One Weekend- Two Festivals!

Having lived in Saudi for 28 years and missed out on the opportunity to enjoy lots of events I feel we are well and truly making up for lost time! This weekend was certainly an example of this. Having read about the  Inverness Lochness International Knit Festival  way back in spring I made it a definite must do on the calendar. I decided to go for the day on Friday and also take in Ruth Black’s presentation – Pictish Designs in Feltmaking.

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Nessie welcome at Eden Court.

It was so inspiring looking around the Crafting area and Marketplace.

 

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2 of Di Gilpin‘s knits.

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Danish designer Christel Seyfarth‘s beautiful, colourful wrap. Her knit fest in Denmark had been the inspiration for this one.

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Newcomer to the scene and their first ever showing- North Child.

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Meeting Philip Paris the author of the new novel ‘Casting Off’.

But one knitted item took me by surprise.

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My paternal grandmother’s gansey, knitted for my uncle James.
Moray Firth Gansey Project had a stand and I was instantly drawn to this gansey. The label was tucked behind so it was only when I pulled it forward that I realised it was one of my grandmother’s!
So all in all I had a really good time.
Leaving Inverness behind it was an hour’s drive to Ullapool to go to the Loopallu Music Festival. We had heard a lot about it but hadn’t expected to get there this year until a week ago our usual B&B phoned to say they had a vacancy. Luckily, we were able to get Festival tickets so suddenly we were to be festival goers!!

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The setting and the weather were terrific.

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The campsite was mobbed!

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An excellent 12 year old drummer standing in for the usual drummer who was ill. The group were Davy and the Hosebeast!

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Other bands that were a bit more familiar to me were- The Stranglers, The Wonder Stuff, Hunter and the Bear, The Selecter, Rhythm’n’Reel and Manran. As well as playing in the main tent and the ceilidh tent/beer tent there were band in 6 of the pubs in the village. A really good mix of genres too- with the Ullapool Pipe Band kicking off the whole proceedings on Friday afternoon.

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Blessed with a lovely evening.

However, I was still on the lookout for colourful knitwear!

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The village of Ullapool.

I have visited Ullapool many times and it always seems to come up with one more reason to make it one of my favourite places. This weekend certainly confirmed it.

Knitted Jumper.

August was Archaeology month for me. I spent most of it digging- but that’s not what I wanted to share today!

However, it was at one of the digs that I met a Finnish student. One day she appeared wearing this stunning jumper.

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When I asked her about it she told me someone had knitted it for her mother a long time ago. I’m assuming it’s an Icelandic Lopi style pattern. Lovely to see it is still being loved by the next generation.

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I love the way the knitter has also added the colours used for the yoke as dots throughout the rest of the jumper. I have no idea if this was part of the pattern being followed or a creative innovation of their own. I remember these Icelandic jumpers being very popular in the 70’s and a few of my friends knitted them but never in such a colourful, individual way!

Big Knitting!

A year ago I visited a delightful wool shop in Aberlour called Three Bags Wool Three Bags Wool and saw these giant-sized knitting needles!

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Instead of knitting normal yarn the owner had sourced tweed/blanket off cuts from the local woollen mills to use. I was ‘in love’ with the novel idea and just had to get some.

My first project was to knit some seat pads for our garden chairs. All went well but the weather was not very encouraging so 3 and a half pads later the project found itself stashed in favour of my ever favourite sock knitting.

Last week the sun shone and the garden furniture came out of the shed and I unearthed the seat pads. Great as long as there was only 3 of us. Re-newed enthusiasm and the 4th is now complete. Here are two on the garden bench, all set for a wee sundowner at the weekend.

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They were very comfy.

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And the sundowners were very enjoyable too!

 

 

 

Inherited WIP.

As if I didn’t have enough WIP’s I have now inherited a nearly finished sock!

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On the way back from Islay a few weeks ago I was passing  the time on the ferry by knitting a sock. A new friend saw me and was delighted to find someone who knitted with 4 needles. She had recently been helping to clear out a woman’s house who had died and found the WIP. Originally, she had thought to try to finish the socks herself and then donate them to charity. Not being much of a knitter when she saw me knitting I provided a solution to getting the socks finished! I agreed to give it a try.

Last  weekend I saw her again and was greeted with ‘I’ve got the knitting, if you’d still like it!’

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I was relieved to see it came with a knitting book which I assumed contained the pattern.

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It appeared that the socks were to be a pair of Men’s Ribbed Golf Socks, but when I read over the pattern and compared it to the already knitted sock the original knitter had made a modification to the look. Not only had she decided to knit the turnover top with a contrasting band but she had also changed it to include cables.

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So just a wee bit of extra thought and working out to do, then!!

Hopefully my tension won’t be drastically different, but as I usually knit using the European way I’ll have to change to the British way to finish the sock.

Anyway, nothing ventured as they say!

I’m not sure when I’ll see my friend again but hopefully I’ll be able to present her with a completed pair of socks by then.

One Mitten Done!

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Yay!! one mitten completed:) It’s been 9 days since I started but it didn’t really take that long. I’ve also been working on a pair of socks which are almost finished. I just can’t let the sock knitting go!

For the observant this mitten is knitted in 2 parts. The first being the plain band around the fingers. For this it was necessary to do a provisional cast on. I have absolutely no memory of ever knitting anything where I had to do this before (I’ve obviously let a sheltered knitting existence!). Luckily, when I entered the term into Google there was a wealth of experienced knitters willing to share their knowledge including quite a few on U-tube. Here is the one I chose https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7OwOpC6CY. It was easy to follow and I’ve just used it again for the second mitten.

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Once the band has been done it’s just a matter of joining it together using the Kitchener stitch which I’m only too familiar with having knitted all those socks. After picking up the stitches for the main part it’s my favourite ‘knitting in the round’ method with a little shaping for the thumb.

With the way the weather has turned ‘drench’ (wet) and cold I certainly think I’ll get plenty of opportunity to wear them once I’ve finished the second one.

New month,new project.

I’ve really got back into knitting in the last few years but seem to have got ‘stuck in a rut’ of knitting socks! I still really enjoy knitting them and they are a great project to do whilst watching T.V. as I don’t need an awful lot of concentration.

However, I picked up this lovely yarn from a 2 for 1 basket a few months ago.

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A very pleasant hour was spent browsing the patterns in Ravelry and I’ve settled on a pair of fingerless mitts by Tante Ehm which can be found at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tante-ehm

It seems like I might only require one of the hanks of yarn so I’ll be able to either make a pair of mitts for a friend or…..

Now to search out the needles and get started:)

 

 

Knitting Yarns not knitting yarns!!!

My goodness it has been a while! I’d like to be able to say that it’s because I’ve been deeply involved with my knitting but although I’ve been managing a wee bit of knitting regularly I seem to have been involved with all sorts of other things- archaeology digs, charity coffee mornings, gardening, jaunts and making a start on my new OU course about Roman and Greek Myth. As usual I had great plans to blog about some of my adventures but …..ah…well… I shouldn’t make excuses….it just didn’t happen.

Anyway, for any fellow knitters out there I just wanted to share this lovely book I am reading at the moment titled ‘Knitting Yarns’ edited by Ann Hood.

A great read.

A great play on words and a really enjoyable collection of stories related to knitting. I found myself relating to some of the tales told by the various writers who are also knitters as well as thinking anew about myself and my knitting experiences.

And as a real bonus 5 knitting patterns by Helen Bingham are included for free 🙂 As if my wish list of knitting projects isn’t long enough I’ve now added at least 3 of these to it.

Not A Highland Games!!!

And there was me thinking I’d be writing about a Highland Games next. How could I have forgotten about The Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival when I come from a seafaring background and heritage!

Portsoy is an old fishing village on the north-east coast of Scotland with a picturesque 17th century harbour. The construction of the harbour walls is unusual as they were constructed with vertical stone rather than horizontal. Since 1994 it has been the venue for  an annual boat festival. In the past I have tended to miss it because I was never home on holiday from Saudi at the right time. Not any more!

Traditional boats in the harbour.

Traditional boats in the harbour.

Of course there a variety of boats to be seen.

Boats of yesteryears -big and small!

Boats old and new – big and small!

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Coracles drying.

Coracles.

Coracles.

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Music of all kinds -nautical, folk and pop.

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A chance to ‘have a go’.

The ‘culture tent’ focussed on the similarities and differences between Norwegian and Scottish fishing folk lifestyles.

A part of the Norwegian display.

A part of the Norwegian display.

The typical Scottish fisherfolk diet.

The typical Scottish fisherfolk diet.

But it was disappointing to see that the British jumper for sale was from Guernsey and not a local Gansey.

What no Ganseys!

What no Ganseys!

Not everything was sea related.

This miniature bus taking children around the village made me smile.

Cute miniature bus.

Cute miniature bus.

Earlier in the year I heard that there was a doubt that the Boat Festival would run this year. I’m so glad that it did as I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Ganseys.

One of my lasting memories of my maternal grandmother is that she was always ‘wyvin’ -or in English knitting. And the garments that were always on her ‘wires’ or knitting needles were Ganseys-  patterned fishing jumpers. My father and uncles were fishermen so she always had someone to appreciate her knitting. Despite this she found time to knit for other people who were not so skilled in the art of the Gansey. She never used a pattern and used to mix and match ideas from other jumpers she had seen. Using 4 shiny, silver, metal, double-pointed needles always looked a dangerous procedure to my young eyes. Added to this she wore a knitting sheath/belt where she stabbed one of the needles into, to take the weight of the Gansey whilst she knitted. Each time she thrust the needle into the belt I could hardly believe she hadn’t done herself an injury!

After my grandmother died in 1993 I don’t think I ever saw anyone knit a Gansey again. The fishing industry had declined and the younger fishermen bought ready made clothing (perhaps their womenfolk had other things to do with their time?).

This week the Gansey came into my life again when I read that there was an exhibition in The Maritime Museum in Aberdeen of Ganseys. I just had to go!

2 Ganseys.

2 Ganseys.

One style of neck detail.

One style of neck detail.

Pattern detail.

Pattern detail.

More Ganseys.

More Ganseys.

i am so happy that this skilful art has been recognised and examples saved for posterity. But even better The Moray Firth Gansey Project has not only made more people aware of this knitting heritage but has also encouraged knitters to keep the art alive and evolve new ways to use the patterns like this ladies jumper by knitwear designer, Di Gilpin.

Jumper by Di Gilpin.

Jumper by Di Gilpin.

I also got a lovely surprise to see that 2 of the Ganseys were credited to Mrs. Isabella Stewart- my grandmother!

A new knitting project- Slippers.

On a recent trip to the Lake District I was charmed by the endearing Herdwick lambs. Sadly, the wool from the sheep is too coarse for knitting but in a shop dedicated to sheep things I found some lovely 100% British Wool called Herdy. I just had to have some as a momento of my trip.

Herdwick sheep and lambs.

Returning home I had a pair of socks for my niece’s fiancé to finish before I could get to ‘play’ with my new wool. A few months ago I printed off a free Ravelry pattern for slippers using chunky wool so decided to try it out with my Herdy wool. After trying 3 different sizes of needles I still couldn’t get the gauge right so had a few brain aches trying to work out the correct number of stitches. The first slipper was slow going due to having to make adjustments but the second was ‘a breeze’. I’m thrilled with my finished slippers and my mother has already hinted at a pair which I’m more than happy to knit for her. There is more than enough wool left for her pair too.

Herdy slippers.

The original pattern can be found at http://www.Ravelry.com and is called Non-felted slippers by Yuko Nakamura Designs