Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Grand Adventure - Glasgow

I've been having a hard time knowing where to start with this account of my fabulous trip. A blog post simply can't do it justice. Partly because that overwhelmed feeling has not left me. The trip was just THAT good. And partly because I didn't bring my "good" camera, which I now regret. I can't help but feel that my photos don't accurately capture the beauty of the places I saw. The photos I took with the ipad I borrowed turned out really quite awful, but the ones taken with my sister's small point-and-shoot were decent once I sharpened them up a bit. (Luckily, many of my Shetland traveling companions were accomplished photographers armed with the right gear. I highly suggest you visit Kathy's Instagram and Lori's blog and Instagram to see some amazing pictures of Shetland.)

I'll start at the beginning, and do my best to give you a glimpse into my grand summer adventure.

As you can imagine, there is no direct flight to remote Shetland, and so my first stop was a quick 24 hours in Glasgow. I was extremely jet-lagged when I arrived early on a Friday morning after a sleepless red-eye, so my impressions of Glasgow are a bit blurry. I basically jumped on a hop-on hop-off bus and tried (sometimes in vain) not to nod off! Here's a bit of what I managed to see:

George square, where my hotel was, and one of the hubs of the Commonwealth Games which started the day I arrived. Glasgow was simply teeming with people!

Hop on the bus and try to stay awake!

The weather was glorious, and unexpectedly HOT, which I was not prepared for clothing-wise. Even the Glaswegians seemed shocked by the good weather.

The Tolbooth steeple, built in 1625-26, is a remnant of the old Glasgow Chambers building. This impressive sight is one of the few remaining medieval buildings in the city (it's also where they used to hang people, as our tour guide pointed out with grim glee).

Looks like Dr. Who was in town for the games!

Glasgow Science Centre. If you look closely you'll see that there are some brave (crazy?) people scaling the spine of the building.

McLennan Arch, at the entrance of Glasgow Green, the oldest park in the city established in the 15th century.

 Italia statue atop the Italian Centre in the merchant city area.  

A statue of St. Mungo, Glasgow's patron saint, tucked into a niche above the Savings Bank Building.

And here's Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St. Mungo's Kirk. St. Mungo (aka St. Kentigern) performed 4 miracles in Glasgow, one of which involves a fairly convoluted story about an adulterous queen and a golden ring in the belly of a fish... The saint also brought a robin back to life and reignited a holy fire by blowing on a hazel branch. You can more about his mysterious deeds here.

I wish I could have spent more time in this cool, friendly place. I definitely want to heed the invitation to "haste ye back" and explore more of what Glasgow had to offer, especially Kelvingrove, the Necropolis, and the Gallery of Modern Art.

Soraidh Glasgow!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Still unpacking…

I’ve been back a few days, and I’m still making sense of the wonderful experiences I’ve had over the last few weeks. How does one “unpack” the rich treasures that such a trip brings: the lovely new friends, the wonderful experiences, the breathtaking sights, the decadent accommodations, the complete freedom and delight of being fully engaged in a wooly world…? Never mind sorting out the laundry, the photos, the yarn! It’s a bit of a shock to the system coming back to work obligations, house-cleaning and heart-breaking headlines. I’m taking things slow…

This weekend I plan on:
 - sorting out some of my photos to show you glimpses of Shetland and Iceland
- soaking up as much time as possible with my dearly-missed husband and friends
- wrapping myself up in my brand new Icelandic-yarn shawl (it’s surprisingly cold here!)
- going to the farmer’s market, and eating as many veggies as I can stuff into my face (the price of produce in Iceland was MIND-BLOWINGlY expensive!!!)
- Look through my cookbooks for a nice tea cake recipe

What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Madder Anthology 1 samples

I'm sure many of you have seen Carrie Bostick Hoge's gorgeous new collection, Anthology 1 (slideshow of the collection is here). To say that I love everything about this would be an understatement. The patterns, the styling, the photography, the colour palette, it's all perfect. I knit 2 samples for Carrie:

The Sibella cardigan

Photo courtesy of Carrie Bostick Hoge

Photo courtesy of Carrie Bostick Hoge

The Beatrice cardigan

Photo courtesy of Carrie Bostick Hoge

Photo courtesy of Carrie Bostick Hoge

Photo courtesy of Carrie Bostick Hoge

Both have that exquisite marriage of simplicity and femininity that Carrie is famous for. Of course I want to knit them again for me.

Perhaps when I get back from my trip. Only 1 more sleep before I leave. Eeeep!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My church

Sunday morning has always been a favourite time of mine to take a walk in the forest. To me, it's the perfect place to centre myself and connect. Sadly, I haven't been able to get out much so far this summer. Several weeks ago, I slipped and fell down our stairs and partially tore a ligament in my knee (goodbye fall marathon). Lots and lots of physio ensued. It was really tough being "good" and staying off the biking, running and hiking trails. I finally got the ok from my physiotherapist the other day to test my knee out on a modest (but oh so pretty) hiking trail. I was very relieved to find out that I should be perfectly fine to wander around the beautiful Shetland and Iceland landscape. Phew!

It's as if the forest knew I had been longing to see her. She put on quite a show for me.

This underpass always makes me think of the Hobbit.

Everything smelled so fresh and green.

Looks like this White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) had a lucky escape

Unfortunately this little guy did not.

Look at those incredible digging hands! I think this is Parascalops breweri, the Hairy-tailed mole. I wonder what happened to it? I could not see any obvious signs of injury.

Some sort of Fleabane.

Hello Daddy Longlegs.

I was so excited to see this White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) that I didn't think to switch the camera to auto-zoom. This was the best pic in the bunch.

Maidenhair fern, Andiantum pedatum, one of my favourite woodland plants

Rubus odoratus,
Purple-flowered raspberry.

 Anemone virginiana, Thimbleweed.

??? (note to self: buy a mushroom identification guide!)

What's this odd creature? I think it's the rare Coco knittyanus.

That was SO refreshing!

Ok now, back to my to-do list.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beautiful Bairn

Here's one of the epic samples I was telling you about. Several months ago I knit Bairn, a yummy blanket design by the brilliant Julie Hoover.

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

Mmmm.... cables in charcoal grey.... you can imagine I was all over that!

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

I love the rich red version too.

The blanket was part of an absolutely charming kids collection by Brooklyn Tweed. Oh these people know how to do it right. And speaking of charming, did you see the sweet "behind the scenes" video they made of the photo shoot?

Highlight for me was seeing Jared having a dance-off with the cutest little boy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bressay in progress

With only 18 days left before I leave for my Shetland trip, it's going to be a race for the finish on my Bressay dress. I've been extremely busy with EPIC samples (which I can't wait to show you) but now, it's all about trying to get my dress done so I can match this lovely lady (you must check out her FO blog post, the pictures are just magical!)

If I run out of time, this might end up being a tunic rather than a dress... We'll just have to wait and see. This weekend is all about miles of stockinette and Wimbledon nail-biting (sad about Genie, but go Fed!!!!)

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Halligarth, a sample for Wool People 7

Whoa, two blog posts in a week — careful not to fall off your chair!

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood

This beautiful thing is Halligarth, a shawl pattern designed by Gudrun Johnston for the latest Wool People collection, from Brooklyn Tweed. I knit the smaller beige sample.

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood

It's one of those lace projects that look impressive and difficult but is in fact easy and fun to knit. I definitely have plans to make one for myself. I think it would be heavenly in pale grey. Other things I'd like to knit from the collection: everything! Ok, if I had to choose a few, I'd go with Ivar, Merle, and Natsumi, in the exact same colours featured in the photos. I tell you, they know what they're doing, these wool people!

Photo courtesy of Jared Flood

On a side note, I've seen a lot of positive talk about the use of a gorgeous silver-haired model in this collection. I too am a fan, and dream of a day that this is no longer an extraordinary event but the norm in the media (and hoping too that we'll see a better representation of different body shapes, cultures, abilities, gender expressions etc...)

Now wouldn't that be lovely?