Friday, December 7, 2012

't Is the season...

To get some sewing done!
First, there was the idea to make an advent calendar, with 24 little felt mittens. I started a week before advent, giving myself plenty of time until Xmas eve for the last one.

It started out according to plan, but, like all the best-laid plans, this went horribly wrong. It was just way, way, way too addictive!!! Honestly, as soon as I had a pair done, I was cutting a new pair, and just ate, drank and slept colour-coordinated mittens. Sad really. But FUN!

So, numbers 1 and 2 were quickly followed by numbers 3 and 4.

And before I knew it...

I was a third done.

Wait. Hang on. Three more nights before December 1st? I can do this!!!

All done!!!

And now it's December 7 and the first 7 are up. Enjoying this immensely!!!

Actually, I enjoyed that small-scale stuff so much, I got out the scraps from Jamieson's of Shetland and the sewing machine... and then this happened...

Step 1... Try and fit your shell pieces onto scraps of tweed... Skip steps 2, 3 and 4 of the quilting laws and just sew everything together. Oh, I did baste. That really helped. Decorate the shell with embroidery stitches.
Make a head, tail and legs.

Watch two old episodes of Silent Witness. You know, the ones you don't remember watching until right at the end when you realize whodunnit.

And then the next day, forget to wrap it up and see how the Xmas recipient kidnaps Theo. Who was rebaptized Garry. After Garry from Jamieson's. Of course.

Steal it off him again to take some daylight pictures. And then send these to Garry.

Unfortunately, the turtle is spoken for, but maybe - who knows - it will be making a trip back to where it was born...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shetland - Days 7 and 8 - October 12 and 13

And then the week was nearly over... We'd made lots of trips, saw beautiful knitting, and only had 1 more full day for more experiences and activities. For Monique, this meant a trip to Eshaness, for me, it meant a bus trip down to Sandwick.

Taking bus trips abroad, is always scary in the beginning, but once you're on the bus, and you realize that everyone else (well, the two other persons apart from the two that are obviously going to the airport) is heading the same way, it's fine!
We were going to Sandwick for a carding workshop, given by the endlessly enthusiastic and energic, very talented and creative Niela:

and pattern, knitting, dyeing, spinning and carding diva Liz:

Some of the participants had spent the previous days up to their elbows in dye, but for those who hadn't, there was plenty of fiber deliciousness for use. Well, not the stuff in the foreground (that was Niela's (core)spun and carded stuff), but the masses and masses in the background (the heap was HUGE...).

After an introduction of the carding process, we got to grips with the different types of carding machines...

Even an electrical machine, which churned out humungous batts. I was too busy with my mind wanderings and spinning that I didn't even get a go ;)

And the machine which I've got at home as a Junior edition, the Louet. This was my fave to work with (funny that...).

It was great fun playing colours, sparkles and different textures...

We learnt lots about layers, folding, colour accents and the use of different types of materials.

And as I'd brought my wheel, I could spin up some of the carded batts straight away...

After a lovely lunch and more playing about, I went home with a head full of ideas and a table full of silly batts and some spun yarn... ;)

Apart from one silvery white one with bits of blue, it's all spun up now!

Green tweed: my fave

Closely followed by Sheherazade


Sari Cored


and Fluffy Core

This was so much fun! I spent lots of time just looking at colours and feeling textures, and I brought some fun stuff home to experiment with. I've even started scouring the house and thrift shops for fabric to rip into strips and use, haha... More carding to come soon!

And then... after taking ages to fit everything into our bags and suitcases (the words 'This is HOPELESS!!!' were muttered several times), a very short night's sleep and an early rise, we had to head back to the airport and home...
The wind had picked up a bit, and we wanted to take advantage of this to take some pictures of the sea. And for the first time that week, we smelt the sea! 

There was even a sheep that let me pet him. Well, running away is a bit hard when you're tied down... 

We also made a stop-over here, at St. Ninians...

This was a-ma-zing! We walked across, did some beach combing, reflecting on our week, and tried to spot seals. And then we turned around and this happened... 

How cool was that!!! The seal had been keeping an eye on us, and as soon as we were far away enough, he just quickly crossed the beach... Leaving only his footsteps behind...

And that was it... after dropping off the car, a coffee at the airport, it was time to board our private plane...

Dreamily look at the clouds and the sun...

Get slightly flabbergasted at the fact that Lady Gaga was singing at Glasgow Airport... The same 6 songs every half hour. Poor girl...

Poor us. A four(!!) hour transfer...

And then we were home again! With lots of memories, photos, YARN, and most of all, lots of inspiration after meeting all those other wool lovers in Shetland. WE MISS YOU!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shetland - Day 6 - October 11

And before you know it, two weeks have gone by... Time for another Shetland update! I've also got lots of knitting news from the home front, but that will have to wait until after I finish this Shetland trip... ;) In the meantime, I've also written a few pieces on this trip (in Dutch), which will be available to read soon. More about that when I know more!

But without further ado: the trip to Unst. This was definitely the trip that we looked forward to (and dreaded) the most. Three hours in the car, two ferries... We were crossing our fingers, hoping everything would work out.
We set out with glorious weather, me driving, Monique with her Krell pill in hand to combat the motion sickness. The journey up went like a dream. Again, we stopped here and there to check out the beautiful scenery. We arrived at the first ferry on time (we had booked this one in advance), and after a short wait, we could drive on. Right next to the fuel truck!

Monique thoroughly enjoyed herself during the crossings!

And after crossing Yell, the next ferry!

This one was tiny! Look, and we were the only car!!!
After arriving on Unst, we first drove around as we had plenty of time until our appointment in the Heritage Centre. We found the old Castle of Muness, which was open for viewing. No key required indeed ;)
The cool thing was that there were massive torches available for use, so you could go underground and discover more hidden treasures. Well, someone stole all the wine from the cellar, because it was all empty... Despite it being a small castle for modern standards, I can imagine how the Bruces were quite comfortable here in the 16th century.
Then we drove on to the Heritage Centre. We passed it once, as we were looking too hard, but once we found it, we loved it!

There was lots of lace on display.

When we got there, we were immediately drawn to a beautiful lace shawl. The grand-daughter of the knitter was there to explain more about the patterns. So intricate! We were allowed to photograph this shawl, a few others were just too delicate to photograph.

On display were several beautiful shawls, and in the cabinets below, we found even more treasures. Tops, socks, shawls... We went from one astonishment to the next. Monique saw this shawl (above) and immediately started charting. A shawl with these patterns will probably come out shortly! I'll not elaborate about the dancing men with 'third legs' I saw in the design ;)

When Hazel, one of the guild knitters we chatted to over coffee, found out about Monique and her lace knitting, and her quest for the Williamson stole, she immediately took us back to the lace area, and opened up even more cupboards. One after the other, rolls were unfolded, with beautiful old shawls, but alas... not the stole we were looking for. As they are only on display for a maximum of two years at a time, and then either return to storage or the owner, it was impossible to say where it was. 

While Monique did some more charting, I had a look around the rest of the museum. This mock-up of an old croft house was quite amazing. And then to imagine this was a quite a luxurious set-up. Many people had almost no furniture at all, apart from a few chairs, a cupboard and a bed. 

After our visit to the Heritage Centre, we needed to clear our heads a bit. And where better to do that than at Hermaness? We walked for miles...

Unfortunately, the first sheep we encountered, was positively deceased... It looked like the birds flying above and other predators had a good meal out of him... (or her)
But then a flock of sheep came blaaaaating past. They looked at us funny, and walked around us in a circle.
To follow their route again a bit further on... 

And then disappear from the view... 

And then it started to get dark... and we had a ferry to catch! We didn't make it all the way to the top, but after walking back to the car, we'd realized we had walked a fair distance!

It was a great day, and we dreamt of lace that night...  

The next entry will be the last one on Shetland... about carding, chatting, finally grabbing hold of a sheep, a fake Lady Gaga, and two flights back home...