We saw puffins in Aberdeenshire. We were out cliff-walking just south of Aberdeen when D. took out his binoculars. He spent almost twenty years living in a small fishing village off the North Sea coast, but this was only the second time he had ever spotted puffins. They were out to sea, but they were unmistakably puffins. Søpapegøjer! I also saw a couple of yarn shops. Wool For Ewe came recommended to me - it had pleasant staff and a nice selection. I ended up buying enough Jamiesons Ultra to make a lace shawl (shh!). I also bought one ball of JC Rennie 4ply in a green-blue colour which brought home just how much I'm itching to do a proper fair-isle project. I have a good selection of colours in various Shetland 4-ply yarns stashed aside and these days most of my pattern purchases seem to be colourwork-orientated. Apart from the new Rowan 48, I have also just bought Sasha Kagan's classic book on fair-isle knitting. Kagan's book is very dated in terms of styling - hello 1980s make-up and hair! - but the patterns are very interesting and inspirational. While the idea of a dachshund-covered waistcoat might not appeal, I can certainly see myself knitting some fingerless gloves with pansies or seagulls.
I'm slowly moving towards autumn-knitting, you see. Scotland is never the warmest place in the world (or even in the UK!), so woolly knits are never far from my thoughts. However, I was browsing through some old blog entries the other day and I noticed how much I emphasised Needing Accessories. My thinking is that I might as well get a few quick-knit accessories under my belt before I start to yearn for big woolly cardigans. Last winter I loved my big snuggly scarf, so I have kept that in mind as I'm trying to narrow down my must-knits. Matters are complicated by the fact that I have been commissioned to design a couple of scarf patterns, that I have a few commissioned knitting projects, that a colleague of mine is expecting (and is going on maternity leave in two weeks, so I better start knitting!), and that my wrists are still not entirely happy about the amount of knitting I do.
Most of all, I wish I could take more time off and spend it up north. I do not why I love Aberdeenshire so much, but I suspect it reminds me of Denmark (albeit with dangerous cliffs, birds of prey, hills, crumbling castles, granite, puffins, and glorious 'high' skies). I always feel at peace whenever I am up north and it takes me a few days to adjust being back in Glasgow. Sigh.