Monday, August 30, 2010

Lindisfarne to Iona

The wool I blogged earlier this month was bought while on holiday in Scotland. And then I bought some more, also 'local', also undyed.

On the first full day of our stay in Scotland, we went to Lindisfarne, and on the last full day we went to Iona. We didn't go to the abbey in either place (to be saved for another trip): and although the two islands are on the opposite coasts of the UK, the monastery at Lindisfarne was founded by St. Aidan from Iona.

Lindisfarne is cut off by the tide for a few hours at the time, and we thought we'd have time to walk round the entire island. We didn't: the walking guide said allow three hours for a three mile walk and this was surprisingly accurate, but it didn't tell us about the nasty spiky seed heads that caught onto trousers (jeans were OK) and spiked through onto the unhappy teenager. I made my first crafty purchase, a small cross stitch kit of a celtic cross. It came from a shop called Celtic Crafts, which was mainly a gift shop with a few small cross-stitch kits. It was small, but also covered with backstitch. I completed it during the holiday, and took photos at the nunnery on Iona.


We weren't staying at Lindesfarne, but in Coldstream, within a mile of the border with England. However, we went from there to Edinburgh a couple of times, and saw several shows at the Fringe. I went to K1 Yarns, a nice little yarn shop, but nothing tempted me there. Another shop which might interest craft-bloggers was the Grassmarket Embroidery Shop, a few minutes walk from K1, at the far end of the Grassmarket. It had a somewhat intimidating display of work in the window, and when I went in, there were racks of embroidery threads and other materials. The shop keeper was friendly and in the back room were some kits. However if you wanted to design your own work, this was the place to go.

Halfway through our trip, we drove to Loch Awe. We actually went through Stirling on the Saturday of UK Knit Camp and Ravelry Weekend 2010, but we didn't stop. We had a long drive to the banks of Loch Awe and the remote holiday cottage we were staying in.

We did various touristy things: a day in Oban, where I bought my First Yarn in Ages. It came from a croft (I think) a little way north of Oban.

On the last day we had a coach trip to Iona. We went from Oban by ferry, then a coach took us across the Isle of Mull, before another ferry took us the short distance to Iona. We walked to the end of the Island, and stared at the Atlantic.

Then back to the village, where I photographed my completed cross-stitch in the nunnery. We looked in the little gift shops, and I was unable to resist it: more new wool, a beautiful, soft, snowy-white ball of shetland, spun on Mull - we had passed the mill on the coach.

Having missed the Ravelry day in Stirling, I also missed the Festival of Quilts - even though we drove through Birmingham on the appropriate day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I bought wool today

The last time I bought yarn of any sort was January 2nd 2009.

It wasn't even for me: a ball of blue yarn in the sale, to make a phone case for my daughter, and a ball of red Debbie Bliss something-expensive to make an iPod case for the same daughter.

Then in an effort to use up some of my stash, I stopped buying yarn. (Only yarn, not material, not embroidery stuff, not patterns.) It was a challange to myself to avoid buying yarn for a year.

It was hard to begin with, the aching desire to buy something, anything just to own something new. (A whole year - how could I do it?) But I struggled through.

By the time, a year had passed, I'd got used to not buying any yarn. It annoyed me as well, that I'd bought wool at the start of January, so my year of not buying was oddly offset. I continued to not-buy-yarn until it became so long since I had bought something that the next thing I bought would be The First Yarn in Ages. It would have to be something worthy, something special, and nothing was quite that good enough, until today.

A single skein of Hebridean aran-weight undyed wool, slightly scratchy, but it will be warm, and comforting, and will be an accent in something, as yet unthought of. A souvenir, a special skein. Newly bought wool.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Crafting in August

Progress made on Pax Vobiscum and Concentric Oblongs.

Summit had a bit of a hitch. I got to the end of the first ball and discovered that my other ball wasn't the same. Where the first had all been fairly muted changes, the second had darker darks and lighter lights. After some thought, I realised there was nothing much I could do about, and got knitting.

Unfortunately, a dark stripe appeared at the boundary between the two balls: the repeat in the yarn colours was just the same frequency as each little segment. I carried on for a while, but this bugged me more and more, until I could stand it no more and ripped back to where the new ball started. So now I am doing something complex, involving restarting the knitting using yarn from partway into the ball, and knitting towards the end, and then hopefully being able to continue at the partway point. It's too complicated to explain in words, but I'm just hoping it works, or it will be frogpool time again.