Saturday, April 12, 2014

Irish Treasures, Kate Davies, Hazel Tindall, Knitting Traditions

I thought I'd 'lost' the previous blog which I composed earlier this week. Just when I was ready to draft a replacement, somehow the blog 'materialized'. A lot that I don't understand!

I've really enjoyed doing the research for our Irish Treasures Tour. Have found more and more memorable places and people for us to visit. I'll be sending the information to my talented, patient, long-suffering website guy tomorrow or Monday. I'll let everyone know when all the details are on my website.

The news just keeps coming:

Alison from Australia told me about Kate Davies's blog which is currently coming from Iceland. I continue to admire and be amazed by what Kate accomplishes: she's a talented designer and photographer, and a frequent blogger. How does she do it all, especially when she has had a stroke and still isn't in the best of health? (As some of you may remember, Kate was going to be our special speaker in Glasgow, during last year's Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour, but she had to cancel due to doctors' orders that she couldn't take on further obligations at that time.) Not to overlook that she is a very nice person.

I've been trying to locate the magazine Knitting Traditions. Several people have recommended that I read it (thanks Kathi), plus I received an email this week from Hazel Tindall telling me that she has had an article printed in the current issue. Will try to track it down.  

I also heard from Hazel about something called 'Knitsonik'. Wasn't sure what it meant, but went to Tom of Holland's site: Wait, there's more:

I think the above is enough to read in one blog!

The Knitter, Joe Hogan, Ireland

I just walked up to my local magazine store and was fortunate to get this copy--they just had two left. I'll have to look at the copies I already have to see if I've missed an issue before this one. The package also included a supplement entitled 'Faroe Family Style', with three designs. Good karma since I/we will be in the Faroes next month. I see that they've called for a Faroese yarn called Navia. It is available from the Island Wool Company, I haven't read through the magazine yet, but feel certain there will be lots of interest.

If you have been thinking about coming along on the Viking tour, I can probably get a cabin for you. It will be a great trip, with many interesting ports and a great itinerary--not usually offered, only once this year and not at all next year.

Later: I read through the The Knitter from cover to cover and yes, I had missed the previous copy. Although I prefer to support my local magazine store, I've decided to take out a subscription. I found that invariably I would miss an issue and they quickly sell out of printed back issues. Again, I really enjoyed the articles and a couple of the designs--especially a step-by-step tutorial on using Ravelry. What an astounding concept--I see there are close to four million registered users.

I've had an email from Joe Hogan, talented Irish basketmaker, confirming that he will meet with our group at his home when we visit the area north of Galway in early October. For anyone who has travelled to Ireland with me before, you will recall the previous visit when we all sat outside in a circle while Joe wove a traditional basket. (I can't recall the name, but it was used to drain the potatoes after they'd been cooked--the water then went to feed the pigs.) We have an appointment to meet with Joe on the 05 October and at that time, his wife will serve us tea, coffee and homemade scones.

Again, I apologize that the final news for the Irish tour is so late in coming, but the tour is definitely 'on'. I will let everyone know who I have on my mailing list as soon as I have the final price. The hotels are all confirmed--it's just a matter of a couple of details which I'm waiting for.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wonderwool Wales, The Knitter and Winter

Wonderwool Wales takes place later this month. I've been there before, but especially enjoyed it when I was there with the group last year. For anyone who lives close enough, this event is well worth attending. Have a look at the list of exhibitors--I think there are even more than last year:

I checked out the site for my favourite knitting magazine, The Knitter, and got the umbrella site called The Making Spot. I'd forgotten how much is going on and I see they are announcing a contest for a designer. I always admire the creativity of so many knitters who I've met and who I read about. I love to knit but couldn't do it without a pattern in front of me.

I've made an appointment to get my snow tires removed next week. Hope I'm not being premature, but after this long, intense winter, surely it's just about over.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A wide range of topics and events..........

I've had no problem in finding topics to post--I don't know if there is just that much going on, or as I suspect, it's a case of the internet. It's hard to keep up!

Some sites I'm following:

- The Shetland Amenity Trust has emailed their April newsletter, titled Unkans. It's four pages long, so make sure you read it to the end. I was struck again by the association and shared history of Shetland and Norway. There is a section about the Shetland Bus exhibition at the museum in Scalloway and a recent aquistion they have. We'll be able to see this on our July visit during the 16th Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour: If you would like to join us for this trip, there are a few places available. This is the most recent newsletter from the Textile Museum. On the weekend, I attended one of their 'Conscious Consumption' events. This one was held at St. John's Bakery in Toronto, and it wasn't just an explanation of bread and the importance of ingredients, pride and the time involved. St. John's is a Russian Orthodox church which serves the community and offers many worthwhile activities to those of all ages.

-  Jen Jones of Wales, who I've mentioned in past blogs, has announced her current exhibition which is held in southwest Wales, in the village of Lampeter. The main gallery is showing an presentation called "Early to Bed: Early Welsh Quilts", however there are two supplementary exhibitions. (In Welsh, the title is: I’r Gwely’n gynnar gyda’r Cwiltiau Cymreig Cynnar. ) How do they understand each other?
Have a look at: Jen is committed to the history of quilts from this corner of Britain, plus their preservation.

-  The Twist Collective newsletter arrived today, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet--I always find much of interest and wanted to wait until I had the time to read it in detail. Their Spring Fair was held this past weekend. Although I didn't post the notice in time for those who would be able to attend, their site is still interesting as it details some of the craftspeople who were exhibiting, plus information about the magazine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knitter's Frolic in Toronto; Shetland; Kaffe Fasset

For anyone who will be within driving distance of Toronto in late April, make it a point to attend the Knitter's Frolic. It's sponsored by the DKC (Downton Knitting Collective) of Toronto. The dates are: 26 and 27 April and it's held at the Japanese Cultural Centre. For more information:

I realize that the majority of topics in my blog centre around Shetland. It's because the area is one of my favourite places and there is much going on--actually it seems like a significant amount more than when I first planned the tours in 1996.

I'm not recommending that anyone purchase from a specific knitter, but just think it's interesting to know what one can order. Along that line is the word 'bespoke'--one that I learned within the past year and not commonly used in North America.

-  Carol Christiansen, curator of the textile collection at the Shetland Museum has written a brief history of Shetland lace knitting: (This is included in the Shetland newsletter, which is worth reading in its entirety.)

-  I had an email from Sheila who knits Shetland lace to order:

-  Another source for handknitted shawls, scarves and miscellaneous items is:

-  Spirit of Shetland by Barbara Mitchell.

I also received Kaffe's and Brandon's March newsletter (feel as though I can call them by their first names). www. Still don't know how they can accomplish so much! They must rarely sleep, or else have a large staff.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Knitting Museum, The Knitter, the Textile Museum of Canada

Marsha White, who stocks a wide variety of knitting books on her site,, has started a virtual museum, called Knitting Museum, Be sure to have a look at both sites--they are well worth your time. In addition to offering prompt, pleasant service, Marsha has a large inventory of textile-related books--I always look at the knitting--including ones about Japanese knitting.  

When I was in Dublin earlier this month, I bought a copy of The Knitter, issue 68. As soon as I was back home, I went to my local magazine store and was delighted to find a copy of the magazine there. Thinking it was most likely the previous issue, I bought it. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I'd bought the same issue--so much for short-term memory or I prefer to think it was a case of jet lag! However, the second copy has gone to the good home of a friend and talented knitter. This particular issue had an article about Ravelry--entitled "Get the Most Out of Ravelry", a subject which I really need to study. There are also several patterns which I'd love to knit--where to get the time or more likely to be better organized!

The Knitter Issue 68

I know I've mentioned the Textile Museum of Canada before,
Even when I lived several thousand miles away from its physical base in Toronto, I continued to support it with a membership. Now that I live in Ottawa, I try to visit whenever I'm able. The museum is sponsoring a program called "Conscious Consumption Series in late March and April. Fortunately, I'll be in Toronto during the last week of March and have signed up for two of the outings.

Also received Beth Brown Reinsel's newsletter,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ireland and the Rideau Canal

Hard to believe that it was just one week from today that I was in Ireland. The nine days I was there added up to a very pleasant time. My travels started in Ottawa and the Air Canada flight to London/Heathrow was delayed due to bad weather in Toronto (not an unknown experience in many other places, in addition to Toronto!) Consequently, I missed my connection from Heathrow to Shannon, but other than having several hours to wait for the next flight, it was not an unpleasant experience. At the Aer Lingus centre, there is a comfortable area with couches and cafe, where I waited.

The Aer Lingus flight to Shannon didn't take long--I think I slept most of the time. Once I'd collected my suitcase, I went looking for a taxi to take me to my first hotel, the Bunratty Castle. I didn't see a taxi rank and asked a man in the terminal where I could find a taxi. His response was that they are very relaxed in Shannon (Ireland?) and he called a man over--my taxi driver. The fare to the Bunratty Castle was a flat rate and during the trip, the driver told me about past and current economic conditions in Ireland and pointed out the number of trees which had been uprooted by a recent 'mini-hurricane').

Throughout the entire trip, I learned a lot and only have positive memories. Although I was on a fam. (travel agent jargon for familiarization), the itinerary wasn't exactly what I intend to offer for our tour, 'Irish Treasures'. However it's meant that I have a much better idea of our route and hotels where we will stay. In fact, while I was in Dublin, I visited four different hotels and decided on one which overlooks St. Stephen's Green. Also in Dublin, I also went to the yarn shop, called 'This is Knit' in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre in central Dublin. The owner Jackie has an excellent selection of yarn and books--a place we'll be visiting for sure. One evening I also went on a 'Dublin Literary Pub Crawl', another event I intend to repeat.

I just have to finalize a couple of details and then will be sending the information to my talented, long-suffering website guy. I can tell you it's been confirmed that Carol Feller will be meeting us at the wonderful country hotel, Ballymaloe, for workshops. Later in the tour, we'll also be staying at the Mustard Seed and Harvey's Point hotels.

This afternoon I walked the short distance from where I live to a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Rideau Canal. I'm happy to report that many people were skating and the ice condition still looked great. Canadians have our American friends to thank for the existence of the Canal.

For anyone who doesn't know the history: it was dug out by hand in the 1800's and extends from Ottawa (on the Ottawa River) to Kingston on the St. Lawrence River, and was built with many locks. At the time, Canada was a colony of Britain and our British masters were afraid the U.S. (relations weren't as amicable then) would take control of the St. Lawrence River from Montreal and there would be no way for shipping and communications to Toronto.

I took some photos but now can't figure out how to download them. Will get help!