Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm still here

Gosh, has it really been that long since I last posted?! My intention was to post during our Viking Tour but unfortunately, internet connection was virtually non existent on the ship and (again) I got out of the habit of updating my blog.

I enjoyed our travels in May very much. As with many endeavours, it wasn't without its ups and downs: for instance when a number of us got caught in the results of the Icelandair pilots' strike on our way to Norway. This meant unexpected travel to a number of European airports before we could reach our first destination, Bergen. I liked our ship, the MS Fram--accommodation was comfortable and the ports of call interesting. I also liked the fact that there was a relatively small passenger component--don't think I would want to go on anything larger. Our group found a comfortable place to sit and knit while we were at sea. In fact, unbeknownst to us, we garnered a fair amount of attention. 

At the end of the cruise, we were asked by a member of the crew to display our knitting in the lounge and were astounded (at least I was) by the amount of interest shown by the crew, even the captain, and the other passengers. I think that's a characteristic of knitters--we think that because we can do it, that everyone else can too.  I was hoping that there would be a mention and photos of this event on the ship's blog. Unfortunately, there were no postings for the last two days of this particular sailing. 

I leave for Scotland very shortly, on the 16th and last Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour. I never could have imagined when I planned and escorted the first tour in 1996, that it would be so enduring. I'll miss the annual visits to the wonderful people I've met on the Scottish islands, but I don't plan to stop travelling--it's just that I will no longer be offering formal tours.

I have decided not to offer a second Irish Treasures tour. The first tour is now full and I am looking forward to travelling with many old friends on that special itinerary. 

Even though I haven't been posting to my blog, I still read the many emails which I receive each day. It was interesting to read what Shetland was like earlier this week during the Summer Solstice--known there as the Simmer Dim. Andy Ross of Yell posted a photo taken at midnight. I have been on Shetland at this particular date and can attest, that is exactly the way it is. http://www.globalyell.org/blog/simmerdim

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Knitter, Scottish Skeins and Skerries Tour, Needle Arts Book Shop

I must have had a lot of time before the internet came into widespread usage, as I certainly spend a lot of time at the computer now. There is so much going on, that I don't know how I'll ever manage to keep up! So that people aren't overwhelmed, I'll add some of recent news.

ellI did find a copy of The Knitter, issue 70, but just in time to get an email from the publisher that Issue 71 is now available in the U.K. I haven't had the time to read this issue thoroughly, however I wasn't surprised to see an article entitled "Take a trip to Shetland". It's good to see this special place getting the attention it deserves.  The Knitter June 2014 Magazine

I hope that anyone who would like to join us in July, will come on the 16th Scottish Skeins and Skerries Tour. We have several places left-- don't miss out as the tour will not be offered next year. The trip information is on my website: www.joycejamestours.com.

I received an email from Marsha White of the Needle Arts Book Shop. www.Needle Arts Book Shop.com   In addition to the wide variety of books which she stocks, Marsha has started a virtual knitting museum, http://www.knittingmuseum.com/ It's a beautiful site and well worth spending the time to read thoroughly. 

Andy Ross of Yell is still as busy as ever. There was a lot of news in his most recent post, but the one which caught my eye was about a post open for a Knitter in Residence at Glasgow University. www.globalyell.org.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mark your calendars.....Shetland Wool Week; Black Water Abbey Yarns

For anyone who is planning, even thinking about going to Shetland Wool Week 2014, ticket sales for classes and other events will open on Monday, 28 April. Bookings will be taken through the Shetland Box Office from 10:00 a.m., local time in Shetland. (In Ottawa where I live, EDT time is five hours behind Shetland.)

The details for the festival from 04 to 12 October are now available--they are too numerous to list here. You can learn about them at: http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/

I received Clara Parkes, Knitter's Review newletter this week. It is a newsletter which I'm happy to see in my inbox--find that I always learn something and it isn't a waste of time. In this issue Clara profiles in depth the Irish yarns of Black Water Abbey. I was pleased to see them getting the attention they deserve. I hope you'll read about them yourself: http://www.knittersreview.com/article_yarn.asp?article=/review/product/140424_a.asp

I've made arrangements with Marilyn King, the hard working and very pleasant owner of the yarn company, to supply the yarns for Carol Feller's workshop during our Irish Treasures tour. https://www.abbeyyarns.com/fork-in-the-road.php

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Knitting Traditions; News from Yell; Shetland Guild

I bought a copy of the Spring issue of Knitting Traditions yesterday and read it from cover to cover. The first article I looked for was by Hazel Tindall. It was about her late mother Chrissie Sandison. What a difficult life Shetlanders had. In addition there are articles and patterns about Sanquhar gloves; the Unst Heritage Centre and a previously unknown box of knitting; Welsh socks; Haapsalu knitting from Estonia; even Cowichan sweaters from British Columbia; and much more-----a great issue.

Andy Ross from Yell sent his newsletter. http://www.globalyell.org/textiles (I've added the textile website--it shows what is accomplished at this centre, located on a lonely bit of Yell.) He noted a number of books which he'd received as a donation. I see that among the selection was a copy of a book I used to have, but gave away as a prize in a competition-- thinking I could easily get a replacement but woefully, no. Apparently, it is out of print and virtually unavailable.

I received the April newsletter from the Shetland Guild. As in the past, it was full of news of past activities and future plans. Just to mention a few items: Shetland Wool Week is coming up in six months time, and there is already an enthusiastic response to the activities. The Guild will be involved in this event again. Fortunately, the Guild has also been able to get funding for a project to interview and record the voices of Shetland knitters. (That would be a treat, to hear that gentle Shetland accent again.)

I was pleased to note that our July 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries' tour is scheduled in their calendar for another visit. Always a treat for our travellers.

Please note: the Guild also has a Facebook page and is on Ravelry. In both cases, look for:Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers & Dyers.

Also heard from a contact in Iceland to let me know that she won't be able to respond to a request today. Apparently the 24 April is designated the first day of summer in Iceland and it's a national holiday. Sounds like a good idea!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

60 North, Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour, The Knitter, Shawl designs

When I mentioned 60 North in the previous post, I hadn't read through it thoroughly and thus given it the time the publication deserved. This is an especially interesting issue--in addition to the chapter about Shetland knitting and Wool Week 2013, you'll find a wide variety of articles. I hope you'll take some time to read them. www.shetland.org.

As anyone who knows me is aware, Shetland is one of my favourite destinations. The articles made me look forward even more to our July visit to this special place, during this year's Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour. www.joycejamestours.com.

Actually, I will be on Shetland and other ports in Scotland during next month's Viking Journey trip. In addition to good memories of sailing on another Hurtigruten itinerary and ship, I chose this one because of the many ports which are rarely offered in one sailing.

I did take out a subscription to my favourite knitting magazine, The Knitter, however was told that it wouldn't start until Issue #72, the July issue. I'll have to make sure I time my visits to my local magazine store so that I don't miss an issue in the interim. This is the cover of the current issue.

The Knitter The Knitter Cover
Currently, I've  been concentrating on the tour to Ireland, starting in late September, and I came across the names of two patterns for shawls which were on display in the Dublin yarn shop, 'This is Knit'. The helpful shop assistant wrote down the names and told me they are both available on Ravelry. One is called 'Sunlight Shawl' by Sylvia Bo Bilvia; and the other is Color Affection, designed by Veera Valimaki.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nancy Bush, Shilasdair, 60 North

On Monday evening of this week, I went to the April meeting of the Ottawa Knitting Guild. (Our newsletter is called The Tangled Skein and is edited by a very talented young woman, who not only has a young, active family, but also knits prodigiously and has had some of her designs published. (Note to myself: what do I do with my time!?)

The guest speaker this evening was Nancy Bush, so there was a large-sized crowd there. Although, saying that, most meetings are well attended. As many knitters know, Nancy's primary interest is Estonian knitting and she had a number of slides plus examples of Estonian knitting. Nancy had been in Ottawa for the past three days, giving a well-attended series of workshops.

Earlier today I received a link to a website: www.theskyeshilasdairshop.co.uk/index.html .(Thanks Kathi) Looking at the website reminded me of when we used to visit Eva Lambert at Shilasdair on the Isle of Skye. Unfortunately I had to drop the Isle of Skye from our itinerary a number of years ago--it just became too difficult to work around the travel logistics. However, our visit to Eva Lambert was always a highlight and although the shop appears to have a new owner, Eva is still involved.

We will be able to visit the shop next month when the MS Fram docks at Portree during our Viking Cruise. I phoned the shop to find out how long we should allow to travel from the dock to Shilasdair. (I was told just 30 mins.) It was also advised that we/I should book a taxi or two (or more) ahead of time. Will do!

I've also received the Spring edition of 60 North about Shetland. There is a lot of interest inside the magazine but I think for knitters the article which they will especially enjoy is the write up about the activities of Shetland Wool Week 2013. Download a PDF version - 15mb

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:  http://tomofholland.com/2014/03/01/exploring-mary-walker-phillips/. Wait, there's more: http://tomofholland.com/2014/04/11/knitsonik-blog-tour-part-1/.

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