Thursday, January 26, 2012

Up Helly Aa

I'll be away on the 31 January, but wanted to post advance notice about the special event held then on Shetland, Up Helly Aa. There will be a live webcast at Don't forget to take into account that Shetland is in another time zone and you'll have to adjust for this. You can also watch the sail racing, which starts in Aberdeen and is scheduled to arrive in Lerwick for Up Helly Aa.

I received the text which follows from Promote Shetland. There was an excellent photograph from a previous year, but I couldn't get it to copy to my blog.


We just wanted to drop you a quick email to let you know that we will once again be broadcasting Up Helly Aa LIVE through our webcam network on 31st January. Up Helly Aa truly is quite spectacular to watch and for those not able to be here on the day, we hope you will manage to watch it online with us at Helly Aa is our annual Viking event which takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January. It is Europe's largest fire festival and something very unique to Shetland. You can read about the history here.Please let us know if you experience any problems with the page this week and we will endeavour to have it sorted in time for the event.

Virtual sailing race to Shetland for Up Helly Aa offers online offshore sailracing as you have never experienced it. With super realistic boat performance, state of the art wind forecasts and realtime chat you will have the ultimate online sailracing experience.The next race, starting on Friday 27th January, will leave from Aberdeen and routing via the Moray Firth, SOLers will race through several of the Shetland Islands with the intention of arriving in Lerwick for Tuesday 31st January to take in the Up Helly Aa celebrations.To find out more about the race or to register to take part, click here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Travel, Shetland & Weaving

I was a retail travel agent for years before concentrating on knitting tours. However, anything related with travel in general still attracts my attention, and I receive many travel-related newsletters every week. I found the following potentially helpful, especially during the winter months, when extreme weather conditions can interrupt our travel plans.
Not wishing to go on too much about my interest and love for Shetland (which I feel certain a lot of people share)--I get this newsletter on a regular basis: There are a number of references to a wide variety of weaving--i.e. see the Penelope connection. I'm not a spinner or weaver but am very interested in any thing connected with textiles. There was much to read on this site--even an announcement for a weaver-in-residence post, which may be of interest to the weavers in our group :
Also don't miss the textiles blog by Deborah Gray. She doesn't just write about Scottish events but also her time at seminars in Italy.
Elizabeth Johnston is recognized as a master spinner and weaver. (She spoke to our group during a previous 'Scottish Skeins Tour' and she brought many examples of old Shetland knitting.) Elizabeth has demonstrated on the loom at the archaeological dig at Scatness Broch near the airport on Shetland, and she wove the costumes for the guides there. (Depending on when you came on a 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour', you may have met her.) Today I came across her blog and was interested to see her connection with Norway. Very timely for 2012.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A short portion of the Rideau Canal was opened for skating on Sunday--a welcome announcement. The Ottawa Citizen also reported the skating rink on the grounds of the Governor General's residence is now open for public skating on weekends. I very much doubt(!) that I'll be skating this year, but have many happy memories from years when I used to go often.
Plans are near completion for a visit to Norway during the last two weeks of June. I will be escorting this trip and from experiences during a former tour, I am very much looking forward to repeating the itinerary. In addition to visits in Oslo and Bergen--the highlight will be a cruise along the fjords. I have been on this trip before and the ship, the scenery and overall experience have me anticipating a return. There will be lots of time for relaxed knitting and interesting excursions when the ship docks. This isn't just a cruise ship but a working vessel, which serves the tiny settlements along the way. Please let me know if you would like more information.
Further to the announcement that 2012 has been designated as the Year of Creative Scotland, have a look at the site:,/year-of-creative/index.asp. I was pleased to see a photo of Donald John Mackay, who many of you will recall meeting at his weaving shed, overlooking beautiful Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris. Also, Sheila Fleet from Orkney. I also noticed that Shetland has produced a Craft Trail for the first time. Lots to read!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Belated New Year's Greetings

My best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, productive 2012.
After my experience dealing with excessive magazine purchases when I was packing to move, I vowed I wouldn't buy another magazine for a long time. However, earlier this week I found myself purchasing the British magazines, Selvedge and Debbie Bliss. Both issues had specific articles which convinced me that I should make the investment. (Saying that, perhaps Debbie Bliss's magazine is American.)
I used to have a subscription to Selvedge, and even though it's a quality issue, I found it to be expensive, especially once the extra costs for mailing to Canada were factored in. Plus for me, the content seemed to be either a feast or a famine. This particular issue, #43, I considered a 'feast' and enjoyed reading articles about Welsh knitting, Nottingham lace, butter muslin; linen--I even found a number of the ads to be informative .
2012 has been designated as the 'Year of Creative Scotland'.