August 31, 2014

Scotland Adventure Part 2: The Highlands

When we left Edinburgh we drove through the Highlands and eventually ended up in Glasgow.  I knew the Highlands would be beautiful but the views far surpassed my expectations.  Have a look:
St. Andrews Golf Course:  Swilcan Bridge

This is the view from the hotel we stayed in (see the sheep in the distance?  It
doesn't get better than that!)
Another view from our hotel

View from the Isle of Skye
View from a ferry as we returned from the Isle of Skye

The Clan Donald Skye Estate

We caught a glimpse of the infamous Jacobite Steam Train that runs an
84 mile round trip.

Eilean Donan Castle:  This is one of the many beautiful castles we saw.

We stopped in a small town called Carrbridge...Can you imagine living here and walking by this bridge everyday?

As we drove through parts of the Highlands we saw hikers walking along the West Highland Way.  Most people take about seven days to walk it.  It sounds like quite an adventure.

I couldn't get over how beautiful and serene the Highlands were...just miles of green, hills, mountains, farm, sheeps and cows.  What a different way of life these people have compared to the quick paced life many of us have in North America.  Yes Scotland, I will be back : )  Have I convinced you to go?

August 27, 2014

Scotland Adventure Part One: Edinburgh

We started our Scottish journey in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Church in Edinburgh Castle
The sound of bagpipes

This was a huge park full of putting husband wishes it was his backyard!

Holyrood Park:  we hiked up this hill and the views were spectacular

A view from the hill looking down at Holyrood Palace where Mary, Queen of Scots lived and where the Queen resides when she is in Edinburgh

Another view from the top of the hill

Walked to the top of Calton Hill and climbed up the Acropolis

Yes, I tried haggis...let's leave it at that!

Pubs on every street

Tea aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia 
(the yacht the Royal Family used for forty years before it was decommissioned)

Our favourite experience of the whole trip:  the Edinburgh Military Tattoo performed in front of Edinburgh castle.  The best show I have ever seen.

We had so much fun in Edinburgh, the sights were amazing....the beauty continued as we travelled through the Highlands....

August 24, 2014

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

We just returned from a family trip to Scotland and my family and I agree that this was the best trip we have ever taken.  Scotland was more beautiful than I had imagined.  We started our trip in Edinburgh, travelled through the Highlands as far as the Isle of Skye, and then ended up in Glasgow, before we reluctantly returned home. (There was even some sheep shearing involved!)   In my next blog I will post some pictures of the trip but in this one I wanted to write about The Great Tapestry of Scotland which is currently on display at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.  These 160 tapestry panels are freeze frames of the history of Scotland and were hand stitched by over one thousand volunteer stitchers, each one sharing a passion for Scottish history.  Each panel took over 400 hours and measures either 100 x 100 cm or 100 x 50cm.  To see them in person was amazing as the amount of detail in each panel was so impressive.  Of course I have to show you the pictures of the ones involving knitting!
Panel #126 Fair Isle Knitting

Panel #115 Shetland Knitters

And how about this one:
Panel #73

I have to admit I visited this free display more than once as it was so incredible.  This unique way of telling the story of a Scotland's history is one I will not soon forget.

August 11, 2014

Pebble Beach Shawlette

I really had high hopes that I would do a lot of knitting this summer but I haven't got as much done as I thought I would by this point.  One pattern I did finish and really enjoyed knitting was the Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart.  This pattern was the winner of the Unwind Brighton Design Competition in the U.K.  It uses just one skein of fingering weight yarn.  Here it is:
Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino Luxe in  Temperate

I was going to show you a picture of this shawl before it was blocked but I was so excited when I finished that I forgot to take a photo!  Using Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino Luxe really made this project special.  The variegation in it is so pretty and the yarn blocked beautifully. It is extremely soft and is the perfect size to wear (53" x 15").  I liked this pattern so much that I might make a bigger version.  The directions were very clear with stitch counts after each row which really helped keep things on course.  It was a lot of fun as far as shawl knitting goes and is a perfect pattern for a special skein of yarn.  You should check it out!  It's Woolercoaster approved : )

For more pattern notes see my project page.

August 3, 2014

Victoria Yarn Shops

I was fortunate enough during my visit to Vancouver to take a day trip to Victoria.  I could show you all the pictures of the lovely scenery I took that day but you can find much better pictures than mine on the internet!  What I would like to share with you yarn lovers out there are some photos I took of my favourite yarn stores that are located in the province's most beautiful capital city.  First up was Button & Needlework Boutique .  This lovely store carries a nice selection of yarn, pattern books, stitching products, buttons, and embroidery kits.  Some yarns you can find there are Swan's Fingering, Spud & Chloe, and Blue Sky Alpacas to name just a few.
Buttons & Needlework Boutique, Victoria

Patterns by Brooklyn Tweed & Knitbot

A good variety of yarns

Many stitching samples.  I just love this pillow.
A wall of embroidery yarn by Appleton

I stocked up on buttons for several planned cardigans that I hope to do this year.  It was very hard to choose as they had such a wide variety.

Then it was off to the Beehive Wool Shop.

Beehive Wool Shop, Victoria

This shop is excellent for many reasons.  First off they have many knitted samples of popular patterns. I don't know about you but I love to see how different yarn knits up before deciding which yarn I will invest in.  Secondly, the variety of yarn in all the different bases is one of the best I have seen.  I also really like that they featured many Canadian dyers such as Sweet Georgia Yarns, Sweet Fiber Yarns and Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, just to name a few.  The sales staff was very knowledgeable and willing to answer my questions, but also let me browse as long as I liked.

As soon as you walk in the door you see this stunning display using a variety of yarns. (By the way if anyone reading this wants to know a particular pattern's name I have that information!)

The yarn variety was wonderful:

Sweet Fiber Sweet Sock 

Sweet Georgia Silk Mist and Shibui Silk Cloud

Sweet Georgia Cashsilk Lace

Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts

Well stocked Brooklyn Tweed Loft & Shelter yarn
This is just a small cross-section of what is available.  The Beehive Wool Shop is the only Canadian store selling Brooklyn Tweed yarn and has made it available for order online which is great news for Canadian Brooklyn Tweed fans.

This shawl was one of my favourite samples.  It is a modified version of Viajante using only two skeins of Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock.  I would love a cardigan knit in this was beautiful.
Viajante in Sweet Fiber Sweet Sock in Verve
And then to top off my shopping experience, when I was paying for my purchases, I spotted the Brooklyn Tweed Winter '14 Trunk Show.  These are all the knitted samples from the beautiful Brooklyn Tweed Winter '14 LookBook, including the beautiful Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood.
Brooklyn Tweed Samples including the Channel Cardigan in Hayloft

It was a wonderful day and if you have never had the chance to visit Victoria I would highly recommend it.  There is so much to see and do including  Butchart Gardens, another favourite place of mine.

Good-bye Victoria I hope to see you soon.