beanie for wool week

58 days to go! 58 days until I climb aboard the ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick and head to my first ever Shetland Wool Week.

Let me take you back to the beginning.  Some time in 2018 I saw a link for the Loch Ness Knit Fest.  Since we used to have a house near Ardgay in Sutherland and been going to the Highlands since the heady days of the race to the last Ballachulish ferry (or the Glencoe Death Race as my mother called it) it didn’t take long to persuade Stuart that this would be the perfect birthday present.  And it was, we took a cottage just outside Dingwall, Bea and Eloise joined us for a couple of days up from Glasgow as did a friend heading home to Thurso from the south.  We revisited some old haunts and I had a whole day at the Loch Ness Knit Fest.

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A little purchase from Tine and Floyd at LNKF that became a fishing hat for Stuart.

Loch Ness Knit Fest is, imho, a standout amongst the many wool events sprouting up.  It’s not vast, but every stall is an interesting, independent supplier.  No big companies offloading unsold stock, or row after row of identical mass produced rubbish (Knitting and Stitching Fairs I am looking at you).  But real people with a passion to share, to talk and spread the wooly word.

The little things make the difference, plenty of places to sit, from tables to to big squishy sofas and chairs, homemade soup and cakes and a floor show from highland dancers and musicians to talks on sheep farming to spinning silk.

And it was here I discovered three new potential wooly destinations.  Shetland Wool Week, Prjónagleði – Iceland Knit Fest and Fanø Knit Festival in Denmark.  We had already had a holiday booked in Iceland in January, which provided for some serious wool research but did mean that punting for Prjónagleði was unlikely to be a goer.  A quick email to my Danish godmother and I had all the information I needed about Fanø together with the contact details of one of her friends who would be delighted to accompany me.

It helps to have a partner who is as obsessed with fishing as you are with wool if you want to tour some of the best yarn festivals.  So it was that we booked ourselves into a beautiful cottage in Sandwick,  and waited for the ferry timetable and festival tickets to be released.  Meanwhile Stuart researched fishing and made friends with the husband of a fellow knitter from Texas and sorted out several days of loch and seafish bothering.

Now the ferry is booked (hurry up LNER and release the October train tickets!), the workshops are booked, the birthday dinner is booked (The String) So it was time to get on and finish the Roadside Beanie, designed by Oliver Henry, this year’s wool week patron.

And I have,

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With a golden sun in the middle.

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And guess what … only 58 days to go!

Love Gillie x

 

 

 

 

baby camels and silk

This week I have been mostly frogging.  When you are knitting with lace-weight silk and baby camel hair yarn you don’t want mistakes.  Knitting with this yarn is like knitting with the dreams of baby fairies, it  makes cashmere feel like barbed wire and is quite frankly the stuff of which unicorn dreams are made.

camel and silk yarn

I’m sorry I can’t offer a touch and feel blog.  I’m sure that will be possible in time, meanwhile you will just have to take my word for it.  Or go to Dye Ninja and buy some for yourself.  Hand dyed bliss from Livingston.

I didn’t go to Livingston to get mine, I went to Inverness.  For my birthday the Boss took me to a lovely cosy cabin on the Beauly Firth and sent me to the Loch Ness Knit Fest.  Seriously, how good can a guy be at present buying?  Two of the daughters (Medic 1 and the Rock Geek) joined us as did a friend travelling home to Thurso from Ayrshire.  And of course Poppy came too.  She spent the week making friends, particularly on the train.  She is quite the seasoned train traveller now.

Poppy

LNKF was the bees knees.  It wasn’t huge, but every single stall was interesting and had something worth stopping for.  Lots of hand dyers (oh my the colours ….), spinners, unusual yarns (camel of course, but have you tried husky hair?)  But what really singled it out was the knitting hub.  It was big, it was comfortable with big tables and chairs and big squishy sofas and a splendid stage with live music, talks, demonstrations.  I sat and knitted and made lots of new friends from Denmark, from Birmingham, from the West Country.

It is a rather splendid fact that the best yarn festivals are held in places where the fishing is excellent.  Hence the enthusiasm of the Boss to join me at Shetland Wool Week, possibly the Iceland Wool Festival and maybe even Farnøstrik .  Lucky girl!

love gillie x