post script to travel part 2

what knitting to take on a trip when you are a knitter

1.something on the needles

2. something to cast onaskew

3.NOTHING ELSE especially if you are on a knitting adventure as there will be plenty of opportunity to get yarn on the way

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I took some yarn from Sheltand on a trip home and back here again – ahem…..a bit silly


I took 5 projects with me and only started one of them the brioche Askews me shawl,  I purchased yarn and knit Rose red on the trip, and there were the class samples that I did as well.


Sadly I had an arm/ finger over use thing happen during the flight and I had to wait 4 days for it to settle before I could knit again at all – and then really I waited a whole week before doing any serious knitting.  This happened again on the way home and I think it was also due to the cramped seating – but this time I didn’t knit as much so it hasnt been as bad.


My advise to all travellers that are knitters take your needles but only 2 balls of yarn – there will always be yarn and your stash does not need a holiday….


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post script to travel part 1

the various high jinx dressup as they happened

bus to no abbott

bus to loop after finding out we had a new PM – look at those happy faces…..

Somehow on our first day together Pru and I stumbled across a dress up box – funny how these were most places we went……. if not we improvised

On the cutting edge, as always


When ruffs get rough!


Kitch’s Stitch Bitches


Gawjus Georgians!



windy day on Arthur’s seat – vertical hair!!!

What happens in Kirkcaldy stays in Kirkcaldy – one word STOVIES!!!!!!

New uses for fleece.

All the pretty ladies #grandshetlandadventure#handdyedwool #handmade



waiting waiting waiting for Kate Davies talk



33m between two oceans….

Hijinks! #grandshetlandadventure #knittingadventure#shetland #naughtiestgirlsonthetour

So long and thanks for all the laffs

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Day 9 loose that Sunday and further in transit home


Arriving in Aberdeen we had a leisurely breakfast and made our way to the train station to leave our bags for the day



We headed up to Scottesque to check on the kilt progress then found a great shop for some last souvenirs and tea and waffles.

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Back to the train station, collect luggage and then bus to the airport.

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Time for some final highjinx  photos of our great trip where we show off the final lasting reminder of the awesome knitting adventure


We then flew to London, boarded for Singapore ,  I watched all of season 3 Vikings, did that horrid on & off the plane business at Changi, then flew to Sydney.

Got luggage through immigration and customs and out to the fresh, getting hot already, air of Sydney.  Mr SV picked us up and dropped Pru home and then took me home to cats, garden and bed.


still can’t quite believe what just happened!!!

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Day 8 – where all good things come to an end and the epic trip home begins

We got up really early as Diewke had an early flight and Gudrun drove her into the airport so a 5.45am wakeup and cups of tea were made.

It was the first real windy day and great to capture the wind on the water from our window.


I took some time to sort out my stuff and properly pack.

When we woke up properly after a bad night sleep for both Pru and myself – I think in anticipation to the epic journey home.  We trundled down to breakfast for coffee, toast and more yummy delights.



I took a photo of the handspun from my spindle day – due to quarantine here in Australia it was not worth bringing it home.  A final pack where I got to sit on my suit case in the most unglamorous way and then we headed down for final farewells.

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The rosered I gave to Gail – it looks so much better on her that colour is divine.

Pru and I stashed our luggage at the ferry terminal and headed with Greta and Denyse for a final coffee with Gudrun and Mary Jane.



Saying our sad but fond farewells to our most excellent #grandshetlandadventure guides we mooched about Lerwick on some final missions.


It did rain a bit at the beginning of the day but by the end it was all sunshine and blue skies – here is Pru hanging in the car park




We enabled Greta to purchase a red knitting belt and needles, and then headed to the post office for a final small postage drop.  Then some final purchases for gifts we wandered down to the Museum for a last hurrah and otter search.



We boarded the boat as early as we could and bunkered down in our cabin- Pru dosed up on medicine prior to leaving and the first part of the journey was a bit rolly polly but after are stop in Kirwall it all settled down a bit.

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I watched a particularly bad movie with sheep in it.


Finally got some sleep…….


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Day 7 – not wanting it to end or where we are let loose in Lerwick

Free day today – where Pru and I had booked into classes on the open Wool Week program


We started the day early dropping Mary Jane off to her class and the headed over the the wool week hub at Islesburgh where lots of gorgeous sweaters and knitted items were to be seen in the wild

We added our name to the large map(thanks to another blog as I forgot to take a photo) and were annoyed delighted to see other participants from our neck of the woods and NZ as well.

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First up was a class with Hazel Tindall yoke sweater for a toddler – exploring colour work yokes.  We had a machine knitted body and arms joined together an hda to pick up all of the stitches and knit up on the yoke – oh and of course pick the colours.  I went with greens – as someone had nabbed the blues – and it is more gender neutral.  I sat next to some lovely german ladies – one who was knitting backwards.  In the class were also 3 Shetlanders of various experience who were knitting with belts – really great to see.



Hazel was as wonderful as the day before and I learnt so much, and really excited to be knitting this yoke sweater.  Still going mind you and I will have to graft on the sleeve and neck bands when done wish me luck!!!


I then hot footed it over the Jamison and Smith to help Gudrun out with her hap class being held there – actually I handed out highlighter tape, met another famous knit related person, her sister and friend, and chatted with a few fabulous people as they came through the shop.  And tried and succeeded at not buying any more wool!

Inspired by my medal from the Kate Davies incident Pru and I came up with the notion to award everyone on the trip a medal so I called out the Play School craft gods and found the local haberdashery shop!!!  Ribbon, pins, anchor buttons, needles and tread and a bit of dyed wool I knew stashed back in our room would do the trick.


I gathered the team put together a prototype and in less that 1/2 hour we had 15 medals and a list of reasons to award later.

These included

  • best cat herder and Pride of Shetland medal
  • Selkie singing & mermaid medal
  • best crude toast medal – that would be an Estonian toast……
  • finer than frog fur and thats pretty damn fine medal
  • happy birthday and best question medal
  • best old stick………story medal
  • bling medal
  • I like big balls medal
  • best mom medal
  • best sketch artist & beginner to advanced in a nano second medal
  • most inquiring mind medal
  • style queen medal
  • stealth designer medal
  • dessert medal
  • huge thanks and unending patience and good humour medal
  • best side kick
  • and finally one for the lovely Andrea who got the zero upchuck on bus medal

It was also the lovely Irma’s birthday so I had procured a card and we all managed to sign this.


We reconvened in the sitting room to go over our knitted cuffs and discuss the exploration of colour work we had all made that week.   I think each one was quite a success!!!


Then was dinner and the award ceremony – a hoot actually.  Dinner was again full of laughs and merriment, tinged with a bit of sadness as it was out last night all together.


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Day 6 – where there is more knitting and even more knitting but never enough knitting

Day 6 was an exciting day as we had a class with the most incredible Gudrun Johnson who as a Shetlander refer to my day 5 post is as modest as the best of them.  We had the choice of either a hap or a lace shawl – I went with the hap to further my colour exploration.

We had a great class and by now knowing each other quite well the high jinx and laughter sang through the glass house.

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mine is the RHS one of grey, salmon and yellow

After sandwiches for lunch and reluctant to stop knitting we all piled into Andrea’s wonderful luxurious bus to head off to the Shetland textile college for a tour.  There were some hardy amongst us who continued to knit on the bus ride and I would thank all those years of technical reccies to prepare me for knitting on a bus – up the back on winding roads.

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Next up was a tour of the Shetland Textile College where were where shown around the amazing facility and the high tech knitting machines – they do work for both students and on an hourly basis for outside clients and quite a bit of work is done for local and UK designers here.

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We then went down to the Shetland Textile museum and managed to squeeze in a few more quality photos – aside from the continuing hilarity it was quite an amazing exhibition of knitting and textiles. Including this amazing print on the wall by a local artist – the guy on the left is the local bus driver and the one on the right is a builder – notice anything about his hand.

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We then made out way back to Burrastow for a quick walk then dinner with another very special guest.  Another knitter whom I have followed for ages online and once won a kit of yarn and pattern for a gorgeous shawl, the wonderful and amazing Helene Magnusson.  Helene lives in Iceland but originally is from Paris – her enthusiasm for knitting and all things Icelandic is just quite wonderful.  She showed us items from her book, shoe inserts and also her new line of wool – must get my hands on some of this – quite gorgeous!!!


Next on my knitting bucket list is one of her knitting treks in Iceland!!!! anyone interested!!


there may of been a few bottles of Italian bubbles consumed prior to dinner…..


yes bubbles were consumed

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After another amazing dinner – this time of skate – my first time to eat this delicious dish.


We had the wonderful surprise post dessert guests of  Ysolda and Bex who very graciously posed for photos with us – my final knitter hero crossed off my list I can now hang up the needles with pride – no actually it is gone past a hobby and is a pure addiction and i have quite a bit of wool to knit up now so the needles are still clicking…


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We headed off to bed another fun filled day of knitting and knitting heroes met complete, wishing that this would never end…..


Pru did fall madly in love with Helene – love at first sight….

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Day 5 – what would Kate do….or how to make a knitter’s day


We started day 5 with a leisurely start of a walk to the red phone box which led to high jinx and revelry.

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After calming down from the giggles we were then taken on the next adventure of the day by the fab bus driver Andrea – who brought Shetland delights for us to try – dried salted lamb and Reestit mutton soup YUM (my father in law Richard would of loved both of these).

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We then winded our way along the Shetland roads to the Jamiseson’s Mill.  This is a cradle to grave buisiness as Pru put it – I have not thought of production of goods like this before but she is quite right.






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Raw fleeces goes in one door and finished garments and yarn comes out the other.  The fleece is washed and looses 1/2 its weight – a sore point for the Scottish owner, it is carded and made into fluff and there is one moment when it is fluff and then it is yarn – here are the two photos of that moment.






It is then dyed – anther scottish (tight arse) joke here as the dye is fully absorbed and not poured down the drain.  It is then wound into cones or balls and sent either to a knitter or to be knitted.  The knitting is done on quite high tech machines but there is still quite a bit of finishing and people involved.


I didn’t buy the most number of balls, that would be finer-than-frog-fur-and-that’s-mighty-fine Gretchen with 52 balls, one for each day of the week – I came in second with 30 and quite a few shade cards – get excited a few of you back in Sydney.



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We then headed back to the ranch for lunch with a rather special guest.  The lovely and most gracious Kate Davies came and sat with us for lunch, helped Sandy knit her jumper, let Irma ask the best questions, admired Besty and Judy’s hats, declare Carmen and her gorgeous scarf very stylish and was visually assaulted by my knatty ensemble.  I made her day!!!! (And was reminded to keep it real by Lyn)

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I behaved myself so much Pru awarded me with a medal!!!  I did it for you Zena!!!

After a little lie down and strong cup of tea we then had another visit from some amazing knitters.  Hazel Tindall, Kathleen Anderson and Helen Robertson

We splint into smaller groups of 3 or 4 and spent about 30-40 minutes which each of the lovely ladies.  My group had Kathleen first up and OMG her knitting is beyond amazing – so fine and so gorgeous and her sister is the maker of that awesome knitted fence.


Kathleen has the knitting belt on the the twine (Raeping string) to stabilise the knitting tucked under her leg – the bit tied to the knitting

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Next up was the delightful and knowledgeable Hazel Tindall who gave us a go at knitting with a knitting belt, and showed us her I-wiped-the-floor-with-my-competiton colour box challenge from last year.  At this point I need to remind you readers that the Shetlanders are a most modest bunch and Hazel mumbled something about a trophy I suggested the floor wiping which was neither confirmed or denied – I go with the fact that she did win that trophey.  What this lady can do with coloured yarn, 3 x 30cm needles and a belt is quite astounding – oh and a Raepin string – see Hazel’s post on this technique and explination of tools over here



Final in our trio of amazing Shetland crafters was Helen and what she can do with wire and knitting needles is both inspiring and moving.  Helen started knitting tiaras a while ago and has moved into object and jewellery.  With her art she is able to respond to the Shetland landscape and pay homage to the work women do and the way they interact with the environment.  I did buy one of her photos and hung it on my wall today – it really is a great reminder of the landscape and craft of my trip.


me and my medal for good behaviour…..

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Day 4 – Classes and adventures

Day 4 we had a morning class with Mary Jane working with the colourbox colors and making a wrist warmer – we talked colour theory, hues and tones and I learnt heaps in this class – actually enough to know that there is still a lot to learn – a huge amount.  But best just to dive in which I did.

*the colourbox challenge is a yearly challenge to use up to 7 colours Hazel Tindell explains it better than I could over here


Diewke, Judy & Betsy


Mary Jane the amazing

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Diewke brought treats from Denmark which we had some fun with during the class





smoking that pipe

We then hopped on the bus for a drive north for an amazing walk along the cliffs – my brain is so overloaded I forgot where this is – will update when I work it out



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A tour of the Shetland tannery where they make the most delicious slippers and quite a few came home with members of the tour group – Pru was relieved to have something apart from her duckfeet to wear at night – and far more elegant than an ugg….


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We then stopped at Mavis Grind where 33m separate the Atlantic ocean and the North sea




Atlantic ocean on the left North Sea on the right


Gretchen and Gail

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Then onto Frankies for fantastic fish and chips – can you see the wonderful spelling mistake in the last row…..

with apologies to all those over the ditch whom we treasure – but Russell Crowe is still yours and not ours (the scars of Eucalyptus run deep)



Then we made our way back to Lerwick and the Shetland Museum for a rather special talk by Kate Davies and Ella Gordon on their vintage knitwear collections and collecting – that is the rather amazing Felicity Ford there on the far left who displayed the garments during the talk.



It was great!!!!


Hopefully it will be up on the internet and if you can get a chance to watch it do – Ella is a hoot and Kate is just quite amazing – watch the bit about the moths in the question sections……



the photos at the end


my partners in crime and laughs


Wow what a day!!!!!


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Day 3 walk and homework


This is where I post photos of our evening walk which became a daily routine for a few of us – it was so good to see the changing landscape – Mary Jane had also asked us to look at the colours for the next years colour box challenge and see if could find these in the landscape.

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What is quite amazing are the colours that you find in what at first appears to be a quite monochrome environment – the light changes and the sea looks completely different – and there is so much colour once you start looking.

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Day 1-3 of the #Grandsheltandadventure



yellow boat and red phone box


Pru on the afternoon walk

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Friday morning both Pru & I got up bright and early to go for a long walk after a delicious breakfast of porridge, coffee, toast, marmalade and fruit.

We headed up the road past the shetland ponies and sheep, the boat on the inlet and the red phone box. Continued along the road and round until we came across some sheep and an old falling down croft – the red route is what we took in the am.


we saw a rainbow in the afternoon

Burrastow_House walk day 1

red is the morning walk – orange is the afternoon

Everyone arrived after around lunch time and after sandwiches we all headed off for a long walk – this is the orange walk.  It was fairly easy going and about 1/2 way a few people headed back to the house whilst the rest of us with Mary Jane continued and made a loop back again tracing back out route from the morning.  We saw the island Foula in the distance – which we incorrectly labeled Ham on our instagram photos that day – Ham is on the island.  We were serenaded by seals on the way which was quite special, again saw lots of sheep.  There are over 200,000 sheep on Shetland and under 30,000 people a fair ratio if you ask me.


Dinner was delicious and Dieuwke, our room mate, arrived during dinner.  Dieuwke was very quite about her design life to us and not until she had left did Pru and I cotton on to her talents – well we had an inkling as we both were eyeing off her jumpers but not the extent of her work.


Day 2 we made our way to Holswick Visitors Center in Sandwick on the south west of the island for either a day of dying or a day of spinning – phew I didn’t wear my jumper as Gudrun had on hers that day.  I had the wonderful Niela who with her amazing assistant the talented Mavis took us through a day of various dying techniques.  We painted sock blanks and had a variety of both yarn, silk in various forms and fleece to dye.  We used pots on the stove, oven, microwave and steaming.


Neila on the left and Mavis on the right



Sandy in her gorgeous vest


Mary Jane admires the rainbow colours with a visitor to the centre



Gretchen, Patti and Denyse (I know I spelt this wrong)



Photos of Day 1 spinners


Irma on the wheel Elizabeth in the white jumper behind


Carmen on the left and Irma at the wheel


Part of the community centre where the classes were held was a museum and had a collection of radios that was used as part of the Shetland bus during the 2nd world war.


In the afternoon we went down to Niele’s shop and maybe I did by a few things……a gorgeous cardigan and a scarf or two.



At the end of the day Mavis showed us her amazing knitting and knitted items from spinning which blew us away, I suppose at this point I should say that all Shetlanders’ are extremely modest and are quite modest about their work and Mavis was no exception so no doubt if she or any of the other Sheltanders’ that read this blog would be quite embarrassed at my enthusiasm for their talents.




Day 3 was the opposite of day 2 for each half of the group and I did wear my jumper on this day.  I was privileged to learn some fleece preparation and spinning with the amazing Elizabeth Johnston.  Unlike fleeces that I have seen here in Australia each fleece of a shetland sheep is graded from 1-5 – the spine section and even the neck with felt with the weather and other parts are not so great either.  On the whole they are alot cleaner than I have seen here as well.  We pulled off some fleece, combed it and started with a drop spindle, some moved straight onto the wheel but I stayed with the spindle for the day.  I really wanted to get the hang of it as I had bought one recently and want to get into spinning on a small scale again.


Day 3 spinners – Elizabeth showed us the long draft…..

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Day 3 dyers – Pru managed to strangle a smurf and get quite blue hands on this day – the day previously I had glove fail and had 3 pink fingers…..


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