Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday 3rd October Moving onto Mainland

Well last night was quite exciting. I was hibernating with a migraine but the tide never showed any signs of moving down to low tide - ie it was so stormy that it gave the impression it was a continual high tide and was so close to the quay and our van that Michael decided to move the van higher up and behind the Youth Hostel. Suddenly it was SO much quieter as the wind was missing! It also gave us the opportunity for our first 'wild camp' ie no hook up and relying on the LPG and insulation of the van ( one of its selling features!). We had a very good night's sleep and in the morning it was just wet. I felt a whole lot better - in fact a different person and the only thing I needed mains electricity for ie the hostel was the hair dryer and straighteners! Message to self to look for some 12 volt versions for later 'wild camping' forays!
Then even the rain stopped. We decided to get an early ferry from Unst and were dismayed when a massive lorry turned up and thought we stood no chance of getting on the ferry ..... but we did as the men working on the ferries are brilliant at their job. During the wait I booked the ferries for next week so no worries about that.
This is our van that I keep talking about about at the ferry point on Unst.

It was a day for booking, we had lunch at Hay's Dock Cafe Restaurant again - look at this fantastic cockleshell lace inset into a table at the restaurant. All the tables have some beautiful work like this with the owner's name displayed by the till where you pay - just one such brilliant idea that makes the place so special. This beautiful cockleshell mini scarf is by Jan Sawford. So several lunches and dinner for next week booked.

Then onto Levenwick and our other campsite for our stay in Shetland. This is South of Lerwick on the main road towards the airport and quite high up, so no fear or high tides. Quite a sharp turn of the road. Again we were the only residents. A wonderful view.

The warden, John, turned up to meet us at 8 a very friendly man who discussed the mayhem being caused in the village by the invading twitchers looking for the Siberian ruby throat in his neighbours garden!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Thursday 2nd October The journey catches up on us

Well I guess it was inevitable. The journey from home was 645miles and we have been on the go ever since. 230 of these were by ferry but it was still quite a bit of driving. We both felt as though we needed a rest day. Michael was happy to potter, look for birds, chat to the resident bird expert at the hostel and I decided I would plan a pair of fingerless gloves with the remaining wool from my shwook hat.
This is the picture of the seaweed from Skaw beach that inspired the hat - it was on Facebook but some people seem not to have seen it.

I was worried about not having enough wool, but the result of this was that I have plenty to spare. I spent what seemed like all day trying to get a good tension and length for the gloves with endless different sized needles. I aimed to knit Old Shale Lace sideways as I've done a pair like this before ( based on alchemilla mollis ) and found them effective. I will wear these ( when finished!) when I am taking photos and they will be a wonderful reminder of Wool Week. The plan is to make them in spare moments during the week.

I thought I brought a good range of needles with me - but as it turned out I didn't bring a large enough pair so Friday when we drive back to mainland I have a wonderful reason for going into Jamieson and Smiths. So not being able to get started on the knitting I decided to organise yesterday's photos into folders on the laptop - more about this later.
As the day progressed it became increasingly obvious that my slowness was my chronic migraine getting to me - so I had to 'go with the flow' take myself to bed with the medication. Only positive thinking works, I was able to get to Shetland Wool Week and some months ago that was not looking a possibility, the wonderful NHS have helped make my life so much better - for most of the time! Tomorrow would be a new day and hopefully I would be feeling a whole lot better.

Postscript: These are the finished fingerless gloves, they did not get done during the week - there was far too much of interest to occupy me. But they are now finished and I am really pleased with them. The reverse side contains the other colours of the hat.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Wednesday 1st October A Day on Unst

Apologies for the change of text (font and size ) in the previous post – it must be user error but no idea how it happened. I will try harder with this one!
Although the night was windy and damp the morning was bright so I managed an hour on the shore with my camera - bliss! Lots of great macro photos of seaweed and photos from a deserted cottage to be used in textile designing later. Following an early lunch at the hostel we travelled north on the island. We had to make the customary stop at the stores in Baltasound and treated ourselves to another pair of mugs for the van : the new ones read ' Unst the Isle above all others'- just great, and post a card at the post office which will be stamped as coming from Britain's most northerly post office. The post office also sells knitwear made by the ladies of Unst. Then in glorious sunshine we drove on to Norwick beach where the waves were getting pretty choppy. We had only been here in June before so not seen it quite like this.
Then it was on the Skaw beach - the most northern beach in Britain and to me very special for its colourful seaweed. It is always an 'interesting' journey by a single track high road with passing places. You really do hope that you don't meet anyone! Also we were in the new motorhome which was a metre longer than the VW too.... Anyway we did not meet anyone. Michael was tasked with taking a photo of me wearing my shwook hat. ( see blog posts of August 19th– Sept 24th 2014 if you have not been following this). Our biggest problem was that the sun was very bright and it was very difficult to get a photo without big shadows or the sea cutting my head from my body.... I really did want a photo as this was the beach where the seaweed came from that inspired the hat, so we spent a while fiddling around and eventually got some photos that filled the bill and then took the following which shows us both. Michael is wearing the practice hat that I knitted to know how much yarn to dye!

Yes, the whole thing was a labour of love but well worth it.
What a wonderful day this had been.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tuesday 30th Sept Lerwick to Unst

We quickly bought a few provisions in Tesco and parked on the quay. Barbara had warned me that I would have to be careful that one of the accommodation ship might give me a migraine attack - I saw what she meant ! Quite a startling view but also quite beautiful in a way.

We had to visit the tourist information centre, always charming assistants and a trip to the Shetland Times Bookshop ( where I had only intended to browse today but within an hour of arriving had made my first textile purchase of the holiday Kate Davies' Colours of Shetland. I just loved the patterns but just as much - if not more- I loved the text and photos! I was also tempted by Traditional Nordic Knitting but that must be for a later visit....
We had a coffee in our favourite coffee spot of Hay's Dock cafe/restaurant ( after all where else do you get such a view and textiles inset into the tables and wire lace knit lampshades? Today we sat at a table with beautiful cockleshell lace by Jan Sawford which I posted on my facebook page.
We also had to visit the facilities of the Museum, these must be THE best loos ( loo designers take note) and this year lovely poems on the back of the doors - more about these later. We decided we had to go as we were driving up to our favourite Isle of Unst which meant two ferries!
We made it to the Yell ferry point and made a quick lunch in the van then had a quiet journey over Yell.
We were disappointed not to get on the first ferry to Unst but this was a lesson - all ferries to and from Unst had to be booked.
We arrived at Gardiesfauld youth hostel  on Unst in glorious sunshine where we were having a hook up for the van on the front - what a view. (Youth Hostel is the white building, our van on the front)


This is an independent youth hostel which is brilliant and to be recommended. Besides us there was one other 'resident' who like us was not actually saying in the hostel - he was camping in a small tent and bird watching, being resident there for several weeks. We were very envious but it was great company, especially for my husband who is a keen birdwatcher.
We are so blessed to have such a wonderful view for our 'bedroom' tonight.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Journey to Shetland

Over the next several posts I will summarise some my fantastic experiences at Shetland Wool Week 2014. I will try and add to this every other day, but life is hectic at the moment so please forgive me if it doesn't quite happen that often. It was the 5 th Shetland Wool Week(  and took place from 4th  to 12th October. I had my tickets booked for several months  and been part of a dedicated facebook group. We had been to Shetland twice before and love the place. I had been wanting to go to Wool Week for several years and finally managed it this year. We were travelling and staying in our new WildAx Motorhome which was a fantastic success. We only got this at the beginning of September so had only been way for one weekend to Bala to try it out!
We decided to be in Shetland for 2 weeks so that we could visit more of our favourite spots so were there nearly a week before it started and left a day for 'wool shopping' after the events finished before catching the ferry back.
We drove from Cheshire to Perth the first day - glorious sunshine and  quiet roads. I managed a photo opportunity with textiles in mind at Perth campsite then onto to Aberdeen to the ferry.

Once on the ferry as we went to dinner we literally bumped into Barbara Ridland from Shetland who I first met while she taught me so much about machine knitting ( to experiment more for one!) the best start possible to our Shetland holiday catching up like this.
It was a lovely calm crossing and we arrived in Lerwick having had our breakfast at ready to go to the only Tesco in Shetland to top up supplies before driving up to Unst.
The ferry to Shetland is big. It leaves Aberdeen at 19.00 and arrives at Lerwick at 7.30. You can sit up all night or have all sorts of sleeping arrangements but we have an outer ensuite cabin, you even get tea included.

Barbara was returning from an exhibition she is part of: ‘This Beloved Earth’ Basketry at It is open until November 23rd 2014.