Knit 1 Bike 1 – Funny goings on at the road side on Burns Day…

What I found at the side of the Road on Burns Day

 Took the bike down to the Robert Burns Museum today to celebrate Burns’ birthday.   Had fun with the witches in the Auld Kirk cemetery and the pipers at the Museum.  Found a packet of smoked salmon at the side of the road.  Nothing wrong with it – just thrown from a car – why???  Wonder if I can crochet it – I just have to have a go…

The witches at the Auld Kirk Alloway were out too.  Brompton bicycles are more appealing than a broomstick obviously..

and now I am off to crochet a packet of smoked salmon.  It can be done!

Knit 1 Bike 1 – What Not To Take?

What not to take? – All suggestions welcome!
Having come up with a wonderful list of all the useful things I could take on the Knit 1 Bike 1 trip, there are a few dilemmas:
1.        short of taking a lorry with me, it will not all fit. 
2.       Do I take the felted Kindle  bag and double knitting felted phone case or  100% waterproof ones?
3.       How long will woollen socks take to dry?
4.       What about my swimming costume?
5.       Sun tan lotion, shampoo, moisturiser and a first aid kit add an awful lot of weight but are essential.  I am on the hunt for small plastic tubs.
When I went on a previous solo week-long bike trip, I took a single change of clothes and hung them in the tent overnight to dry.  I took a small tent and a sleeping bag but  no cooking stove.  Every gram/ounce counts on a bike and you soon regret any extra stuff.  Even the plastic mug ended up getting in the way and I wished I had left it at home.  I ate cold food (oatcakes and tomatoes etc) for breakfast then stopped at the first cafe for a hot drink/fry up.   It was easy to buy food for lunch and by dinner time I was glad to be in a pub, have company, chips and a comfy seat indoors.   The great thing about cycling all day every day is that you need a lot of calories!
 When hubby and I went on a bike trip together we thought we had packed the bare minimum but ended up posting a parcel of excess stuff home.  A lesson learned.  Can I leave home with only what I need this time?
Given this trip will be done on a folding bike with no back up vehicle, less  really is more and carrying less  weight makes a huge difference when cycling  up hill.  So I am thinking that one change of clothes and no cooking stove is as good for 70 days as it is for 7.  And carrying extra weight for 70 days is ten times as onerous as carrying it for 7.  So instead of a ‘what to take list’, I have started a ‘what not to take’ list. 
So far I am not taking:
·         A camera with batteries that need re-charging
·         A  kindle or books – I may take a mini tablet that doubles as a phone and can also put books on it – am busy researching this. However what with all that cycling, crocheting, writing, socialising and delivering mini workshops   I may decide to go into book withdrawal for the duration of the trip. 
·         The tablet will need a waterproof case  and a charger.  And I will need somewhere to charge it and probably spare batteries as well just in case.  Total weight about 1kg.  A notebook needs none of those things, but there may not be many internet cafes  en route…
·         A towel.  A facecloth/flannel is actually all the towel you need and drys quicker.  And a quarter of a facecloth works fine as a facecloth. 
What to do…
Can I really last 70 days without hair products and deodorant?  70 days of having fluffy hair and being a bit niffy  may be a step too far and I am on the hunt for small plastic tubs to put things in.
The midge hat is going with me and that is that. 
Midge repellent
Anything else that helps with midges…
A wee sliver of soap
Sun tan lotion
Yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks.  I will post finished objects home.
Plastic mailing bags for the above
Maps – or pages out of maps.  Road maps are surprisingly good for cyclists but I will also need some Sustrans cycle route maps.
Some first aid stuff – TCP, plasters . 
A phone.
Spare set of  undies, tee shirt and zip off trousers.  The cycle gear can dry overnight.
I read a book about what people took with them on journeys called  ‘journeys of Simplicity Travelling Light…
Some people took only a toothbrush in their breast pocket and went walking for 6 months but I wouldn’t like to have dinner with them after the first couple of weeks…and of course they  didn’t need yarn and needles like I do.

Knit 1 Bike 1 – Janet’s next project and the proposed itinerary…

As some of you will know, my intended next project involves meandering around Scotland by bike and the odd bus or train, crocheting, knitting and spinning as I go. I will offer mini workshops and talks, visiting knitting groups and shops, fellow textile artists and  people that I know – including my grandaughter, and her lovely family who live on Mull.

NB I have applied for funding to do this but have decided to start this blog and my preparations ‘as if’ the funding was in place – otherwise by the time it is, it will be too late to plan it well.  I set off around the end of June 2015.

The Journey will result in a book and an exhibition of the objects I knit and crochet on the way.  These will be things I see at the side of the road, wildlife and things that simply represent the mood of the day.  So this era of the blog begins with the preparations I am making and the thinking and planning as well as of course being about the things I knit and crochet.

As luck would have it for the first time in my life I have a knee problem.  However a very encouraging visit to the physio today, who tells me that the likely cause was very high cliff top steps on a walk and that cycling is actually good for it.  If feels a lot better already!  So it’s back on the bike this weekend…

 Here is a picture of the folding bike I intend to use for the trip and a taste of things to come…

It is a Brompton folding bike and it goes on buses as well as trains which could come in handy…

Me and my knitting on Coldingham beach last month during a cycle ride. 

The finished laptop bag

Finally – a good idea today from a fellow knitter – to put my provisional itinerary on the blog so here it is. If you would like me to visit you and offer a mini workshop or a talk in exchange for accommodation.  Do let me know – the above itinerary is provisional.  A number of the places I stay will also be mentioned in the book of course!.

Proposed cycling itinerary
Depart Mon 29th June 2015  
Day 1                                     leave Dalmellington East Ayrshire. Bus to Ayr.  (South Ayrshire). Cycle Ayr to West Kilbride on bike route. (North Ayrshire)  total 26 miles.  Stay Seamill.
Day 2                                     Talk/meet knitters West Kilbride. Stay B&B Seamill.  (North Ayrshire).
Day 3                                     Cycle to Ardrossan.  Ferry to Brodick Isle Arran.  Cycle to Kildonan.  Camp Kildonan.  Total 19 miles. 
Day 4                                     Meet with knitters/spinners on Arran.  (North Ayrshire)
Day 5                                     Cycle Kildonan to Lochranza 30 miles.   Stay Lochranza campsite. 
Day 6                                     Stay Lochranza.  Knit and crochet, write blog etc.    
Day 7                                     Ferry Lochranza to Claonaig, Mull of Kintyre.  B8001 to Kennacraig, A83 to Lochgilphead A816 to Kilmartin.  (Argyll & Bute) Total 31 miles. 
Day 8                                     Offer talk/mini workshop and meet with local knitters or spinners Kilmartin.   Stay Kilmartin.
Day 9                                     Cycle Kilmartin to Oban.  29 miles.  Stay campsite Oban.    Visit local spinners and knitters etc.
Day 10                                   Ferry to Mull.  Rendezvous with Hubby for bike maintenance/check.  Stay night Craignure Mull.  (Argyll & Bute)
Day 11                                   Craignure to Bunnessan Mull.  26 miles.  Visit Ardanalish weavers.  Camp Bunnessan.
Day 12                                   Craignure, Mull to Tobermory. ( Argyll & Bute).  22 miles.  Meet with local knitters.   Offer 2 hour workshop in return for accommodation. 
Day 13                                   Ferry Tobermory to Kilchoan.  Cycle Kilchoan to Strontian.  (Highland).  28 miles.  Stay bunkhouse or camp at Ariundle centre Strontian. 
Day 14                                   Stay Strontian.  Deliver 2 hour mini workshop.  Catch up with crochet, knitting and blogging.  Stay Strontian. 
Day 15                                   Strontian to Lochailort .  30 miles.  Camp Cambusdarroch camp site. 
Day 16                                   Lochailort to Mallaig.   16 miles.  Visit local knitwear designer.
Day 17                                   ferry Mallaig to Armadale Isle of Skye.(highland)  Cycle to Broadford.  Visit local spinnning studio. 17 miles.
Day 18                                   Offer mini workshop in exchange for camping/accommodation.
Day 19                                   Broadford  to Portree.  25 miles. Visit local knitting business/friends.   B&B.  
Day 20                                   Stitch n Bitch session and/or mini workshop Portree.  Stay Portree.  Blog and knit.
Day 21                                   return Portree to Broadford.  25 miles.  Camp Broadford.   
Day 22                                   Cycle Broadford to Armadale.  Ferry to Mallaig.  Train Mallaig to Fort William.  Train Fort William to Oban.  Cycle Oban to Benderloch to Wool Feis Highland wool festival.  (Argyll & Bute)  25 miles.
Day 23                                 offer   talk/ stitch n bitch.  Camp or B&B
Day 24                                   mini workshop.
Day 25                                   as above. 
Day  26                                  Cycle to Oban.  Train to Mallaig.  Ferry Mallaig to Skye.  (Highland).  Bus to Uig.   Ferry Uig to Tarbert Isle of Harris.  (Western Isles).  Visit Harris Tweed Company Isle of Harris.  Cycle Tarbert to Horgabost.  Camp at Horgabost.  20 miles.
Day 27                                   Spend a day writing and crocheting/knitting. 
Day 28                                   bus to part way to Stornoway.  Cycle 25 miles.  Visit Hebrides knitwear Stornoway.  Ferry Stornoway to Ullapool.   Rendezvous with Hubby for bike maintenance and to replenish yarn supplies/ offload finished crochet and knitting.  Camp Ullapool.  (Highland)
Day 29                                   Visit local spinners & weavers.   Offer mini workshop/stitch n bitch session in exchange for accommodation or camp Ullapool.  Stay Ullapool.
Day 30                                   crochet and Knitting/blog time. Stay Ullapool.
Day 31                                   Train Ullapool to Inverness.  Cycle Inverness to Aviemore 30 miles.  Camp Aviemore.  Stitch n Bitch/ meet knitting group meets Tues 7-9.   Rendezvous with Lee Renouf-Miller for bike maintenance etc.
Day 32                                   Offer talk Aviemore.                       
                                                Stay Aviemore.   
Day 33                                   Sustrans Route 7 Aviemore to Newtonmore. 16 miles.  Visit Highland Folk Museum.  Offer spinning demonstration.  Camp Newtonmore.
Day 34                                   writing and knitting time.  stay Newtonmore.
Day 35                                   Newtonmore to Blair Atholl Perth  & Kinross.  34 miles Stay Blair Atholl. 
Day 36                                   Day off.   stay Blair Atholl
Day 37                                   Cycle Blair Atholl to Bankfoot.  visit Organic fruit nursery Bankfoot.  25 miles.
Day 38                                   Offer knitting and talk Bankfoot in exchange for accommodation or camp.
Day 39                                   Bankfoot to Kenmore. Still on Sustrans route 7.  29 miles.  Stay B&B Kenmore. 
Day 40                                   Kenmore to Lochearnhead 25 miles.  (Stirling)
Day 41                                   Lochearnhead to Dunblane 29 miles.   Rendezvous with Hubby.
Day 42                                   stay Dunblane.  Offer knitting session and talk.
Day 43                                   Dunblane to Glasgow.  33 miles. 
Day 44                                   Visit knitting shop Glasgow. (Glasgow City)  Offer mini workshop/talk.
Day 45                                   Stay Glasgow, blog and crochet/knit.
Day 46                                   Glasgow to New Lanark Woollen Mill.  (South Lanarkshire) Stay youth hostel new Lanark and offer talk. 
Day 47                                   New Lanark to Broughton.  Attend spinner’s event.  Or offer session at knitting shop.  Stay campsite Biggar.  19 miles
Day 48                                   Broughton to Edinburgh. 
Day 49                                   Offer workshop to knitting/spinning group Edinburgh.   Stay Edinburgh.  (Edinburgh City)
Day 50                                   Edinburgh to Penicuik return.  (Midlothian) 20miles.  Offer knit and natter/talk.  Stay Edinburgh.  Knitting and blog time.  Rendezvous with Hubby.
Day 51                                   Colinton to Haddington  22 miles.  Stay Haddington
Day 52                                   offer talk Haddington.
Day 53                                   Haddington to Dunbar.  Possible stay at Innerwick.  16 miles.
Day 54                                   offer mini knit workshop Innerwick.  Stay Innerwick.
Day 55                                     Innerwick to St Abbs.  Stay Woolfish St Abbs. 
Day 56                                   Offer talk or crochet workshop St Abbs.  (Borders) Stay St Abbs.
Day 57                                   St Abbs to Coldstream.  Stay Coldstream. 
Day 58                                   Coldstream to Hawick.  Stay Hawick.  Visit Borders Textile museum. 
Day 59                                   Offer talk or mini workshop.   Stay Hawick. 
Day 60                                   Stay Hawick.  Blog and crochet/knit.
Day 61                                     Cycle Hawick to Langholm.  23 miles. 
Day 62                                   Visit craft shop Langhold and offer mini workshop.  Stay Langholm.     (Dumfries & Galloway)
Day 63                                   Cycle Langholm to Lockerbie.  19 miles. 
Day 64                                   Connect with local spinners & weavers. Talk or mini workshop or B&B.
Day 65                                   Lockerbie to Dumfries.  15 miles.  Stay Dumfries.
Day 66                                   Talk Dumfries.  Stay Dumfries.
Day 67                                   Dumfries to Castle Douglas.  16 miles.  Stay Castle Douglas.
Day 68                                   Castle Douglas to New Galloway. 14 miles.  Stay New Galloway.
Day 69                                   Talk New Galloway.  Stay New Galloway.
Day 70                                   New Galloway to Dalmellington  22 miles.  – HOME.  (East Ayrshire)

Look What Susan Did
I wanted to share this photo.  The person who created this wonderful blanket could not crochet at all a couple of months ago.  she has been coming to me for one to one crochet lessons and has created this wonderful knee rug. 

Knee rug in creative crochet by a student.

I just re-felted a bag I made a while ago.  It was knitted then felted in the washing machine but was rather big and the handle a bit ‘bouncy’.  Anyway  I rather nervously put it in the washing machine for another ten minutes and – bingo – it is perfect and i have now used it several times this week!  The perfect size for an A4 file which was the original intention.

Now 1 am off to Gorgie City Farm Edinburgh as I am delivering a spinning workshop to Gorgie Spinners tomorrow with lots of yummy new alpaca for them to spin, in four different colours.  Can’t wait to get my hands on it too…

Meanwhile look out for the really exicting news on Monday…

Woolfish retreat
I am off to another knitting retreat at Woolfish this month.  Louise’s house is wonderful and St Abbs is lovely…
Before we all made napkin rings to use when we shared meals.  Mine now lives in my lunch box along with the cloth napkin I use when eating lunch in my car.  Every time I use it, it reminds me of the lovely time I had and the friends I made…mine is the turquoise one third from the right. 
Napkin rings at Woolfish retreat

I’ve lost the pattern!

I have lost the pattern for the Sanquhar gloves.  As you may know, I am not very good at using patterns and this one drove me mad.  I tend to mis-read them and do better making up my own.

So I struggled on with this one and even got a chart for the Midge and Fly pattern.  It was different however, and one of those patterns that creates an optical illusion that shifts before your eyes, so not much help.

Oh dear oh dear.  I bought a new copy but cannot remember what row I was on.  each row is numbered with no other description.  And given I am using 1.5mm needles and hand spun Cashmere and Yak (therefore slightly fluffy) yarn counting the rows is also a challenge. 

so the Sanquhar gloves may well end up in the bin if that pattern does not turn up.

If you want to see what they look like, see the previous entry about them in December 2012.  Then add two more rows…

are you bored with knitting?

do you ever get bored with knitting?
before I learned to spin I had stopped knitting altogether due to boredom but spinning changed everything.  even so called boring knitting is exciting when you see how your own yarn knits up.

Hand dyed yarns do the same, and now, many years later I find I am back to using commerial yarns again because there are so many more nice ones out there.

so now I have knitting or crochet with me all the time again.  the projects seem to breed in the night.  I start with one project but then it gets too big to take with me when  I go out, so I start something new.  then that gets too complicated to do whilst chatting so I start something for the knitting group.

but at the moment I am finishing projects.  In the last  month or so I have finished
twirly crocheted skirt for a 2 year old
doggy bootees
party cape for a 4 year old
Amalfi crocheted waistcoat

now I am working on the Romi shawl and loving it.  this shawl has a really good pattern and chart and there have been no mistakes in it.   it comes from a booklet called 7 small shawls to knit, which I bought on Ravelry and was worth every penny of its $12/£7.50.  I am using hand dyed lace yarn and it is fun to see the colours coming out.  they look different in the central panel to the way they look in the surrounding pattern which is fun.
spent most of yesterday working on it and only stopped when I started making mistakes.

Fiddle Faddle Sanquhar Glove

I love to fiddle with knitting.  Quite often I will knit three or four samples before deciding how to start the knitting and on what sized needles, using what stitch pattern etc.  A very laudable habit except that I am less good at finishing knitting.  Now Gloves are heaven, because they are all fiddle with no straight knitting in between.  And patterned gloves are even more so.

I got sanquhar glove patterns because my Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers is having a Sanquhar knitting challenge.  the usual thing is that mine is not finished in time because of all the other demands on my time, but we shall see.  That is a very good idea seeing as the village of Sanquhar is in our area, and we even have members who live there.  Sanquhar is about 20 miles from where I live, and it doesn’t realise how famous it is via the Sanquhar knitting if appearances are anything to go by.

The patterns are written by the Scottish Womens Rural Institute (AKA The Rural) and are therefore very very good.  they have no errors, they explain why you are doing things and are typed in double spacing.  Listen up all you knitting designers – tell us why we should knit 2 together then it is easier to fudge if the pattern does not work.  And please do not print your books on black – I want to photocopy one pattern FOR MY OWN USE not to cheat you out of money, but so that I can fit my knitting into my handbag and scribble all over the pattern whilst I knit.  Come to think of it, those books of knitting patterns so piss me off.  Why not make individual patterns anymore?  it is all about money, but some of us just don’t bother rather than pay £8.99/$15 when we only want one pattern in the book.  Or we buy one between three of us so I doubt if you really make more money out of us.  And I would happily pay a decent price – say £2-3/$3-5 for one pattern if only I could get one.

So a resounding thumbs up to The Rural.  And here is my work in progress Sanquhar Glove.

spinning silk

Ah the joys of picking silk out of your eyelashes…
We were spinning silk at The Guild yesterday and what fun we had.  What was especially nice is that some of the people who did the silk spinnig course had not spun silk before. 

Funny how you often seem to wear exactly the wrong thing for spinning.  A bit like when you go out for an Italian meal and seem to always end up with a white shirt on. 
well I was wearing a black tee shirt and forgot my spinning apron.  Actually it was in a bit of a state – covered in oil, gunk and assorted extras so I was too embarassed to take it, Guild logo and all!

Concentrating hard whilst spinning silk.