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 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/ 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!