Waterford to Blarney

After leaving Dublin, our bus driver was a real trooper in accepting to do a little detour to Cushendale Wollen Mills. Well, actually it was more than the bus driver who was a bit inconvenienced. Imagine the mill owner receiving a call at about 4:55pm to warn him that a bus load of Canadian knitters was on  its way for a  visit...when he generally closes at 5:30!

I bought some of this interesting fibre. It's cut from the edges of the woven mohair blanket/shawls from Cushendale's. I'm not sure what anyone else would do with it, but I made a scarf in literally 10 minutes by making an open chain stitch of the entire 140g of it, then I cut the chain in 3 equal lengths and tied the ends in to a large knot and braided it very loosely. Voila!

In Waterford, we toured the showroom of the Waterford Crystal factory. When I first saw the details of the tour that our travel agent, Pam had put together for us, I was thrilled to see that rather than being a retreat, exclusively for knitters, there were many quintessentially Irish attractions that had been built in that would appeal to anyone, the tour of the crystal factory being one of these activities. Consequently we have enjoyed the company of 4 non-knitting spouses and a non-kniiting sister, all of whom seem to be enjoying themselves tremendously.

Here is a picture of one of the prototypes of pieces being worked on at the Waterford plant, which will be used as gifts during the 2012 Olympics in London.

At Blarney Castle a good number of our stalwart gang actually climbed the 140+ stairs up to the top of the castle to hang upside-down over the side in order to position themselves to do the requisite kissing. I took pictures from below looking up at their gymnastic efforts  but they didn't turn out very well. I decided to share instead this nice picture of the castle (which, through the magic of digital photography and photoshop, I was able to straighten the towers so that they would be perpendicular to the ground, and not leaning as they seem to do in real life. )

This beautiful garden on the grounds is deceptively peaceful looking. In fact it is the Poison Garden with signs like the one below posted everywhere describing the poisonous properties of each of the plants featured, including Mandrake of Harry Potter fame.

My favourite part of the Poison Garden was the giant iron web which enclosed but 2 little poppy plants. I was confused, especially when I read the horticultural sign, which identified the exhibit as cannibis. Then I read the other sign that said that the marijuana plants had been confiscated by the Garda (police) and they were hoping to replant the exhibit next season when the licensing issues had been taken care of.


In Dublin Fair City

Here we are in Ireland on the first day of the 2011 WOOL-TYME Kingston Irish Knitting Tour.  32 of us from Montreal to Hamilton are on the tour, with Gerry, our guide and John, our bus driver.

A lovely flight and a busy first day, especially considering that most of us got minimal sleep time on the overnight flight, but we had a great time today anyway.
 First of all, let me tell you about the serendipitous situation that happened with Lisa, from This Is Knit, the only and loveliest yarn store in central Dublin. I had made arrangements several weeks ago for us to see Lisa and her staff in her shop then on Saturday, she emailed me to say that due to some odd circumstances they would be moving their store on the very day we would be arriving, but that we would still be welcomed and she would keep the traditional Irish section of her "old" store intact for us to visit, which we did. We also got to stick our head into the new digs which opened at noon today. It's absolutely wonderful and happens to be next to a fabulous tea room which we also visited. What a feat to have accomplished their move all in just a few hours. Link here to their blog to see more pictures and read about it. 

Here are a few other things that we discovered about Dublin on this first day:
They LOVE beer, which is synonymous with Guinness here.

They are a bilingual country, with the Irish Gaelic appearing everywhere above the English on their signs.

They love their stories and folklore here, as seen in the statue of Molly Malone, of song fame, and the street musician sitting at her feet, and in this other beautiful sculpture at the Garden of Remembrance where the Queen, during her historic visit to Ireland earlier this summer, laid a wreath to remember all those who died in the conflicts with Britain in the past.

On to Waterford.


MAGGIE JACKSON is coming soon to ONTARIO

For those of you who aren't able to join us this year on the 2011 Irish Knitting Tour, here's a great way to console/treat yourselves and get a bit of a taste of what the new Irish Knitting is all about.
Linda from Rose Haven Farm has arranged for a whole weekend of activities and workshops with Ireland's knitting queen,  Maggie JacksonThree days of immersion into Maggie's world is a very special treat.

The following is the full scoop and registration form. Don't miss out.

...Big news for knitters and fibre artists.  We have Irish knitting diva, Maggie Jackson of Maggiknits, here for a Fashion Show and 2 days of workshops in October from October 7 - 9.  Mark these dates if you wish to have a fun knitting experience.  This is her first time in Eastern Canada.   See www.maggiknits.com.
Maggie will be coming to our shop in Picton for 3 events.  You can come for any or all them.  All will be held in our shop.  For those who wish to stay over night we can offer accommodation ideas, although we have tried to schedule the events so you have options.
Maggiknits Fashion Show & Wine & Cheese ~ Maggie Jackson, October 7
Fashion Show with Wine & Cheese: Friday, October 7, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.; Fashion Show at 5:30 sharp.   Wonderful opportunity to see and try on many kinds of Maggiknits garments and to share time with Maggie herself.   Check out the books, materials, kit options and which work for you!
Cost: $20.00 including wine & cheese.  Max. 50.

See over for the 2 days of workshops.

Registration Form (pre-registration by phone, email or email is required)

Name:  ________________________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________________
Phone #: _______________________________________________________
Email: _________________________________________________________

Please indicate which event you wish to attend.  Payment can be by VISA/MC, cheque, or if in the shop, debit or cash.  The 2 workshops will have a $30 deposit on each required to insure attendance.  Should you wish to attend all 3 events there is a savings, as the package fee will be $200.00.

Fashion Show with Wine & Cheese  $20.00                                  ____________
Workshop 1 Oh No Not another Scarf with materials  $100.00  ____________
Workshop 2 Wearable Art with materials $100.00                                ____________
Package – all 3 events $200.00                                                                     ____________

Please make cheques out to: Rose Haven Farm and mail to Rose Haven Farm Store, 187 Main Street, Picton, ON K0K 2T0.  Call for VISA / MC 613-476-9092.

Workshop 1 ~ Saturday, October 8   Oh No Not another Scarf

Garments will be available during the day.  
10:30 - 4:30, ½ hour lunch break
Cost: $100 includes class materials.  Max 20

By the end of this class Maggie hopes the piece you will make will NOT go towards a scarf but one of the other design options she shows in a table runner, a pillow, a purse, a shawl, a wall hanging, etc.  Maggie will have you thinking "outside the box" by making holes in your work, joining her renown tubes and working a Ladder stitch.  She will show some finishing techniques for the project and give advice on what she learned from being a Fashion Designer doing Ready to Wear for 25 years selling to emporiums such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and having 45 knitters.   Samples of these stitches will be shown on garments to stretch your creative thinking.

Needles 4.5 - 5 mm, preferably wooden, bamboo or plastic to work with the linen and others (as metal needles are slippery). Scissors, darning needle.

Workshop 2 ~ Sunday, October 9     Wearable Art

Garments will be available for viewing during day.
10:30 - 4.30, ½ hour lunch break
Cost: $100 includes class materials.  Max 20

This class is a combination of various small squares which can be put together after class to make a scarf or towards a larger project.  We will make knitted and fabric bows on a square, a ruffle stitch with a tube and 2 coloured picot tube, knotting yarns to make a loopy stitch, to name a few.  Samples of these stitches will be shown on the garments to stretch your creativity.

Needles 4.5 - 5 mm, preferably wooden, bamboo or plastic to work with the linen and others (as metal needles are slippery). Scissors, darning needle.

Please note that refreshments will be provided but lunch will be at the cafe of your choice in Picton. We will provide a list of nearby places.  Food may be brought back to the shop.  All events will be held at the shop.


EXTRA EXTRA, Read all about it.

Who says that summer is a slow time for knitting? We've been busy all summer with new customers discovering us, tourists and cottagers making their annual pilgrimage to see us, stocking up on some of their favourite yarns.

The press also seem to have caught on to the impact of knitting. Or could it be that it has just been a slow news summer? Of course not, it's because the most important thing happening in the world during the week before Sunday, Aug. 7th was the 2011 Sock Summit in Portland Oregon, which found its way to the front page of the Toronto Star on that day.

Quoting people like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Anna Zilboorg, reporter Kenneth Kidd proclaims that sock knitting is dorky, absurd and silly, but 6000 knitters still showed up at the convention to share their love of sock knitting with others. Designer, Cat Bordhi had a cute way of expressing it. She sees sock making as the sports car driving of knitting: "A sock is like a curvy mountain road. You can't see around the corners."

Then we have the rather odd situation of the duel going on between Margaret Atwood and Mayor Rob Ford about the relative importance of libraries to Canadians. At one point the author suggested that she would knit a likeness of the mayor as a form of protest, I believe.

I wasn't quite sure what the meaning of knitting a person's likeness was, but it did seem significant in the way that she phrased it. That being said, you can link here to the interview she gave to Canadian Living some time back where she speaks a bit about her knitting.

A bit later in the summer, we had a chance to take some holidays out west and upon arriving in Victoria, my brother gave me a copy of the Monday Magazine that he had just picked up, which featured a cover story about the coolness of knitting.

The pair in the photo are Ryan Davis who I met on my trip out west last year, and Stephanie Papik, co-owners of my favourite knitting shop in Victoria: Knotty by Nature. (Don't you just love that name?)

The article included something that I've never seen in print before...a list of tips for those who are hoping to continue being on the receiving end of a knitter's gift. Here they are:
-Treat the gift with the utmost respect- Don't lose a mitten or get a hole in the sock. (I would add, being the fallible sort myself, that you should act at least as horrified as possible if you do misplace or overuse said gift.)

-Thank the knitter profusely for their time and effort. I asolutely agree that only people who appreciate the real time cost should receive such gifts.

-Don't look at knitters in public like they're lost and can't find their way back to the nursing home.
Now, here I take exception. The author of this statement, a cute little 20 something who is pictured knitting in a local cafe, goes on to say: "I think the biggest misconception is that knitters are all 50-year-old women. There's this stigma attached to it. It's really fun and it's modern and vintage at the same time."

WELL! I can only hope that there was a typ0, and that she was not suggesting that 50-year-olds aren't cool and belong in the nursing home. I knit in cafes, I can be cute, if I try. These young'uns...

I must leave you know, my walker needs oiling and my dentures need a bit of polish too.