Monday, 5 August 2013

Jumping off a high dive board with my knitting hero - my adventures in Shetland!

If you have been following me for a while, you'll know I went up to Shetland in 2010 for the 'In the loop 2' knitting conference when I had my eyes opened to the wide world of knitting....and met Lucius Malfoy (Jason Issacs).

This time, I knew what to expect from the island a bit more, beautiful scenery, infrequent bus services, lovely people, lots of knitting! And I spoke at the conference, which was 'In the loop 3.5', and this was to be in front of 2 of my favourite knit based artists of all time Freddie Robins and Lisa Anne Auerbach as they were both speaking at the conference too, eeeek. I met Freddie last year at 2 different conferences, we actually have a lot in common and I spent a lot of time with her on this trip.   

Wednesday, I flew up to Aberdeen then on to Sumburgh, I didn't bother going to bed due to early flight, so the conference part of Wednesday was mostly a blur. I plucked up the courage to speak to Lisa Anne, hired a bike, got lost on the way to buy food, found food and settled in to my apartment.

Thursday was a full day of conference talks, followed by participating in a huge knitting circle made up of 83 people, a project about the owning and passing of time.  


There was a highly recommended chippy near the castle, so we headed there for tea. Me and Lisa just had chips, the others had chips with deep fried Haggis...when in Scotland, right! This was odd, somehow I had ended up eating chippy with not 1 but 3 people whose practice I look up to. We were all due to talk on Friday, I had to cycle back and it was raining so I set off up the hill.

Friday was the last day of the conference and the day I was speaking. Freddie also spoke, in the afternoon, this is one of her slides showing one of my favourite pieces of her work.

Lisa spoke about her most recent project based on the honsestrik knitting style, which was amazing, but I plan on writing a blog purely about that so won't go into it now. I do have a photo of me and Lisa posing though...

Lisa had been telling us about the amazing swimming pool in Lerwick with slides, rapids and diving boards all week, but we didn't have swimsuits. Luckily for us Lerwick has some well stocked charity shops and Freddie and I both got a cheap swimming costume that fitted! So, after the conference, we headed out to the pool and I was not disappointed. There were 2 water slides, a rapids with rings to sit in and diving boards. I sat in a foam ring getting whirled round with Freddie, followed by jumping off the 3m diving board with Lisa, it was a surreal and super-fun experience. It seems that Shetland exists to surprise me, last time this! My knitting heroes are real, lovely people and we have a lot in common.

Saturday I moved to a B&B for the last night of my stay and went on a fantastic walk around the 'ness of sound'
I then went to Mereel where there was an event for Shetland makers to show their work, I met a lot of lovely people with great work but the work of Ella Gordon was right up my street. here she is (on the right) with her work and amazing dress!

We ended up looking round people's work and chatting all afternoon, just time for a cheeky one (which complimented my new yellow jumper nicely) before Freddie and I headed over to the restaurant where her friend Lorna works to be made a super-tasty specially invented Vegan meal.

Sunday was the last day, and I had to leave for the airport at 12.30 but we managed to shop and see some sights of the fairisle festival before heading home.

Jamieson's - our favourite wool shop, sporting knits from the very same shop!

All the fairisle at the festival,it doesn't get much more Shetland traditional than this!

Final goodbye to and celebration of Shetland with some snaps of my new Shetland made knitwear on their amazing white sand beaches!