Thursday, 30 August 2012

Extreme Spinning

Tuesday was to be a rest day as we had walked a long way, including a lot of uphill on Monday. We made a quick stop at the extremely well stocked Skibhoul Stores- lots there including a place to get a drink with internet, nice textile items for sale, home baked bread – and for future reference Doves Farm gluten free flour. We tried to boost the local economy by buying some provisions and also souvenirs -  2 beautiful I love Unst porcelain mugs & a very tasteful I love Unst sticker – the latter for the van.

Then it was onto the Keen of Hamer where I spent a very long time photographing flowers with my macro lens – lots of tricky positions due to the usual ‘breeze’. It is such an amazing place – I just love it. After lunch – we went up to Skaw beach, the most northern beach in the country. I decided to spin here so here is a picture! It entertained the other visitors who arrived during our time there – all 4 of them. I was spinning Shetland fleece from Jamieson and Smith into fine yarn for knitting Shetland lace. I am wearing the headband that I treated myself to, yesterday.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A day on Fetlar

What an amazing day! We caught the morning ferry to Fetlar, the sun shone, it was hot and Fetlar was beautiful. The aim was to go to the Loch of Funzie and hopefully see a red necked phalarope! We weren't lucky but we did see some great flowers, the wonderful Tresta beach and had a thoroughly relaxing time.

Today I didn't spin outside but I did knit some of my amazing alpaca scarf in THE most glorious setting. No picture of me doing it though, Michael was taken up birdwatching. Instead here is part of my view as I knitted - but it doesn't do justice to what it was really like.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Fair Isle Head Band

We were on the way to  to have a bird walk but managed to fit in a stop at Baltasound Post Office to post a couple of cards – this is Britain’s most northern post office and the post mistress will add a stamp to the letter to say this! The post office doubles up as a small stationers and also has a good range of knitted items for sale. These are all ( or mainly) in fair –isle pattern and are knitted in Unst. I treated myself to a headband, but had the usual dilemma about which colour ways would be most suitable. I took the ‘let it be seen’ rather than a very toning ‘option’. I am posting a picture of me wearing this later.

The rest of the day was spent on a superb walk with the warden at Hermaness National Nature Reserve where I took an amazing selection of photos several that I feel might be inspiration or very special hand spun and natural dyed yarn.

Just look at the colours and then there are the textures…..

Monday, 13 August 2012

Unst Heritage Centre

This was open from 11.00am on Sunday so a visit was essential so we could plan the week! Entrance was £2 for one visit or £5 for a season ticket with multiple visits to this and the Boat Museum as well- phenomenal value, so of course I am now the proud owner of a season ticket.

Since our last visit the Heritage Centre had moved into a larger building, it was previously Haroldswick School. The Heritage Centre had a wonderful selection of fine lace items and spinning tools as well and there was much more on display than when I was there previously.  There was also a workshop room at the back. Local ladies use this room to demonstrate spinning and knitting on Friday afternoons – so that had to be on the week’s plan. There was  also a great 'shop' and lots more of interest.

So more visits were planned during the week and the volunteer said I could bring my wheel and spin too on Friday afternoon -  so exciting ! I did a small bit to help the funds with a few great cards, a booklet about the museum and one about Unst fine lace. The cover of ‘A Stitch in Time’ a wonderful booklet about Knitting in Unst.

 This was such a great place and to be staying so close for a full week! AND guess what there was a great tea shop down the road overlooking Harold’s Wick ( a bay) The tea shop is  Northern Lights and had  yet more craft work on display - the cakes look stunning and moreover are delicious I understand, such a pity only Michael could have one. We plan to stop here again – this is the view!

This is a link to the Heritage Centre (and Unst in general )

Monday, 6 August 2012

Lerwick Musem visit one

We were on a moderately tight schedule as we needed to shop to enable us to eat for a week on Unst and then drive to Belmont for our ferry booking after lunch. A visit to the Tourist Information Centre was essential, a visit to the Shetland Times Bookshop, with their great craft section, was important and I had picked up that there was a Craft Fair on at the Museum which couldn’t really be missed. We managed to fit in all three and have time to cook lunch before the ferry.

Not bad for a view from a car park in Lerwick

The Tourist Information Centre was just as fantastic as I had remembered it. Lots of beautiful craft work, lots of nice interesting cards, really helpful beautiful leaflets about all sorts of things and staff that really go out of their way to help. So we stocked up on things for Unst and Fetlar as we knew we would be back in a week.

The Bookshop was great and I restricted myself to just one Fair Isle book (Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary Macgregor) – for this visit!

Provisions shopping went quite well, Tesco made it easier for us as there were gluten, dairy and wheat free things, and Globe Butchers and Scoop Wholefoods helped, so that DID leave time for a flying visit to the Craft Fair at the Museum

I can’t recall visiting the Museum before – it is stunning. It is at Hay’s Dock, the last remaining area of original dock on Lerwick waterfront.

View at Hay’s Dock

The Museum is very contemporary and spacious (more later). The craft fair was in one of the downstairs rooms and also outside where there were pop up ‘sheds’ a bit like my knitting machine studio for those that know it! There was a great variety of high quality work for sale from the makers – I just concentrated on the knitted items, but there was much more. I chatted to Nella from Nielanell who makes the most amazing garments – knitted artwear. Take a look at her site . We first met at Wonderwool where she was visiting the people who now do Timbertops spinning wheels : www.woodland– . Jeanette (who I visted in Perth is a mutual friend). Well didn’t buy anything from Nella on the day – but there is a fortnight to go .. and we had to drive about 55 miles and get 2 ferries then we would be on UNST ‘ the island above all others’

Friday, 3 August 2012

To the Ferry to Shetland

Friday was to be an easy day, pack up and then drive about 70 miles to Aberdeen for the ferry to Lerwick.

We decided to take the scenic route. I always take knitting with me – for when I am not driving. The project for this holiday was to be a hand spun alpaca yarn that was to be knitted into a lace triangular neck scarf measuring 10” from point to longest edge. It was my contribution to the 10th anniversary challenge for the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I had chosen a lace pattern from a Barbara Walker Book, called Shower Stitch. It has a 12 stitch repeat and 8 rows pattern every row. This is the day that I realised this was not a project for doing whilst we were driving.  It was very challenging despite having with stitch markers to mark the 12 stitch repeats, a magnetic board and marker and a graphed chart that I had made of the pattern! Increasing stitches at both ends of each row and maintaining a perfect pattern was too stressful. Hence I enjoyed the scenery even more!

This is the beginning of the scarf.

It was a super day, other than arriving in Aberdeen in the rush hour when the traffic just got gridlocked all went to plan and we boarded the ferry, just before 7.00pm as the penultimate vehicle despite being 16th in the queue initially.

This was spotted on a lorry at the Ferry Terminal – what a great use of a side of a lorry.

So after a great dinner on the boat and being rocked to sleep in our superb en-suite cabin we arrived in Lerwick and left the Ferry at 7.30 am.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Textile Journey In Shetland 2012

Well, back to the blog after an absence. This is the first in a series about my recent return visit (June - July 2012) to Shetland. It was packed with great experiences and lots of them textile. These were beyond all expectations – which were pretty high. It is the textile experiences that I will concentrate on in this retrospective journal. We were travelling in our recently acquired beautiful T5 Campervan – the aim of the first day was to get to Perth Caravan and Camping Club site where we would spend 2 nights - it was a great place to stay and we look forward to going there again. We decided to leave the customary visit to Linton Tweeds in Carlisle until the way back (more later. By coincidence(!?) Staying at Perth enabled me to visit my friend Jeannette Sendler in her inspirational shop called Hat in the Cat Studio in Perth. Do take a look at what she does – textile art, millinery and felt making at the shop and at her Big Cat Textiles workspace in Newburgh.
The photo is of a machine knit wool and merino felt cape that I made with Jeanette at one of her great workshops some time ago. (The photo is of the cape on my stand at the Guild of Machine Knitters AGM where I was promoting the Campaign for Wool in June earlier in the year.) It was great to see Jeanette again and to be inspired by her work – and add another visit to a workshop to my ‘must do list’. If you get to Perth then produced a superb lunch, more than coping with my non dairy, non gluten and non wheat needs. Besides wonderful food, great service and highly recommended. The only slight downside to Perth was our visit to Scone Palace; I was underwhelmed by the contents of the Palace – very little ‘needlework’! However, the shop had a great range of lovely textile items, including waffle merino/cashmere/silk scarves woven on Mull by Shirley … I think it must be Shirley Pinder – this is her website: ..and so on to Aberdeen for the ferry.