Friday, September 23, 2016

First Day in Shetland

We're here!  We're here!  After 3 flights, starting at 6:35 on Wednesday night, I've finally made it to Shetland and it feels so good to be back here.

Our driver, John, picked us up at the airport and we did some visiting and sightseeing before even checking into the hotel. We drove around the countryside and you can see by the picture just how beautiful this place is - and this is just one picture. 

Than we went on to Sumburgh lighthouse and looked out over the sea.  It was windy and the water was choppy.

From there we were driving down the road and we saw a sign advertising a studio with traditional Shetland knitwear called Shetland Collection. Of course we had to stop, turn around and head down the side road. There we met Doreen Brown and her hubby who were incredibly friendly and welcoming. She showed us the beautful designs in her shop and then took us to her studio.  There she demonstrated how she designs and makes some of the sweaters, her hubby weaves in all the ends. I was very taken with a non-traditional Shetland cardigan (below, left) called Tapestry . I didn't buy it....yet, but if I'm still tempted later in the week it might have to come home with me. 

Doreen had a lovely wood cabinet with shallow drawers.  In each drawer was a selection of her swatches, each drawer sorted by color. They were inspirational and they were definitely not like the  curled bits of necessity that I make before casting on for a sweater. 

The best yet was learning that Doreen was a celebrity. There is a very popular and well-known photo  in Shetland that shows up mostly on postcards.  The picture depicts a pair of Shetland ponies outfitted in Shetland sweaters.  Doreen designed and knit the sweaters.  

Doreen and her husband were given the opportunity to take the sweaters to New York City and dress a pair of Shetland ponies there and they were on Good Morning America while there. 

We stopped at a couple of shops outside of Lerwick, in Hoswick:  Laurence Odie Knitwear (our driver's brother's company) and the Nielanell store. Then...we went to hotel to check in.  After dinner we met three knitters from Saskatchewan. All in all, it was a good start.  Tomorrow we check in to Wool Week and may visit the Sheila McGregor display.  It's on all week. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Going to Shetland Wool Week

I'm one lucky person/knitter and I know it.  In a few hours I'll be on a plane heading to London, then after an overnight stay I will be on my way to Lerwick, Shetland via Abderdeen.  It's a long trip but so worth it to be back in Shetland.  Shetland is beautiful, remote, and for the next week or more, full of knitters, designers, authors, spinners and obsessed fiber people from all over the world for Shetland Wool Week..

There are live web cams in Shetland and if you take a look you will likely see a knitter or two.  The most likely webcams to see knitters are Market Cross and the Tourist Office. Keep in mind that there may be a time difference for you.  For example, for me (mountain time), Shetland is 7 hours ahead.

I'm planning to blog about Wool Week and the visit to well as the Knitting & Stitching Show (Ally Pally) later in the trip if I have wifi.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mini-mitten #19

I've now finished 20 (out of 24) of the Advent Mini-Mittens and blogged about 18 of them.  Here is number 19, which has been my favorite to knit so far:


Pattern:  Advent Mini-Mitten Garland
by Kat Lewinski

Yarn:  All Jamieson & Smith:
Red #9113, White #1, Green #95

Needles:  US #1/2.25 mm - double points

I haven't worked on this project for a while, so I need to get back to it after vacation if I want to have it finished for this year's holiday season.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Yarn Harlot Talks Colour

Today I was lucky enough to take a class on colour with The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Pudding Yarn shop brought her to Calgary.

Click on photo to enlarge.
She taught us about how different people (and animals) see colours, about our eyes and their rods and cones,  I don't think I've learned this much science since school.  It was fascinating.

We examined the colour wheel, and she had one laid out in yarn on the floor:

We had a discussion of primary, secondary and tertiary colours.  There are complimentary colours, colour value, saturation, additive and subtractive colours, and the neutrals.

Stephanie taught us about the use of colours in projects and it was interesting to learn what colours will go together and why, and how to tone down bright, in-your-face color combinations.

Not only was the class educational, but it was often funny as well - just what you'd expect from The Yarn Harlot.  She doesn't disappoint. I'm obviously in a color mode lately as I signed up for two color classes at Shetland Wool Week.  Unfortunately one of them was cancelled as the teacher was not going to be able come for medical reasons, but I do have another one to look forward to called "Mood Boards & Colour" with Joanna Hunter.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Today, remembering 9/11. It's hard to believe that it was 15 years ago today.  It still feels 'close'.

I'm sure that most of us remember where we were on that day.  I first heard the news walking back to the car in a parking lot in Kingston, Ontario where I had just taken my father to the barber.  A woman told us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  It was confusing at that point, but the full impact, of the four co-ordinated terrorist strikes, World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA  started to sink in once back at the house and watching the TV coverage.

A couple of days later I was scheduled to fly back home to Denver from Toronto.  It took 4 days and a series of shorter flights to get there.  The Red Cross was present and very helpful at the Chicago airport, stepping up to help travelers who were tired and confused.  In the Moline, IL airport American flags were totally sold out.

Never Forget

N'oublie Jamais

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Gord We Trust

Back on August 20th one third of all Canadians were watching the moving final concert of the band The Tragically Hip.  I blogged about it here.  I mentioned that the singer, Gord Downie, was wearing a tube sock to keep his neck warm and to help his voice.

Now, Knitty is offering a free pattern so that you can make your own neck warmer.  While the pattern is free, it is suggested that you might consider making a donation to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research established at Sunnybrook Hospital. The link is for Knitty's fund raiser.  Another one can be found here and there are several others sponsored by radio stations, etc.  So far, over $500,000 has been raised.

(c) Amy Singer/Knitty
You can find a link to the pattern on Ravelry here.  An article in the Toronto Sun announced that Gord will be releasing a solo album and a book shortly.  He may be ill, but he's certainly not slowing down.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Subtle? I don't think so...

It took about a month to make the socks and more than two months to get around to taking the picture.  I love the bright colors. The only downside was that the yarn was quite splitty.  At work we have 'Wild Socks Monday'. I think that these will fit right in. 

Pattern:  My basic sock pattern
60 sts, K2 P2 ribbing for 12 rounds
Stocking stitch leg for 75 rounds
Short row heel
Stocking stitch leg for 50 rounds
Toe - close with Kitchener stitch
*Yarn arrived from New Zealand in the
cutest little cat box*

Needles:  US #0 / 2.0 mm - double points

I need to get more sock knitting finished.  I have some wonderful yarns and some socks on the needles. Watch for more completed socks in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Vogue Knitting Magazine

I don't buy many knitting magazines anymore. I used to have subscriptions and, while I enjoyed each and every one (to varying degrees), they just started piling up.  Now, I'm more selective and will have to have a specific reason to purchase it. I have a good reason to buy the fall issue of Vogue Knitting magazine:  Shetland.

I'm anxiously awaiting the Fall issue of Vogue Knitting to hit the stands here in Calgary.  I bought the digital copy because I couldn't wait to get my hands on this issue, but I plan to buy the hard copy of this particular one as well.  The fashion preview can be found here.

For someone, me, who went to Shetland last year and liked it so much that I'm going back this year, it was exciting to see the theme of this issue.  Shetland is all through the issue.  I've taken a class with Hazel Tindall and will take another in a couple of weeks.

There is an article about the author, Ann Cleeves.  Ann has written books about Shetland and some went on to become a TV series in the UK (also available on DVD).  She has a new book, Cold Earth, that is being officially launched on October 1st and there will be a book signing and talk in Lerwick.

On the cover is a hat designed by the talented Mary Jane Mucklestone.  She is probably best known for her fairisle designs and books.  Taking a class with Mary Jane is on my must-do list for the future.

This magazine is coming out at the perfect time with Shetland Wool Week being only 3 weeks away.