Wooly Skye

In Broadford on Skye, is The Handknitter Having Fun shop. I often find astounding deals of wool there. This year, since socks were my travel project, as if often the case, socks yarn was top of mind. And for another reason as well—I lost a just finished sock on an Edinburgh tram.

Wooly clouds on the Black Cuillins from the Sligachan Hotel

We time our visits to Skye to coincide with the climbing season. This year we were a week later than usual. I expected it to be warmer than it was two years ago when I brought long-johns and wished for t-shirts. This year the opposite was true. It was cold, rainy and blustery. I on one hike I was wearing almost everything I owned, soaked through and got blown off my feet by a gust of wind.

Reverse view from Loch Scaivaig on a sunnier day

Not to say the trip was a bust—not so! I was there for rest and the weather gave me time for knitting and a bit of shopping. I picked up three beautiful sock skeins and started another pair of socks, having brought two projects for the trip. Here are the three skeins which seem to be color inspired by the location.

Can’t wait to see how the socks turn out. Too bad they take so long to knit!

NOTE TO SELF: hand dyed—don’t use different skeins and expect them to look like the belong together. This said, in spite of cutting the skein in half and caking it in reverse, the Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball® socks I started are variegating in the most peculiar fashion. Even if I make that mistake, it won’t be *this* different.

Even with taking a ball in the middle and caking it opposite, these socks look VERY different from one another

And Then There Was One

I love travel. It’s a good thing, given I travel 33-50% for my work. This means I also like being at home when I have time off.

My husband has a love of Scotland that comes from his youth in the South of England. His father took him to the Isle of Skye when he was fifteen and every year or so, we go back. And for me, it’s all about the hiking and the wool.

The project I brought was a pair of socks using Knitpicks Felici in Stormy Sky (fitting for Scotland). It was a special striped run I’d picked some up at Stitches West last year. And I was so excited to finally use it and hopeful my husband would have a spare pair of socks for hiking.

We used Edinburgh as our basecamp for the trip. We only passed through the city—several times as we came and went from visiting friends and family in Southern England before we headed to Skye. I was just reinforcing a heel when our stop came and I thought I’d safely tucked the sock away, but when we got to the hotel, I was one sock short.

Yes. I did cry. But then I immediately picked up my needles and cast-on another pair.

You gotta get back on that horse and ride it! Am I right?

Under a Clear Blue Skye

The Skye sweater sitting on driftwood
The Skye sweater sitting on driftwood

There’s always a sadness when you finish a project mixed with the joy of the anticipation of projects to come.

Nick on a warm afternoon at West Beach on Orcas Island
Nick on a warm Saturday afternoon on Knit in Public Day at West Beach on Orcas Island “I’m hot!”

Nick’s sweater is finally, finally done and just in time for Knit in Public Day 2015. I simply couldn’t stop saying to my husband as we ferried over to Orcas Island that morning, “I made this! I made this!” It is truly one of my favorite things I’ve made. When I tried it on (of course before I told him it was complete) I thought how much I wanted a sweater just like it. Maybe I’ll make a great sweater out of the new yarn I picked while I was there.

Lining up the sleeve and the chest pattern on a bottom up sweater was a challenge! #wwkipday 2015
Lining up the sleeve and the chest pattern on a bottom up sweater was a challenge!

What makes this sweater exciting is the yarn. In different lights it takes on different colors–from a rich blue outdoors at twilight to a faded denim indoors. Many thanks to Handspinner Having Fun in Broadford, Scotland for making such a lovely, soft and cuddly DK. I wish I’d finished it before I came by the shop last month, but I’m so glad I got too share it on Instagram with the shop.

Details about the sweater:

Yarn: The Handspinner Having Fun 100% Blue Faced Leicester DK

Patterns: This was based on two knitting patterns with modifications. The structure is largely found in Men’s sweater Simon by Faina Goberstein. The fabric pattern is from 210-211-56 Men’s Sweater by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd).

Modifications: The reason for two patterns instead of one is that Nick thought the garter rib of the Simon pattern was a bit boring, so after much searching for one he liked, I settled on the 210-211-56 as the main body fabric (12 stitch repeat+6). So there was a bit of math, but I think it was well worth it.

One big change I made is the embellishment runs horizontal, not vertical running up the sleeve as the pattern calls for. The worry was aligning the patterns in a bottom up sweater. The trick was to start the sleeve shaping exactly after the pattern on both sleeves and chest. Worked perfectly!

Something I didn’t, but might modify, is the large neck opening. This is a feature the pattern, and partly why I selected it, as Nick didn’t want it close to the neck. If make another, and given how happy I am with this I just might, I’ll knit higher up the chest before starting the neck shaping on the front or knit the opening for a smaller size.

And since the sweater was inspired by Scotland, despite me missing the target of Nick wearing it there, here are some photos from our trip there last month.

Eileen Donan Castle, Highlands, Scotland
Eileen Donan Castle, Highlands, Scotland

The Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye. We stayed in the round turret above the sitting room.
The Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye. We stayed in the round room.

Snow on the Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Snow on the Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Niest Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Niest Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Bicycle powered scarf by Skye Weavers on the Isle of Skye
Bicycle powered scarf by Skye Weavers on the Isle of Skye

Cloud shroud on Marsco, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Cloud shroud on Marsco, Isle of SKye, Scotland

Cloudy Black Cuillins on a chilly day, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Snowy Black Cuillins Isle of Skye, Scotland

Vacation Knitting–Finally!

Volcanos of Washington State taken from the window of the airplane
Volcanos of Western Washington taken from the window of the airplane.

It’s been a tough waiting for this time off. With so much happening at work and in my home life, I’m completely stressed out. This trip to Scotland is a ‘do the right time this time’. And hopefully that means lower stress travel, but I must admit, I wouldn’t mind just sticking around the house and finishing my WIPS and starting a few more summery ones. I’ve still got Nick’s sweater (to be worn in Scotland) on my needles and this is the only project I’m taking with me despite so many beautiful things catching my eye of late.

My queue grew by two more items only just today! My additions? Purl Soho’s Notched Hem Tank and the Paloma cardigan. I have Instagram and the Fringe Association blog to thank for these additions respectively.

It’s funny how different people do different things to save weight when packing. My husband never brings liquids—prefers to buy them or use hotel goods and I try to minimize clothes by using a color system, which, when technical gear is involved, is much less successful. I almost decided to only take my small waterproof camera (well suited to Scotland), but ended up remembering some of the great shots I’ve gotten in visits before.

The one thing to do plan to do is take a “techie” fast, since that is so much of what I do every day at work. I even own the same laptop that is my standard work issue, so I’ve just make the executive decision to leave it behind. So I’ll have to do my posting on return. But while I’m away, here are a few shots of where I will be; the Isle of Skye, part of the Inner Hebrides in the Scotland Highlands.

The Red Cuillins
The Red Cuillins

The Black Cuillins
The Black Cuillins

Cloud Cloak 1
Cloud Cloak 1

Cloud cloak 2
Cloud Cloak 2

Cloud cloak 3
Cloud Cloak 3

Cloud sliding down (4)
Cloud Cloak 4