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!