Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Shetland Wool Week: Day 10: Last Day in Unst: Fri 22 Sept

We woke to a stunning sky, spectacular bands of light moved over the sea to the shore and then there was the most glorious sunrise, so lovely to see today which was tinged with leaving sadness. I tried to capture it.

We left as soon as we could pack up and headed for Norwick beach where Michael walked up the road to a favourite bird watching spot and I took the camera and pottered on the beach - sheer bliss. It is ungrateful to complain but it was really too bright for photography. However, I did take lots of pictures and its difficult to choose a few for here.
 I can already visualise some textured weaving with some of my naturally dyed yarn

I spent some time knitting, can there be a better place for knitting? (Prep for my grafting class later in the week) 

I rarely take a selfie, but this was tempting. I know I am only supposed to include what is the frame, but what is outside is better!

We had treated ourselves to Victoria’s tea rooms for lunch as it was our last day here for a while. It did not disappoint and we treated ourselves to a porcelain dish to put the spoons in from the breakfast cup of tea so we can see it each day. Then Michael was back to Norwick and I went into the Heritage Centre to sit and spin and chat to the lovely knowledgeable knitters and spinners who meet there on Friday afternoon’s for much of the year. I so enjoy this as I like to see what they are doing and they are interested in what I have been doing too. This year I took my Ground Elder cardigan (more about that later), some fine lace spinning and gifted them some Norfolk Horn fleece. One of the ladies had fallen and broken a bone in her hand. Currently her spinning was halted but she was still able to knit- a fair isle tam at that. Some more visitors arrived including a lady from Melbourne who was a spinner of mainly merino and a knitter also from England. (I noticed this year that more people were coming up to wool week earlier and using the time to visit beyond Mainland which is good) I have knitted the Ground Elder cardigan, naturally dyed and using the knitting machine and am very proud of that. Being told ‘machine knitting is cheating’ was embarrassing for me to hear from a visitor. Everyone who knits using a knitting machine - and this includes a lot of people in Shetland - appreciates the skill that goes into that.
All too soon for me it was time to clear my things away for another year and catch the ferry back to Yell and then Mainland. I just had a short time to chat to Minnie who had come in to see my medieval spindles and chat about historical sheep breeds. More envy (and delight) that she was planning to go to the North Atlantic Sheep Conference in the Isle of Man after wool week.
I had eaten my delicious lemon tart from Victoria’s tea rooms on one of the ferries, but we did stop to make a cup of tea once we made Mainland. Another treat was in store - fish and chips from Brae, an award winning place. Before we collected these we drove round the corner to book in to Delting Marina where we would be spending a couple of nights. It had been a great day and tomorrow I had my first Wool Week class in Walsay. However, I did have uncomfortable memories of the ferry journeys last year and I noticed the wind was getting up a bit.......

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Shetland Wool Week: Day 9: Mainly a technology day - Frustrations and learning new things: Thurs 21 Sept

It had rained hard in the night but it seemed amazingly warm when we woke up and the wind had dropped substantially. Even when dull, Uyeasound is still beautiful and we pottered and just enjoyed it. My plan this year was to publish my blog about our trip slightly retrospectively  but while we were still away. This day reminded me why that does not happen. Download speed is reasonable but upload speed is too slow. I had several attempts and then realised there were far better things to do when in Shetland. Leaving it until I got back home meant I could relive the experience again. However, I did not know I was to encounter a real technology bonus in the hostel. 

One of the cyclists, Laura of the yellow bike and I got chatting. She had been travelling with a tent and her bike since Sept 2015 and visited many countries, she wasn’t planning to get back home (Switzerland) until the spring 2018. She takes amazing photos and introduced me to Lightroom! It is now on my Christmas list- but that might have to be Christmas 2018 as  I intend to pack this years list with Shetland and Textile related goodies. If you know any German or even if you don’t but love great  photos take a look at Laura’s blog - 

I have been asked about the actual Viking longhouse in Unst, so here is a bit more information.  It is thought that Unst was the first place the Vikings landed in the North Atlantic and remains of 60, yes 60, longhouses have been found, which gives the highest rural density known including in Scandinavia. Three of these longhouses have been excavated in Unst and the replica longship in Haroldswick has made use of the knowledge and skills developed due to these. 

The roof is sealed with turf and the interior of the roof has all wood joints, the pattern at the end took my eye. 

I was particularly interested in the door, no metal was used, the hinge was very clever! 

The longhouse is a large building and events are staged there in the summer and sometime I hope to partake in some of these. It is a glorious building and I wonder what the Viking buildings in Norfolk were like. 
This site is well worth a visit and it is in sight of Victoria’s tea rooms and a very short distance from the Heritage Centre and that wonderful lace knitting. 

*** I didn’t mention in the last post the size of the Viking ship- 24m in length and 5m wide and made of oak. It is called the Skidbladner and is a full size replica.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Shetland Wool Week :day 8: wonderful people, Wool and archeology : Wed 20 Sept

This was going to be another restful day where we played at being tourists. It ended up packed full of things that form wonderful memories. One of the great things about coming to Shetland Wool Week over the years is that you meet 'spin off' craftspeople. This morning we were off to meet Cheryl from Glansin Glass ( which is in Uyeasound where we are staying - her products are beautiful. We had a hard job choosing what to bring back - delightful pieces for the newly decorated lounge that we will enjoy each day. 

We hadn't previously stopped at the Viking Ship and Longhouse but made time this morning. 
 It was a real treat, I loved this detail from the ship. 
The rope was integral to the ship, it felt wrong to ‘remove it’ and just look at the colours in it! 

We decided we would not have liked to row the ship, for one thing the oar was very heavy but it was lovely to sense what it might have been like. 
Lunch was in Victoria's tea room where we had  trouble choosing, the food was all so tempting- we booked to return for lunch on Friday. Then it was on to the Heritage Centre for me, to get a fill of the glorious lace again. It doesn't matter how many times I look at this lace, it is never enough. But today I was in for a treat, I started talking to a lady ( obviously up for SWW by her cardigan). We got chatting and introduced ourselves, she was Hadewych van der Werf ( look her up she does wonderful colourwork knitting) and we noted we had a common friend Monique Boonstra  (such a wonderful lace designer and knitter, look her up too) both  from The Netherlands. I guess Monique’s  ears might have been burning. Another treat was managing to buy the Whalsay Fair Isle book, beautiful pictures of the knitwear in the exhibition - which I will see again on Saturday. The book is worth getting (try Whalsay Heritage and Community Centre). It is a sheer delight with fair isle knitwear from the 1920’s to 2010’s from the island. Every page is worthy of detailed study. 

Having bought a few other items we went   to Lund Church where it is always atmospheric ( windy) but is a place like no other. I decided it was a great place to catch up on my knitting, I am still trying to do my prep  for Friday and Tuesday classes. I couldn't not walk there, so I rugged up and was delighted that I managed to find the Viking crosses in the Church yard. There are another couple behind this and one was in front of the one you see here. 

Back 'home' ( I wish - I mean the hostel where we park the motorhome) there are 3 ladies each on their own- 2 cyclists and a lady in a small tent but with a car  lots of interesting conversation for all as we prepare and cook dinner. 3 more people now know about Shetland Wool Week! 
Another night when I will have no trouble sleeping.