25 december 2012

Gelukkig Kerstfeest! Merry Christmas!



A Passion for Lace wishes everybody a merry christmas and all the best things (like health, happiness and fortunes) for 2013.


My husband is on the road today, in Sweden. But in our hearts we're together. Be safe!

Heel veel liefs, Lots of Love, 
Monique

23 december 2012

New Addiction (probably)...

Je weet dat eiland wel, waar ik laatst was, toch? (ik durf het haast niet te noemen...).
Ik heb daar in Voe vrouwen héél dun garen zien spinnen. De mevrouw die ik in Lerwick tegen kwam spon zelf akelig dun garen. Mijn reisgenote had haar spinnewiel mee en spon zo lekker ontspannen...

You know the island that I've been talking about so much lately? (I hardly dare mention it again...)
I've met women that were spinning terribly thin yarn. The lady in Lerwick spun her own yarn at an alarming thin size. My travel companion brought her own spinning wheel and was so relaxed..

En wanneer je thuis komt en heel blij wordt van een foto die Ammerins genomen heeft, dan is er iets aan de hand. Ik denk dat het spinvirus heeft toegeslagen. Ik heb geprobeerd het zo lang mogelijk uit te stellen. Er is namelijk zo ook al genoeg te doen en spinnewielen zijn nou niet iets wat je zó even aanschaft.

And when you get home and get very excited with a picture Ammerins took, something has happened. Probably the spinning virus took hold of me. I did try to fight it and held out as long as I could. A spinningwheel isn't something you just buy like that.. 
Afgelopen woensdag was er stitch'n'bitch. Vruchtbare grond daar; ik maakte daar ook al opnieuw kennis met Kantbreien in 2008 geloof ik. Ammerins had me horen zeuren over dat spinnen, hoe het werkt, waar je het beste mee kunt beginnen en zo. Maar ik hield de boot af. Ik kan eigenlijk niet nóg een hobby gebruiken. Het bleef echter knagen; het hoort bij het breien. Het is het begin. Je leert vezels kennen, opbouw, constructie, kwaliteit nog voor je een breinaald hebt aangeraakt.
Dus duwde Ammerins me die avond een mini spintol in mijn handen met een pluk merino en huppekee, aan de slag.

Last wednesday was stitch'n'bitch meet up. Fertile grounds up there, I renewed my knowledge of laceknitting in 2008 there.. Ammerins had heard me nagging about the spinning thing, how it's done, where to start. I tried not to think about it, the last thing I need is anóther hobby. It stayed with me, nonetheless. It's a part of knitting; the beginning. You have to learn about fibers, build up of yarn, construction and quality even before you pick up knitting needles.
So Ammerins shoved a small spindle in my hands with some roving (?) and put me to work.

En wat denk je! Nèt wat voor mij. Klein, schattig, en binnen een paar minuten al een paar meter draad! Oh jee, daar ga ik! Binnen 2 dagen zat een nieuwe tol al op de post naar me toe. De Kolibrie K14 was precies goed en al kant en klaar op de site, lontwol erbij en ik kon bijna meteen beginnen.

And what do you know... Júst the thing for me! Cute, small and within minutes I had spun a couple of yards of yarn... Oh my god, I'm hooked. Within 2 days the new spindle was on it's way to me. The Kolibrie K14 was readymade and just right, some roving to go with it and I could start almost right away.
Ik heb ooit eens gespint toen ik nog maar net een tiener was, mijn moeder heeft het me geleerd op haar spinnewiel. Maar omdat het nix voor mij was, heeft ze hem jaren geleden verkocht. Nu met zo'n klein tolletje is het makkelijk om 'overal' te doen. Ammerins vertelde me dat met een lichtgewicht tolletje je makkelijk dunner garen kunt spinnen dan met zo'n grote. En warempel.. Na een uurtje had ik dít er al op zitten!
De draad brak nog maar 4x, de tweede keer nog veel vaker. Het lukt me dus om een redelijk dunne draad te spinnen.

I did spin when I was in my early teens. My mother taught me on her spinningwheel. But because it was not the thing for me (back then) she sold the wheel years ago. With this little spindle it's very easy to bring with you anywhere. Ammerins told me with this small spindle it would be easier to make thin yarn. And after just one hour look what I got so far!
The yarn only broke 4 times the first attempt. Later it broke more often, but the yarn was more even.
Ik ben nog lang niet klaar voor het echte werk, nog veel oefenen, maar ik vrees dat er in 2013 gesponnen gaat worden.. (link voor NL)

I'm not ready for the real thing yet, but with practise I could come far. I guess there will be some spinning in 2013... hahaha.


18 december 2012

Wovember

Just a few weeks after I came back from Shetland, the month of Wovember started.


Accompanied by a very educational website and posts it's a great way to learn a lot more about WOOL, sheep, and using it to make wonderful things.

I dared to enter a blogpost I wrote and it got published on their site. I had to edit it so that it had less words, but the heart is still in it.

You can read it (again) here; LINK

In the meantime I've knitted the Sixareen Kep, designed by Kate Davies. My daughter is wearing it all the time!


Here, the kep was still in progress.
The green part is the inside that needs to be flapped back for a soft inside. All yarn is Heritage Yarn by Jamieson & Smith (the green is PoshYarn).
My next project was a hairband by Kate, and it was intended for myself. But I ended up giving it to my mother too, I'm not the headband type.. It's still pretty..
This has a combo of Jamieson's of Shetland (red/sunrise and brown/grouse), heritage yarn (cream) and white natural and grey by J&S
The inside is also green PoshYarn

I'm VERY glad I was on Shetland, especially during WoolWeek! I've learned so much, seen pretty things, an amazing island, great people and to be honest I think about it every day.

There is still a lot to learn and do. So.. I will talk about it more, probably not that much about Fair Isle, but surely about lace. I cannot stop, sorry....

The calender is already hanging on the wall! Very happy with that too...


25 november 2012

St. Ninian's


On the very last day we were on Shetland, we visited Saint Ninian's Beach. It was on the way to the airport, a slight detour. But worth every minute of it. This beach is special because it's a tombolo. It's a sand bridge between 2 pieces of land/rock and the ocean meets the beach on 2 sides.

We were in luck, the sun was shining, it was windy, so lots of waves.

Halfway down, we spotted a seal. It was keeping it's eye on us too. He dove under, came up, spotted us and disappeared in a wave and came up a bit further.
He noticed we came closer and closer... Then he went under and never (seem) to come up again.
Until Amy turned around and saw he made a run for the other side of the water behind us!
He left his prints on the beach..
An amazing goodbye for such a pretty island.

When I came home, someone asked me to knit a shawl with the famous cockle shell pattern. I decided, because it's directional, that the shawl needed to be knit in 2 parts. When that was done, I grafted it in the center, looked at it, and in an instant St. Ninian's came up in my mind...

So.. there you have it. A wonderful experience, a great island, an old pattern and a stunning lace shawl..

The yarn is Merino, Silk, Cashmere in lóvely Dark Red Roses (one of a kind skein).
 The shells meet in the center; when you wear this shawl the shells go in the same direction.

 Pattern will be available December 1, 2012
Pattern: St. Ninians (written and charted)
Design: MoniqueB.
Yarn: 1030m or 1120y  Merino/silk/cashmere 70/20/10 Dark Red Roses OOAK Dye For Wool
Needles: 3,25mm or US 3
Size: 195cm x 73cm or 79" x 29"
Start: Nov 3 2012
Done: Nov 19 2012

12 november 2012

12 times ...

 Scalloway
 Hamnavoe
 West Burra
 West Burra
 Fort Charlotte Lerwick
 St. Ninians Beach
 Sandness
Hermaness
East Burra
 Eshaness
 Unst
 Hamnavoe looking at Foula

Do you like these? I do! So.. my dad is making these pictures into a calender for 2013....
Thanks dad.

8 november 2012

Plans

The  plan to go to Shetland was to see some lace for real. Not just from pictures, but with my own eyes. I have been staring at internet pictures for too long.
I wanted to go to the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick, the Heritage Centre in Unst and any other place where there would be lace to see and take in.

But the island had other plans. As you have already noticed, the posts I entered so far have all been about the island. Rocks. Moors. Ocean. Roads. Silence. Not a word about Lace.

Monday I did get a quick look on lace in Lerwick, just before the workshop of Kate Davies would begin. Someone pulled out a display and there it was! The shawl I had only known from the internet and even had made a swatch from that picture! Can you see my reflection? It was so small. I kind of freaked out. Normally I would take time to sit, watch, take in, make notes and sit in admiration.

2012
I made this swatch 'ages' ago and now I saw that my swatch was 'fat'. Not even CLOSE to being as fine as the original. But that's okay.
2010
Or the Weddingshawl I had seen on the website of the Archive Museum and used as inspiration for my design for Jamieson & Smith: the Shetland Bound. (not bound as in tied up, more like: on my way to Shetland).
 original

Bound
I started noticing I didn't stick to the plan to take it all in. Only at home I found out I had also seen the Love Darg Shawl original when I looked back at the pictures at home.

I changed it a bit, because I wanted to add some hearts to the pattern (in one border).

The workshop by Kate started, finished and I was on my way back to find Amy. Didn't go back to see the shawls again for that day.
Soon it was Wednesday. After we'd been to Sandness, the evening had been planned for Talking about Lace with Mary Kay, Gudrun Johnston and myself. The designs by Gudrun are well known by many, but the fine lace by Mary was very new to me. It was VERY delicate; like knitting with hair. Only 2 ply. (sheep)Hair. Handspun.


Mrs. Mary Kay:

And all our lace on the J&S wool bed (very luxuriously handmade bed):
Mary's lace left top, Gudrun's lace left bottom, MoniqueB 's lace right

The next thing I knew it was already Thursday and we were on our way to Unst. Expectations were again véry high. The lace there was on the internet, but only photographed by people that have been there. Time to take my own pictures.
After a wonderfull trip, actually having a great time on board of the ferry to Yell and to Unst, thanks to the travelpills, we stepped out of the car at Muness. We had seen a sign:
 



It's a lovely little castle with a grimm past.
Back in the car, to Haroldswick: Heritage Centre. We drove past it once, in search of it...
Parked the car, went in, nice and warm. Hanged our coats and went in for a look.
I think my brain went left, while I went right. There was lace on display. THE LACE I CAME FOR (well, almost). OLD. FINE. Delicate. Handknit. The party begun.
I recognised a lót of patterns, but in an order I'd never seen. Some of the shawls were so delicate, we weren't even allowed to take pictures. The lady told us, she had one of her own, an real heirloom, and could photograph that one. Even finer than the lace by Mary Kay!
Imagne this being only an armslength wide... Amazing! 

 Thanks to Amy, I now own my own knittingbelt. It's working out great!

Drawers pulled out show the most amazing garments in fine lace; socks, gloves and tops.

I had promised friends to also take a look at a shawl on display in the kabinets. The Williamson Stole. We have been working and swatching very hard to recreate it:
Picture Nita Bruce 
But it wasn't there anymore! The kind lady told us that shawls could only be on display for 2 years maximum and then were put back for several years. They are so delicate, the light takes away from it's structure and holes fall into the lace.
We did ask, and one of the ladies was so kind to help us find it. Taking out rolls of old lace shawls. The Williams Stole is still illusive, but we saw some darn fine lace. Imagne it being knit in a badly lit room, 100 years ago!

I was in luck. There were several other pretty shawls to see.
After I had calmed down, we had a lunch with the other ladies visiting and chatting with the locals about lots of stuff.

Amy told me we could do a bit of walking at Hermaness. It would be a short drive and decide to take a walk or not. I really wanted to see Muckle Flugga, but after a good hour walk, I realised that wouldn't be an option. I have to be happy with the postcard I bought at Baltasound.


And it was great! Do you notice the box with the blue top? Open the lid and there are folders with information about the location! And a guestbook! The piece of concrete on the left is an eyesoar compared to the two incripted rocks. We opened the gate and had the road to follow.


The brown on the left is dead bracken (fern). These were wet hills, pretty high up and again: silence. We did meet some sheep; one dead, others alive... hihi.

It was amazing, just like Sandness and Eshaness. I kind of 'understood' why it's said that people here 'are' frugal. You don't have a lot to begin with, so you better hold on to it, incase there comes a time when you don't have ány...

As you can see; we did A LOT. I can hardly fit all the pictures on my computer. My head is filled with impressions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, questions. I'm still thinking about it every day.. Not in a bad way, but it was an experience of (my) a lifetime. Doing something for this day, having a great time, and doing something different the next day, and having a great time again!
The weather was great. We've seen hails of rain, clouds, sun, blue sky, NORTHERN LIGHTS (although briefly). I dó want to go back. But I first have to get my head around this trip.

The travel pills did their magic again on the way back. I shed a little tear when we lifted of Sumburgh Airport, sad to go.. On Edinburgh we had a 4 hour lay-over and hung lazy on the chairs of the waiting area. Time to go home..

29 oktober 2012

Finally some rocks...


 Friday I had the car to myself. I could have been making pictures of my shetland shawls ON shetland, but this was my chance to see the part of the islands we hadn't any plans on going to. With Hermaness still in the back of my mind, (Thursday) we didn't make it 'to' Muckle Flugga...*
 I thought I'd go and see what's up in Eshaness.
Near the otter crossing. Didn't see any otters. They usually pass at dusk or dawn.
On the way to Eshaness. Just off the road, a dirt road, sand, shore and ocean. Right at your feet. 
On every sign you see, the (old) Norse and English name of the town is mentioned.

Ronas Hill. The tallest hill of Shetland, standing more than 450 feet above sealevel. Shrouded in clouds the whole time I saw it. Couldn't come close to it. No road to the top (on my map, anyway).

On my way up the lighthouse of Eshaness, just passing Hillswick, you see on your lefthand the 'Feeding Seahorse'. It's a rock, battered by the ocean waves and it looks like a seahorse.
The reason the picture is not neatly horizontal is that it is quite difficult to make a descent picture with the wind blowing the camera almost out of your hands. 


According to the information on location: this lighthouse is 12 meters tall. And stands 61 meters above sea level. Reaches 25 miles out to sea with her light and was built in 1929. It is squared, because round lighthouses required specially made furniture. It was automated in the '70s. 
I'll ease you in to the pictures of the ocean. Remember, the wind blew out of land. A shame, the waves were very pretty, but not as fierce as I had hoped. I did had 2 coats on...



Well worth the trip, don't you think?



I did drive up to North Roë after this. But I didn't get to see the ocean there, like in Eshaness. I had to get out of the car, and hike for 4 miles (or more). And back... 
I wanted to see other places too. I made it up to Isbister and then turned around. Hills were very high there and the Methodist church was separated from the water only by the road... 

 I took the road back, from North Roe to Brae, up to Voe. There I had a toastie in the restaurant. Some very cute 'boys' walked in, dressed in kilts and flowers in their coat. The three of them were probably the escort of the groom-to-be. No bride in sight....
I got back to my car and decided to continue up to Aith. My friend had stayed there, and it was a really lóvely trip. One road only, up and down and very curvy.
It was also very quiet there. And suddenly a lot of birds. Small birds.
Then I was already almost back in Scalloway again. But.. I knew it would be Knitting Café in the Theater in Lerwick. I texted Amy I would be found there, when she got back from her Drumcarding Class.
A relaxed ending to a wonderfull day...