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:

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:

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.

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. (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.

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.

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: .(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: Wait, there's more:

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, 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. Have a look at the list of exhibitors--I think there are even more than last year:

I checked out the site for my favourite knitting magazine, The Knitter, and got the umbrella site called The Making Spot. 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. 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: If you would like to join us for this trip, there are a few places available. 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: 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. 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.