There & Back Again

AberdeenshireMornings are less rough when you wake up to this view. The north-east coast of Scotland is gorgeous: expansive light, dramatic cliffs, and teeming with wildlife. During my days in Aberdeenshire, I spotted seals, puffins, deer, and more buzzards than I have ever seen before. I wish I could have stayed longer.

As always I paid Aberdeen Art Gallery a visit. It is relatively small, but has an exquisite collection mixing works by well-known artists such as J.W. Waterhouse, and Francis Bacon with less famous (but really interesting) artists like Phoebe Anna Traquair and applied arts & crafts, textiles, and metalwork within Scotland. As always I was drawn to Joan Eardley's work  as well as Francis Cadell's, but I also enjoyed the new exhibit on wartime watercolours.

June 2011 072For the first time I visited the Maritime Museum - just a short walk away from the Art Gallery.

As Aberdeen is an oil industry city, the museum had plenty of information about the black gold and the 1970s oil boom. I was slightly saddened by how this recent event had pushed a lot of Aberdeenshire's fishing heritage into the periphery. The small exhibition on herring fishing made me think fondly of Kate Davies' Caller Herrin hat. I seem able to find a knitterly angle to most things these days..

Finding a knitterly angle to my last port-of-call is not difficult, though. Wool 4 Ewe is a lovely independent yarn shop and I visit them as often as I can.

SpringThis time around I was there by special invitation from the friendly Wool 4 Ewe team in order to run a workshop on triangular lace shawls.

Teaching lace shawl knitting is always rewarding because there are so many different aspects to cover: construction, yarn & needle choice, chart-reading, and post-knitting care. I find it quite a technical topic to teach and I try hard to balance all the technical information with fun hands-on experiments.

I'm happy to say that all my students left all excited and enthused about knitting lace shawls. The Wool 4 Ewe team asked me which shawls I would recommend to beginners. I gave them this list of free patterns which I hope you will also find useful. All links (and roads?) lead to Ravelry.

I left the shop empty-handed although the new-to-me Manos Del Uruguay yarn called Serena called out to me with its subtle colours and beautiful blend of alpaca and pima cotton. It is really pretty. I am just so snowed under with projects and commissions that I have no idea when I would have time for an indulgent little project. I am not complaining: such is life..

.. I did manage to finish China Mieville's Embassytown whilst travelling. More on that book soon.