels are all confirmed--it's just a matter of a couple of details which I'm waiting for.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wonderwool Wales, The Knitter and Winter

Wonderwool Wales takes place later this month. I've been there before, but especially enjoyed it when I was there with the group last year. For anyone who lives close enough, this event is well worth attending. http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/. Have a look at the list of exhibitors--I think there are even more than last year: http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/exhibitors-list.html

I checked out the site for my favourite knitting magazine, The Knitter, and got the umbrella site called The Making Spot. http://theknitter.themakingspot.com/. I'd forgotten how much is going on and I see they are announcing a contest for a designer. I always admire the creativity of so many knitters who I've met and who I read about. I love to knit but couldn't do it without a pattern in front of me.

I've made an appointment to get my snow tires removed next week. Hope I'm not being premature, but after this long, intense winter, surely it's just about over.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A wide range of topics and events..........

I've had no problem in finding topics to post--I don't know if there is just that much going on, or as I suspect, it's a case of the internet. It's hard to keep up!

Some sites I'm following:

- The Shetland Amenity Trust has emailed their April newsletter, titled Unkans. www.shetlandamenity.org/unkans. It's four pages long, so make sure you read it to the end. I was struck again by the association and shared history of Shetland and Norway. There is a section about the Shetland Bus exhibition at the museum in Scalloway and a recent aquistion they have. We'll be able to see this on our July visit during the 16th Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour: www.joycejamestours.com. If you would like to join us for this trip, there are a few places available.

http://www.textilemuseum.ca/. This is the most recent newsletter from the Textile Museum. On the weekend, I attended one of their 'Conscious Consumption' events. This one was held at St. John's Bakery in Toronto, and it wasn't just an explanation of bread and the importance of ingredients, pride and the time involved. St. John's is a Russian Orthodox church which serves the community and offers many worthwhile activities to those of all ages.

-  Jen Jones of Wales, who I've mentioned in past blogs, has announced her current exhibition which is held in southwest Wales, in the village of Lampeter. The main gallery is showing an presentation called "Early to Bed: Early Welsh Quilts", however there are two supplementary exhibitions. (In Welsh, the title is: I’r Gwely’n gynnar gyda’r Cwiltiau Cymreig Cynnar. ) How do they understand each other?
Have a look at: www.welshquilts.com. Jen is committed to the history of quilts from this corner of Britain, plus their preservation.

-  The Twist Collective newsletter arrived today, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet--I always find much of interest and wanted to wait until I had the time to read it in detail. http://www.twistcollective.com/

www.selvedge.org. Their Spring Fair was held this past weekend. Although I didn't post the notice in time for those who would be able to attend, their site is still interesting as it details some of the craftspeople who were exhibiting, plus information about the magazine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knitter's Frolic in Toronto; Shetland; Kaffe Fasset

For anyone who will be within driving distance of Toronto in late April, make it a point to attend the Knitter's Frolic. It's sponsored by the DKC (Downton Knitting Collective) of Toronto. The dates are: 26 and 27 April and it's held at the Japanese Cultural Centre. For more information: http://downtownknitcollective.ca/wp/

I realize that the majority of topics in my blog centre around Shetland. It's because the area is one of my favourite places and there is much going on--actually it seems like a significant amount more than when I first planned the tours in 1996.

I'm not recommending that anyone purchase from a specific knitter, but just think it's interesting to know what one can order. Along that line is the word 'bespoke'--one that I learned within the past year and not commonly used in North America.

-  Carol Christiansen, curator of the textile collection at the Shetland Museum has written a brief history of Shetland lace knitting: http://visit.shetland.org/shetland-lace. (This is included in the Shetland newsletter, which is worth reading in its entirety.)

-  I had an email from Sheila who knits Shetland lace to order: http://www.sumburghcollection.co.uk/About

-  Another source for handknitted shawls, scarves and miscellaneous items is: http://www.shetlandlaceshawls.co.uk/

-  Spirit of Shetland by Barbara Mitchell.  http://www.shetland-handknits.co.uk/

I also received Kaffe's and Brandon's March newsletter (feel as though I can call them by their first names). www.http://kaffefasset.com. Still don't know how they can accomplish so much! They must rarely sleep, or else have a large staff.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Knitting Museum, The Knitter, the Textile Museum of Canada

Marsha White, who stocks a wide variety of knitting books on her site, www.needleartsknitting.com, has started a virtual museum, called Knitting Museum, www.knittingmuseum.com. Be sure to have a look at both sites--they are well worth your time. In addition to offering prompt, pleasant service, Marsha has a large inventory of textile-related books--I always look at the knitting--including ones about Japanese knitting.  

When I was in Dublin earlier this month, I bought a copy of The Knitter, issue 68. As soon as I was back home, I went to my local magazine store and was delighted to find a copy of the magazine there. Thinking it was most likely the previous issue, I bought it. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I'd bought the same issue--so much for short-term memory or I prefer to think it was a case of jet lag! However, the second copy has gone to the good home of a friend and talented knitter. This particular issue had an article about Ravelry--entitled "Get the Most Out of Ravelry", a subject which I really need to study. There are also several patterns which I'd love to knit--where to get the time or more likely to be better organized!

The Knitter Issue 68

I know I've mentioned the Textile Museum of Canada before, www.textilemuseum.ca
Even when I lived several thousand miles away from its physical base in Toronto, I continued to support it with a membership. Now that I live in Ottawa, I try to visit whenever I'm able. The museum is sponsoring a program called "Conscious Consumption Series in late March and April. Fortunately, I'll be in Toronto during the last week of March and have signed up for two of the outings.

Also received Beth Brown Reinsel's newsletter, www.knittingtraditions.com

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ireland and the Rideau Canal

Hard to believe that it was just one week from today that I was in Ireland. The nine days I was there added up to a very pleasant time. My travels started in Ottawa and the Air Canada flight to London/Heathrow was delayed due to bad weather in Toronto (not an unknown experience in many other places, in addition to Toronto!) Consequently, I missed my connection from Heathrow to Shannon, but other than having several hours to wait for the next flight, it was not an unpleasant experience. At the Aer Lingus centre, there is a comfortable area with couches and cafe, where I waited.

The Aer Lingus flight to Shannon didn't take long--I think I slept most of the time. Once I'd collected my suitcase, I went looking for a taxi to take me to my first hotel, the Bunratty Castle. I didn't see a taxi rank and asked a man in the terminal where I could find a taxi. His response was that they are very relaxed in Shannon (Ireland?) and he called a man over--my taxi driver. The fare to the Bunratty Castle was a flat rate and during the trip, the driver told me about past and current economic conditions in Ireland and pointed out the number of trees which had been uprooted by a recent 'mini-hurricane').

Throughout the entire trip, I learned a lot and only have positive memories. Although I was on a fam. (travel agent jargon for familiarization), the itinerary wasn't exactly what I intend to offer for our tour, 'Irish Treasures'. However it's meant that I have a much better idea of our route and hotels where we will stay. In fact, while I was in Dublin, I visited four different hotels and decided on one which overlooks St. Stephen's Green. Also in Dublin, I also went to the yarn shop, called 'This is Knit' in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre in central Dublin. The owner Jackie has an excellent selection of yarn and books--a place we'll be visiting for sure. One evening I also went on a 'Dublin Literary Pub Crawl', another event I intend to repeat.

I just have to finalize a couple of details and then will be sending the information to my talented, long-suffering website guy. I can tell you it's been confirmed that Carol Feller will be meeting us at the wonderful country hotel, Ballymaloe, for workshops. Later in the tour, we'll also be staying at the Mustard Seed and Harvey's Point hotels.

This afternoon I walked the short distance from where I live to a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Rideau Canal. I'm happy to report that many people were skating and the ice condition still looked great. Canadians have our American friends to thank for the existence of the Canal.

For anyone who doesn't know the history: it was dug out by hand in the 1800's and extends from Ottawa (on the Ottawa River) to Kingston on the St. Lawrence River, and was built with many locks. At the time, Canada was a colony of Britain and our British masters were afraid the U.S. (relations weren't as amicable then) would take control of the St. Lawrence River from Montreal and there would be no way for shipping and communications to Toronto.

I took some photos but now can't figure out how to download them. Will get help!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Welsh quilts, Shetland, Ireland

The Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter has announced their exhibition for this year. They've called it "Early to Bed". Jen Jones has organized the event which 'Celebrates Folk Art and Make Do and Mend'. It runs from 07 March to the 01 November. www.welshquilts.com

I am currently in Ireland and having a wonderful time. On my next post, I'll feature Ireland solely and I have (finally) information about our tour in September.

I received the latest newsletter from Shetland, with news of '60 North'--actually it's the Autumn/Winter issue. Guess they're behind, the same way I am! As always, it's a good read. http://visit.shetland.org/online.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wool Week on Shetland is scheduled for October 06 to12, 2014. I had such a good time when I last attended, that I'm going to do my utmost to go again. Even though I've been to Shetland many times, I always enjoy myself immensely. http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/. Just to be sure that I have a place to stay, I'm going to make my hotel reservations today.

I also received the most recent newsletter from Selvedge http://www.selvedge.org/.

This is photo of the socks which I knit for my granddaughter, Margaret. They are in two of her favourite colours.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kate Davies, Shetland, Yarnwise, Doreen Brown, Madrona, Rideau Canal

Thanks to Joyce (another Joyce, from Australia), I was reminded to have a look at Kate Davies blog: http://katedaviesdesigns.com/. Kate featured a book by Sarah Laurenson, Shetland Textiles 800 BC to present but it wasn't until I saw a number of the pages in Kate's blog, that I could appreciate the extensive research which went into the book. (I also enjoy reading about Kate's dog, Bruce, and all his adventures.)

As (I think) I've mentioned before, I've been going through an accumulation of knitting magazines. Once I remove any patterns and technique instructions which are of particular interest, I pass them on to a knitting friend. A magazine which I didn't appreciate enough before is: Yarnwise from Britain. I wish I'd had more back issues in my stash of magazines as I've been reading the few copies thoroughly. Another one to keep.

Oh dear! I just went to the Yarnwise site and sadly learned that they have ceased publication. The last issue was August 2013. 'Sadly, Issue 63 is the last issue of Yarnwise magazine. Tailor Made Publishing has decided to close the title because the market for knitting magazines has become too crowded.' Wonder if it would be possible to purchase any back issues.

I was fortunate last Saturday catch a TV program about Shetland. The best part was a visit with Doreen Brown, talented designer, but especially known for the Fair Isle sweaters she knit for the Shetland ponies. We will be visiting Doreen on the 10 July during our Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour. www.joycejamestours.com. This is always a highlight for the group, as Doreen and her husband make us very welcome and we are free to wander in Doreen's studio.

Next week I'm going to attend the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA. http://madronafiberarts.com/ (I haven't been there for four years--I remember as the Olympics were on during my last visit.) I really like the collegial atmosphere and look forward to seeing old friends while I'm there. I plan to just sit and knit while enjoying the event.

They are still skating on the Rideau Canal. 'Winterlude' is on at present. I hope the weather stays cold enough for all the events which take place. It seems that frequently in the past, there has been a thaw and then the Canal isn't safe for skating.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shetland, Piecework, The Knitter & the Rideau Canal

Yesterday I received the January newsletter of the Shetland Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. It was an interesting discussion of their activities since last September. There seems to be a lot more going on there than in the past. One event was the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference which took place at the end of Wool Week. The theme was "Sustainability". Next year's event will be held in Iceland.

Shetland Wool Week 2014 is scheduled from the 04 to 12 October. Continuing on a Shetland theme: the guild book, A Legacy of Shetland Lace held top place as the highest selling book of the Shetland Times Ltd in 2013. So far, total sales of the book are 2300 copies. (Actually, I'm surprised it isn't more, considering the book's enthusiastic reception when I was on Shetland.)

I really enjoyed the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Piecework Magazine. One of my favourite articles was by Dr. Carol Christiansen, curator of the textile collection at the Shetland Museum. Carol's article was a detailed background on the type of yarn and style of knitting in the Gunnister cap--a cooperation between archaeology and craft. Those who've come on recent Scottish Skeins & Skerries trips will recall meeting Carol. She is both informed and personable, and I'm certain I can speak for everyone that her talk to us at the Museum was very helpful in understanding the textiles in the collection. Carol will be meeting to us again on the next tour in July. Have a look at the website: www.joycejamestours.com and let me know if you have any questions or can join us. At the moment, the 2014 trip is half full.

I also got a copy of Issue 66 of The Knitter. I was delighted to learn of a new knitter, Lucy Hague of Orkney. I liked her cable designs. Another good issue. While I was attempting to copy the front cover, I read the magazine blog. Must check into that often.

Even though the current Ottawa temperature is in the minus twenties and thirties Centigrade, they are still skating on the Rideau Canal.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Selvedge, Up Helly Aa, Kaffe Fasset and the Rideau Canal

Another newsletter from the high quality British magazine, Selvedge. www.selvedge.org. As usual, it's full of a number of exhibitions and textile-related activities. Makes one/me wish I had nothing to do but travel.

Also, an email from Hazel Tindall of Shetland. She was reminding people of the upcoming Up Helly Aa, always held on the last Tuesday of January. http://www.uphellyaa.org/up-helly-aa-2014. Apparently this is quite the show!

Several months ago I took a workshop led by Brandon Mably and in the evening, there was a slide show and talk by Kaffe Fassett. At the time, I wondered how they could accomplish so much: with the travelling yet the prodigious output, at the same time continuing to be so creative. I requested Kaffe's autobiography, Dreaming in Color from the library and last week my turn came to read it. It was a detailed depiction of his childhood, family and artistic adventures, from painting, mosaics, needlepoint, knitting and quilting.

Kaffe must have kept a daybook from a young age, or else had an extremely talented ghost writer--the book starts from his childhood in California and the last entries appear to be from late 2011. The names of people he's worked with and of those who've 'crossed his path' are many and the book is full of beautiful photographs. Even though he has assistance with many of his projects, especially large murals, I marvel at what he produces. As an extreme contrast, I think of how long it takes me to knit a pair of socks!


In today's Globe & Mail newspaper there is an article from the Wall Street Journal about macrame. Apparently this craft has re-gained popularity--not the former owl wall hangings from the seventies, but larger pieces such as headboards, room dividers and window coverings.

After my previous enthusiasm for skating on the Rideau Canal last week, the weather changed and the Canal was closed due to unseasonal high temperatures and rain. I was driving along the Canal this morning before 0900 and was very pleased to see many people out skating already. Hope it stays cold enough to continue.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kimonos, socks, skating, Scotland

This week I received notice of an upcoming exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. www.textilemuseum.ca. The opening is Tuesday, 28 January. It's called: "From Geisha to Diva: the Kimonos of Ichimaru". It sounds as though there will be a beautiful display of kimonos and I plan to attend. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the museum has an excellent library and I've spent many happy hours reading there.

Today, Shirley (Shirl the Purl) sent me an update of the New Lanark Mill in Scotland. http://newlanarkshop.co.uk/. For years, I've thought this would be an interesting venue to visit during the Scottish Skeins & Skerries tours, (www.joycejamestours.com) but the location just didn't fit in with our itineraries. Just too much to see in Scotland!

I'm knitting one of my granddaughters a pair of socks from a 100% Superwash merino yarn. Her (current) favourite colour is purple. I was able to find a lovely hand-dyed purple yarn--think it's more like a lilac--from Kathryn Drysdale of Riverside Studio. (In the past, I've bought a number of skeins of Kathryn's beautiful yarns, and took them to Shetland as gifts to members of the Shetland guild.) Kathryn dyes the skeins in her studio in the little village of Wakefield, Quebec, north of Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills.

Anyone who is familiar with Ottawa will know there is a canal which runs through the city and actually continues to Kingston, Ontario on the St. Lawrence River, through a system of locks. A highlight of winter in the capital is when the Rideau Canal freezes sufficiently, and locals and tourists alike enjoy the skating. I used to skate on the canal a number of times a week until I fell and broke a wrist a number of years ago. I still feel wistful when I drive along the canal and wish I could get my courage up to try again. I see from the website that the Canal is closed today due to rain. Hopefully, the temperature will drop again soon.

Have a look at this site: http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/rideau-canal-skateway. When conditions are better, there is nothing like it, especially to stop and have a hot chocolate and a beavertail--a local pastry.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm back!

I spent a week in London, England and just returned on the weekend. I hadn't been there  for a number of years, just to wander around and take in the sights. It's surprising to me how much one can do in seven days: visited many well known attractions, saw three plays/shows, had some tasty, but not expensive meals, and generally had a very good time. I was travelling with one of my granddaughters and do regret that I wasn't in better physical shape--I really slowed her down a lot!

Before going to England, I purchased London Passes and 7-day tickets for unlimited travel on the underground and buses.They were both of very good value and I would advise those purchases to anyone travelling to London. The streets were very clean and although I saw a number of street cleaners and several postmen, I only saw two Bobbies walking on the street our last night. (That is other than the ones who were standing on the Queen's side of the gates in front of Buckingham Palace.) I did see and hear a number of police cars racing along the streets, sirens announcing, although no more than I hear in downtown Ottawa, where I live.

Before I left Ottawa on the 27 Dec., I was really busy and ran out of time to post information about a January contest connected with Shetland. Have a look at: www.shetland.org. The prize is a comprehensive book about Shetland textiles--I'd love to own that one. Also, the newsletter, "60 North" is also available, and as always has extensive information over a wide variety of subjects.

Not to be forgotten is the Global Yell post from Andy Ross: http://www.globalyell.org. Lots of information in his post too.There are two articles about mathematics, especially one about Fibonacci.