on the hill

Friday, 25 September 2009

I have moved!

I have gone to here! . There's 'nowt there at the moment but hopefully I will break a month's silence over this weekend!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Faroes

Nop, I have not been on another holiday but for one reason or another the Faroes islands have been crossing our radar recently. Firstly there is the knitting. I have manged to acquire, after a
two month wait, a copy of http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/stahmans-shawls--scarves. This book I love! There are 40 patterns for both shawls & scarves in t The shawls are all an interpretation of Faroes shawls -ie 'fitted' with a back panel but knitted top down & the scarfs
have a ribbed neck section for cosy neck cuddling! I have, so far, finished one scarf. This is 'Irlings half diamond seamens scarf', knitted in extra fine Jaegar merino dk.
It is my first 'christmas knit'!!!! I am 3/4 of the way through 'Ginger',in some gifted Skein Queen sock yarn that I thought would be wasted if hidden in shoes & she makes a super 'travel' knit. Ginger Nut is for me!!!! Also on the needles is another scarf (more for the christmas cache!) & a shawl! The shawl is 'Gracie' & she is in Kauni Effektgarn 8/2.in shades of mid blue, dark blue & purple. I had started to knit 'Susan' but realised that the lace pattern is the same as 'Forest Canopy' & there is too much knitting in a Faeroe's shawl to repeat a pattern I only finished two months ago! It is a lovely pattern to knit & works with the yarn, although on grey days like today I keep thinking I must get a 'daylight bulb'! The darkest blue sections are like knitted braille! Fortunately I am into a purple patch.

The Faroes were also featured on last weeks 'Coast' programme & ..... wow! They have zoomed up our 'must visit' list! Awesome.... stunning..... Middle Earth! On the subject of TV, perhaps we are a little 'late to the party' but we have been following the re-run of 'Monty Halls Great Escape' as he establishes a smallholding near Applecross in the Western Highlands. The envy halted for a while when the midges moved in but other than that it is an intriguing project in a wonderful place. I have just ordered the book from Amazon!

Shopping is a common event in our household affairs at the moment. Son & heir goes off to University in just over two weeks time & so there has been a fair amount of 'Uni Shopping' - if they can't nail it down he needs to take his own seems to be the rule of thumb!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The knitting went too!

So, what knitting went on during our trip north? For 'travel' knitting there was Mr J's 'Highland Socks'.
A little bit of a tradition has developed in that I knit himself a pair of socks whilst we are on our Scottish jaunts. Last year he had his 'Colours of the Hebrides' socks. This year we agreed that the colours in the Trekking Hand Art Yarn were very much the colours of the mountains of the Western Highlands of Scotland, hence 'Highland Socks'. The pattern was a modification of 'Monkey Socks' using invisible 'make stitches' instead of yarn overs, for a more masculine sock. I used the prescribed 80 stitch cast yarn, but I this made for quite a baggy sock (he HAS got fairly skinny & very long pins!) & a close call on the yarn quantity. However himself is happy with the finished socks so all is good. It is lovely 'woolly' soft yarn to knit with & blooms when washed, yet has a bit of nylon for longer life!

For my 'major' project, may I introduce 'Heartland' shawl.......
The pattern is by Evelyn Clarke & is beautiful! The yarn is Kuani 'rainbow' & overall I love it (see next comment for why 'overall'!) We had early 'issues' - I frogged one evenings work to go down to 3.5mm needles for a 'closer', thicker shawl & then I found a knot! ..... and a non-matching join.... infact further knitting revealed that the add on yarn had been reversed so the colours were going in the opposite direction!!!! Grrr! After much debate & discussion (like himself is that bothered!!!!) I left well alone because a) it was the 'shoulder' section & would be fairly solid in whatever colour b) if I had to dive for a colour match I would loose ALOT of the skein, which wasn't too promising & c)???? is there a c)? Oh yes..... but perhaps its not too polite so we will leave it at a) & b)!

Not too bad huh? Well if you like triangular, brightly coloured shawls anyway! I used about 200 gms of the yarn but had to go over a third of the way into the second skein (I think I bought 2 x 170 skeins) to match the colour. I did one extra pattern repeat to that indicated on the pattern. I next want to knit one of the Stahman's Faroese Shawls (Susan or Gracie) in Kuani but I plan to be very cautious & buy plenty of yarn & re-wind it & check it for knots before I start! Just need to choose the colour! Black & Grey or Shades of blue & purple???? The book arrived on Friday & I adore it! I have already completed a 'Seaman's scarf' (first 'christmas' knit!) & am on a second (no photos yet!).

Friday, 7 August 2009

Northern Travels

Just over two weeks ago Mr J, Moss
& I headed north in Brian
This is Brian on North Uist!
I suspect that you will need to remember Brian the Snail in the Magic Roundabout to understand how a truck camper, a 'demountable', got to be called Brian!
We spent two weeks away..... we ambled to the Western Highlands, Skye (this is near Stein in North Skye)
The picture above is the Cullin mountains from Elgol on Skye. The long ride down to Elgol from Broadford was worth the stunning views, both into the Cullins & across to Rhum & Eigg.
We then sailed to the Uists. I can't really image a trip to Scotland without a ferry & islands involved. They have a magic that I cannot really describe, only mutter words like 'light'... 'space' 'colours'.....& offer up some of our photographs!
We then came back via the long way round, stopping in the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Fife & Northumberland! I had to don waterproofs just once 'in anger' & whilst our tan owes more to the wind than the sun we had a fantastic, fairly lazy time.
We camped in some amazing places & enjoyed the fantastic, ever changing light & scenery.
This was taken on North Uist. As you can see Brian was tucked away & on his own at the end of a 'beach access' track. When we got back to Skye we were told that there had been an article in the local paper complaining about camper vans in the Outer Hebrides. We saw nothing of the
invasion of camper vans reported in the Western Highland Free Press & depicted thus:

& suggesting that they were 'ruining' the machair & making no contribution to the economy of the islands. Infact the most campers we saw in one place on either North or South Uist was two & so we moved on! This was in a week when the ferries were pretty full! There is just one -official campsite' on the the Uists. Its by the road side & school in Benbecula. Its a decent
campsite but its location isn't great & its always over full. The camper vans we saw were tucked away, were not damaging farm land & more often were in the carpark of one of the Co-op shops! The newspaper article quotes how this camper van owners spend nothing when they are there, but the people quoted it turns out were a 'businessman' and a 'hotelier'! We went ( 7th year running) we paid out for ferry fares, spent money in the shops & took nothing but memories & photos! Fairly typical I guess! OK, soapbox bit over. Just fairly typical of the media I guess, but it irritated me!

So, some more pictures: The wind blew fairly hard - Force 6-7 for the five days we were out on the Uists, giving some fairly messed up water!
There will be ALOT of photos like this appearing in a classroom near here in September! Call this post part one! I need to organise some more of the....600+ photos.... & blogger is driving me nuts trying to get them into the right place!

....don't worry, there was quite alot of knitting done!

Monday, 13 July 2009

For once there will be no pictures as I have some 'issues' with my laptop, however I decided to go ahead and post anyway. We are into the last week of school. I have just waved off the fourth of eight reward trips that I have organized/ coordinated & have a few minutes not to spare exactly, but without something screamingly urgent to do as I have just realized that my next class are involved in Sports Day!
We are putting a little more shape to our holiday plans. We are going to set off on Tuesday, aiming for Killin, near to Loch Tay, for our first night. We may hang around there for a day or so, but most likely Wednesday will see us heading for Uig on Skye & the ferry to North Uist. We will probably camp at Uig, make sure that we are fully ‘charged’ & topped up & then catch the early morning ferry to Lochmaddy –after that? Who knows? We may head south towards Eriskay & then spend the next few days working our way back northwards, returning to Skye in the middle of the next week. What we do will depend on a) our mood b) the weather c) the availability of nice places to tuck ‘Brian’ up for the night. There is only one ‘official’ campsite on Benbecula if we need to top up the battery etc so we plan to buy a spare so that we can be truly footloose & fancy free!
One thing that will not cut short the holiday is a shortage of knitting projects. I am favoring Evelyn Clarke’s ‘Heartland’ knitted in Kauni’s rainbow yarn (My rebel without a cause ‘ hippy’ shawl) for a ‘big’ project, then there are my ‘Sunshine Socks’ to finish, some ‘Manly Monkey socks for Mr. J, and the orange lily of the valley scarf, from Estonian Lace. The later project is ‘on the needles’ or should I say ‘on the second lot of needles’ because I snapped my harmony knit pros on the purl 5 tog bit of the nupps! I have had to opt for metal tips & although I am devoted to wooden needles in general I have to say these are quite nice. Infact where a sharp point is needed (i.e. nupps!) I will use them again. I cannot praise Lyn at P2Tog enough for the prompt replacement at no charge of the damaged needles (I didn’t ask, I just said why the order was urgent). Again, thank you! I know I will not complete all the projects, but different occasions/ locations call for different knits imho. The socks will be fine for slipping in a backpack for on the ferry, on a beach or picnic time. The shawl pattern doesn’t look too demanding (famous last words) so should be OK for straighter roads & at camp. The lily of the valley scarf needs a bit of concentration but is a fairly small project. This could be a good one for when Mr. J is off on a run (he is building up his mileage ready for ‘The Great North Run’ in September). I will also slip in my new Tunisian crochet hook so that I can practice my new …well skill might be stretching it a bit… but you know what I mean. If this booklet arrives in time, I would like to practice Tunisian entralac for some future throw or blanket. I will pack a few extra patterns/ lots of yarn incase the mood doesn’t send me in the direction of these projects! When I look back at last year’s holiday & the knitting I completed then perhaps this isn’t too ambitious. Last year the score was two pairs of socks, one scarf & two pairs of fingerless mitts I think.
This week I plan to finish my ‘Chewbacca’ Forest canopy shawl (Thanks Kath for the idea for the name!). It’s my hairy merino & bunny angora shawl. It’s scheduled for a good swill and a blow as part of the blocking process. I am sure it will be fine as long as I wear it with black!
Actually its evening time as I actually post this -Blogger wouldn't play earlier!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

In the summertime?

So June is a busy month here on the hill. At school it has been all about exams & leavers celebrations & as I had to step in (again) as Head of Year 11 from Easter onwards, I have been in the thick of things! Still, all seems to have gone well. You just had to see it coming.... Sue.... we would appoint someone.... BUT.... only you knows how it works.... such an important time.....!!!!!!! Anyway, there is just three weeks left to go & I can begin to ponder important questions, such as what knitting (crochet even!) am I going to take with me when we set off in 'Brian' our truck camper in a north westerly direction!

I have done a little sewing. This is my 'Balamory' laptop cosy. At first glance some folk thought it was a pillow as it is well padded with quilt wadding. The fabric is super! Love it!
Knitting? I am knitting another 'Forest Canopy' shawl in black 'Sublime Merino & Angora'. Its super soft. The pattern's great -not to complicated for black in any light. The only issue is that it moults more than the dog after a wet walk! I am knitting it with a tea towel on my lap! Hopefully after a wash & block it will improve otherwise said dog might get it as a luxury blanket!
I also have a Rosebud Neckwarmer on the needles (I did finish Mr Greenjeans! -just needs 2 buttons.) It a cute knit. Grace Mcewen has some super patterns for sale on Ravelry!

The garden is looking pretty good we think. The polytunnel is probably at its best yet. The first courgettes were harvested today. The roses are real eye candy (unless you look too close & spot the black spot!)

I am sure I meant to include more but ,,,,,,,,

Monday, 1 June 2009

Two Men, Two Bikes, One Good Cause

On Saturday Wayne rode his bike from Wolverhampton to Aberdovey, looking like some bloke from the Tour de France. Mr J joined him on his mountain bike & rode with him from Welshpool to Aberdovey. An unlikely looking couple you may say & perhaps you could be right! Wayne was riding to raise money and to raise awareness for the Miscarriage Association. Mr J was riding to make sure that his mate didn't fall into a ditch or hit a tractor & to make sure that Mrs Wayne didn't fret too much! Mr J & I have not had to deal personally with the misery & heartache of miscarriage but we lived with the threat of it for a while. Mr & Mrs Wayne have sadly had to come to terms (if that is possible) with not one but two miscarriages & for them organising and completing this ride will help to reduce the number of babies who do not make it launch point. If you have been affected by a miscarriage or know someone who has perhaps you would like to make a donation? If so please click onto the link and follow the instructions!

The support party was awesome by the way & after the boys arrived in Aberdovey (6 hours riding time, with 17.5 mph average on one of the hottest days of the year & over the backbone of Wales....clicked the button yet?) we enjoyed a superb overnight stay at the Penhelig Arms. Go if you can, whether for just a meal or to stay over. Magic!