Catherine has joined me in Scotland! Of course, her holiday here ‘coincidentally’ coordinated with Shetland Wool Week…
We spent the week in an Airbnb in Lerwick, after the overnight ferry ride from Aberdeen. This meant we had a good base in which to cosily knit and watch Downton Abbey! I didn’t do many classes during the week – I didn’t feel that my knitting skills were up to many of them, although I would have loved to have tried a beginners brioche class.
We went to a brilliant enamelling class though, with a local Shetlander Helen Robertson. The day started with learning the basics and making a big button, then we made a shawl pin, a little box for stitch markers, and six small buttons. Helen’s mother Joan was there and cooked us a tasty lunch, as well as supplying us with endless tea and homemade shortbread!
On Thursday night we headed to the Shetland Textile Museum for a talk on Victoria Gibson – a talented knitwear designer who settled on Shetland. I wasn’t, to be honest, expecting much. But our host Lizzie was exuberant, interesting, and had a thorough and entertaining knowledge of Gibson’s design, business, and home life.
I was particularly inspired by Gibson’s fading technique. She would use three strands of yarn in knitting, and introduce one yarn of the new colour at a time, to ensure a subtle fade. There was one rainbow jumper on display which showed this to great effect – brilliant, bright, contrasting colours without any jarring transitions.
I’m sure Catherine will have more to say about Victoria Gibson and Lizzie’s fantastic exhibition, so I’ll move on to what we’re really here for…the haul!
Everyone at Wool Week was wearing the official wool week knitting pattern – the Bousta Beanie designed by Gudrun Johnston. I hadn’t even bothered trying to knit this, having never attempted two strand colourwork before. But over the course of the week I fell in love with everyone’s beanies and the beautiful colour combinations…and then I saw this book…
And, I went a bit wild…
First on my needles has been the Barley mittens from Knitting From the North, made up in Mermaid and Natural White (not pictured). I’ve actually already had to frog these and restart – remember to check Ravelry pages for these projects. The 80 stitch cast-on was huge! The colour work pattern is actually fairly instinctive, however, so otherwise I’m not struggling.
Early on, we went to Jamieson and Smith out of town, and I fell in love with this beautiful Aran weight yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners, made from Shetland wool. Catherine very kindly bought me a skein. I thought and thought about what I wanted to knit. I didn’t want to spend months and months wrapping my head around another jumper pattern, but I also didn’t want to knit yet another little hat. One night I was snuggled up in my mother’s shawl – and I had a brainwave. What better than a cushy, cosy, big shawl to wrap up in at the cinema or when out at the pub?
I’ve decided to make the same pattern as Catherine, the Gryer by Isabell Kraemer. I’m letting myself play around with the stripe and eyelet pattern, however, and using the pattern mostly as a guide.
I also chose a selection of 2 ply jumper weight yarn from Jamieson & Smith, to have a play with some intarsia knitting. At the Shetland Textile Museum there was a beautiful long cardigan with an art nouveau floral motif knitted in intarsia. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo, but I have got a vibrant Pinterest board (ever expanding!) dedicated to knitwear you can check out…I’m hoping to make a scarf using this yarn, just to get a bit of practice and play around with the colours.
Wish me luck! Will you be at any crafty festivals over the next year? Please give me some suggestions in the comments below! I’m hoping to make Edinburgh Yarn Festival again in 2018 – will you be there?
Happy crafting! xxH