25 november 2012

St. Ninian's

On the very last day we were on Shetland, we visited Saint Ninian's Beach. It was on the way to the airport, a slight detour. But worth every minute of it. This beach is special because it's a tombolo. It's a sand bridge between 2 pieces of land/rock and the ocean meets the beach on 2 sides.

We were in luck, the sun was shining, it was windy, so lots of waves.

Halfway down, we spotted a seal. It was keeping it's eye on us too. He dove under, came up, spotted us and disappeared in a wave and came up a bit further.
He noticed we came closer and closer... Then he went under and never (seem) to come up again.
Until Amy turned around and saw he made a run for the other side of the water behind us!
He left his prints on the beach..
An amazing goodbye for such a pretty island.

When I came home, someone asked me to knit a shawl with the famous cockle shell pattern. I decided, because it's directional, that the shawl needed to be knit in 2 parts. When that was done, I grafted it in the center, looked at it, and in an instant St. Ninian's came up in my mind...

So.. there you have it. A wonderful experience, a great island, an old pattern and a stunning lace shawl..

The yarn is Merino, Silk, Cashmere in lóvely Dark Red Roses (one of a kind skein).
 The shells meet in the center; when you wear this shawl the shells go in the same direction.

 Pattern will be available December 1, 2012
Pattern: St. Ninians (written and charted)
Design: MoniqueB.
Yarn: 1030m or 1120y  Merino/silk/cashmere 70/20/10 Dark Red Roses OOAK Dye For Wool
Needles: 3,25mm or US 3
Size: 195cm x 73cm or 79" x 29"
Start: Nov 3 2012
Done: Nov 19 2012

12 november 2012

12 times ...

 West Burra
 West Burra
 Fort Charlotte Lerwick
 St. Ninians Beach
East Burra
 Hamnavoe looking at Foula

Do you like these? I do! So.. my dad is making these pictures into a calender for 2013....
Thanks dad.

8 november 2012


The  plan to go to Shetland was to see some lace for real. Not just from pictures, but with my own eyes. I have been staring at internet pictures for too long.
I wanted to go to the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick, the Heritage Centre in Unst and any other place where there would be lace to see and take in.

But the island had other plans. As you have already noticed, the posts I entered so far have all been about the island. Rocks. Moors. Ocean. Roads. Silence. Not a word about Lace.

Monday I did get a quick look on lace in Lerwick, just before the workshop of Kate Davies would begin. Someone pulled out a display and there it was! The shawl I had only known from the internet and even had made a swatch from that picture! Can you see my reflection? It was so small. I kind of freaked out. Normally I would take time to sit, watch, take in, make notes and sit in admiration.

I made this swatch 'ages' ago and now I saw that my swatch was 'fat'. Not even CLOSE to being as fine as the original. But that's okay.
Or the Weddingshawl I had seen on the website of the Archive Museum and used as inspiration for my design for Jamieson & Smith: the Shetland Bound. (not bound as in tied up, more like: on my way to Shetland).

I started noticing I didn't stick to the plan to take it all in. Only at home I found out I had also seen the Love Darg Shawl original when I looked back at the pictures at home.

I changed it a bit, because I wanted to add some hearts to the pattern (in one border).

The workshop by Kate started, finished and I was on my way back to find Amy. Didn't go back to see the shawls again for that day.
Soon it was Wednesday. After we'd been to Sandness, the evening had been planned for Talking about Lace with Mary Kay, Gudrun Johnston and myself. The designs by Gudrun are well known by many, but the fine lace by Mary was very new to me. It was VERY delicate; like knitting with hair. Only 2 ply. (sheep)Hair. Handspun.

Mrs. Mary Kay:

And all our lace on the J&S wool bed (very luxuriously handmade bed):
Mary's lace left top, Gudrun's lace left bottom, MoniqueB 's lace right

The next thing I knew it was already Thursday and we were on our way to Unst. Expectations were again véry high. The lace there was on the internet, but only photographed by people that have been there. Time to take my own pictures.
After a wonderfull trip, actually having a great time on board of the ferry to Yell and to Unst, thanks to the travelpills, we stepped out of the car at Muness. We had seen a sign:

It's a lovely little castle with a grimm past.
Back in the car, to Haroldswick: Heritage Centre. We drove past it once, in search of it...
Parked the car, went in, nice and warm. Hanged our coats and went in for a look.
I think my brain went left, while I went right. There was lace on display. THE LACE I CAME FOR (well, almost). OLD. FINE. Delicate. Handknit. The party begun.
I recognised a lót of patterns, but in an order I'd never seen. Some of the shawls were so delicate, we weren't even allowed to take pictures. The lady told us, she had one of her own, an real heirloom, and could photograph that one. Even finer than the lace by Mary Kay.

 Thanks to Amy, I now own my own knittingbelt. It's working out great!

Drawers pulled out show the most amazing garments in fine lace; socks, gloves and tops.

I had promised friends to also take a look at a shawl on display in the kabinets. The Williamson Stole. We have been working and swatching very hard to recreate it:
Picture Nita Bruce 
But it wasn't there anymore! The kind lady told us that shawls could only be on display for 2 years maximum and then were put back for several years. They are so delicate, the light takes away from it's structure and holes fall into the lace.
We did ask, and one of the ladies was so kind to help us find it. Taking out rolls of old lace shawls. The Williams Stole is still illusive, but we saw some darn fine lace. Imagne it being knit in a badly lit room, 100 years ago!

I was in luck. There were several other pretty shawls to see.
After I had calmed down, we had a lunch with the other ladies visiting and chatting with the locals about lots of stuff.

Amy told me we could do a bit of walking at Hermaness. It would be a short drive and decide to take a walk or not. I really wanted to see Muckle Flugga, but after a good hour walk, I realised that wouldn't be an option. I have to be happy with the postcard I bought at Baltasound.

And it was great! Do you notice the box with the blue top? Open the lid and there are folders with information about the location! And a guestbook! The piece of concrete on the left is an eyesoar compared to the two incripted rocks. We opened the gate and had the road to follow.

The brown on the left is dead bracken (fern). These were wet hills, pretty high up and again: silence. We did meet some sheep; one dead, others alive... hihi.

It was amazing, just like Sandness and Eshaness. I kind of 'understood' why it's said that people here 'are' frugal. You don't have a lot to begin with, so you better hold on to it, incase there comes a time when you don't have ány...

As you can see; we did A LOT. I can hardly fit all the pictures on my computer. My head is filled with impressions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, questions. I'm still thinking about it every day.. Not in a bad way, but it was an experience of (my) a lifetime. Doing something for this day, having a great time, and doing something different the next day, and having a great time again!
The weather was great. We've seen hails of rain, clouds, sun, blue sky, NORTHERN LIGHTS (although briefly). I dó want to go back. But I first have to get my head around this trip.

The travel pills did their magic again on the way back. I shed a little tear when we lifted of Sumburgh Airport, sad to go.. On Edinburgh we had a 4 hour lay-over and hung lazy on the chairs of the waiting area. Time to go home..