Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Mini-Mitten Garland

I don't know what it is about Christmas knitting projects.  When I see them on Ravelry I just want to do them all:  the little gnomes, reindeer, Nativity scenes, Santa's clothesline, tree lights, snowman and more.  Some are in my queue and I will make them at some point, I'm sure.  They're cute, colorful and most are small, easy-to-complete quickly, fun projects.

This year I succumbed to the Advent Mini-mitten Garland knitalong (Ravelry link) by Kat Lewinski.  I started well after the knitalong began and my mini-mittens won't be finished for this year.  Each Monday we were given a new mitten pattern and I'm only working on #6.  It's addictive and I'm enjoying it.

I'm using Shetland or Shetland-type wool from Jamieson & Smith, Jamieson's, The Scottish Collection (which I understand is Jamieson's), Rennie Handknits, Shetland Wirsit and Harrisville - and some small balls that have no label from stash.  Some of the yarn was purchased at Fancy Tiger in Denver and and some was purchased in Shetland last September.  I'm glad that I chose to use these wools as I'm quite pleased with the way they are working up.

There are 24 patterns in all, each mitten is about 4 inches long, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm in no hurry for this project to end. The plan is to display one mitten per day from December 1st to 24th.  Details on my mittens are here.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Scotland - Part 1

It's going to take more than one blog post to talk about the trip to Scotland.  It was arranged by Jean at Celtic Journeys and she did an exceptional job of taking care of us.  Nothing was overlooked.  The leader on the trip was Amy Detjen (I had to type that in purple as it's her signature color!).

The flight to Edinburgh was an overnighter from Chicago on Sunday night.  We ended up delayed, and delayed again, so five of us arrived quite late on Day 1, Monday morning, but the driver and all our other travel mates waited for us.  From there we went right to Dundee, just over an hour away, and checked into our hotel.

The rest of the day was for relaxing, getting acquainted and exploring the city.  It wasn't difficult to get used to the time change.  The return a couple of weeks later was not as easy.  Dundee gave us our first excellent impressions of Scotland.

The view from our hotel (click on the picture to enlarge)
On Day 2, Tuesday, after a good night's sleep, we were off to Scone Palace near Perth.  The long hallways showed the history of the Palace with the pictures, old wallpaper, tapestries and furnishings.  In one of the rooms a video was shown and we learned about the visits of King Charles II, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scots and others.  The grounds surrounding the Palace are beautiful.

I would have guessed that Scone Palace had something to do with the scone biscuits, especially after stopping into the kitchen coffee shop.  The scones were the best I've ever had and now I'm on a search for a recipe for scones that are just as good.  We learned that there is no connection between the Palace and the scones. As a matter of fact, the two words are pronounced differently with the Scottish accent.

From Scone Palace we went to a distillery, stopping along the way to look at some hairy Scottish cows.

The Edradour Distillery is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, located in Pitlochry.  We passed by St. Andrews on the way.  Think "golf".

Even though I don't drink I like to see how things are made and this was interesting and educational.  You can take a little tour yourself via YouTube videos - part 1 is here.  After the tour we went for whisky tasting and an audio-visual presentation.  Aghhh.... many loved the whisky.  I found it much too strong, but I'm not used to it.  No...the picture isn't blurry because I was drinking!  One of the others on the tour was happy to take my glass of whisky so it wasn't wasted.

The day ended with a return to Dundee where some of us went to a pub for dinner, then some knitting back at the hotel.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Out of Blogging Retirement

Hi everyone,

Well, here I am, out of blogging retirement.  I've missed my blog in the past 11 months and have decided that I wanted to come back to it.  I can't tell you how many times something has happened and I thought, I should blog about that.  I hope you will join me as I continue forward.  A lot has happened so I'll be posting about the past as well as the present and future, in no particular order.

I've had a couple of great knitting trips this year and will tell you more as time goes on:  a fun retreat sponsored by Jimmy Beans Wool at the Northstar Resort at Tahoe and a wonderful trip to Scotland which included the Shetland Islands.

Window shopping in Dundee, Scotland
I joined in a Knitalong called "Camp Loopy", sponsored by the Loopy Ewe.  What a challenge it was to create so much in such a short amount of time, but I did it!

I've met some amazing people along the way - and even some knitting celebrities.

I have exciting plans for the coming year, including teaching at the DFW Fiber Fest in April. I'm really looking forward to that!  I love teaching.

There's a planned return to Shetland, this time for Wool Week in 2016.  Interested?  We may have a couple of slots left to fill for the trip.

I've been knitting constantly.  That never changes.  Right now I'm working on a set of 24 miniature mittens for Advent.  It's a knitalong and I learned about it late, so these will likely be for Christmas 2016.  I've got other exciting projects to tell you about: a new Travel Afghan, sweaters, new designs, and more.

And, the very best news of all, I became a grandma for the third time on October 15th with the birth of Alyssa Jane Freeman.

My plan is to post about once a week, but you know how plans sometimes go.  It may be more often, or there may be a gap at times, but I hope that you'll check in when you can, maybe leave a comment.

I'm glad that you dropped in and I hope to "see" you again soon.  Joanne