9.20.2016

Photo Recap: Knit Iceland September 2016

I'm back from taking my first knitting tour to Iceland... and without hesitation I can say THAT WAS FUN!!! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram I was posting photos and videos from my phone during the trip, but this post will give you a little more detail about what we saw and did!

You'll quickly see that in 6 days we did ALOT, that it was cold, and that I want to go again and again and again! Every day had a wool focused activity but we also got to see and learn a great deal about Iceland's culture, geology, and history. This is just an overview, I took over a 1,000 photos, and life is too short to process them all!

Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik...
I dub this... the day of the zombies! We took an overnight flight and then had a tour of Reykjavik while we waited for hotel rooms to be ready. We saw the Hallgrímskirkja Church, visited the Iceland Handknitter's Association, found coffee and more!

Önd our fearless leader at the Perlan on Öskjuhlíð hill
Welcome dinner at the harbor.... I wish you could see the view we had, it was amazing!
Day 2: The Golden Circle and Pingborg
What a day.... we learned a ton about Iceland's geology while visiting Thingvellir (a rift where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet),
Gulfoss (you know I love a waterfall)
Lunch at a geothermal hydroponic tomato farm... first we learned about hydroponic farming in Iceland and then we ate REALLY yummy tomato soup and bread!
We ended with a visit to Pinborg a wool cooperative with a gorgeous array of yarn and handmade items... I got a kit of naturally dyed lopi to go with some Plutolopi I got there a few years ago!
Day 3: Istex Factory, Alafoss Factory Store, the Icelandic Museum and the Northern Lights
A visit to the Istex Factory where we learned about the wool industry in Iceland and got to see how raw fleece is turned into yarn, lopi style. This is the only wool mill in Iceland.
video

Afterwards we went to the Alafoss outlet where everyone shopped for yarn (I have no photos from this as I was helping everyone spend their money....) There was also a quick photoshoot (see below) and then a visit to the National Museum of Iceland. Then we took a break because..... that night we went out searching for the Northern Lights! We had a 50% chance of finding them... and guess what?
We found them... the camera actually picked them up much better than the naked eye.
Next time I need to take my tripod, it was hard to hold the camera still enough!
Day 4: The Saga Trails and dyeing workshop with Gudrun
This day we drove out to the Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord) along the drive our tour guide, Gudrun recapped some Icelandic Sagas while we drank up the scenery and knitted (the best kind of book on tape ever!)
We stopped at Barnafoss on our way... there was literally a waterfall coming out the side of the riverbank, it was breathtaking...
Then we stopped at a Deildartunguhver Europe's most powerful thermal spring where 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water is gushing out of the ground... it was hot, and smelly like sulfur, and addictive to watch!
Then after a lovely lunch it was time to learn about natural dyeing with Icelandic plants from Gudrun Bjarnadottir. Gudrun is an expert in her field and was clearly passionate about her work.... we learned alot from her and I think we all wish we could have spent the whole day soaking up her knowledge!
And then we fell in love with her yarn. This is all Eiband (Laceweight Lopi) that she has dyed. You can see her work in her Etsy shop. I got a skein of lovely green (shown above)
And I'm going to use it to knit myself a lopi sweater just like this! That is my favorite elongated stitch that I use in ALOT of my designs... in fact the first section of my book is devoted to it! I think I'll use the body from Stopover and then figure out the yoke.
Finally, even though we were tired, we stopped at a sheep farm which ended up being AMAZING! We hadn't learned yet about Icelandic sheep farming (an essential part of the Icelandic wool chain)... the farms owners were passionate, funny, and informative.
Day 5: Exploring Reykjavik!
This was our day off... I didn't actually get that many photos, as I was walking and knitting and eating lamb hot dogs. We did start our day at a rehearsal of the Icelandic Philharmonic at the Harpa... that made me feel quite cultured!
Working on my "maybe" Rhinebeck sweater (we'll see if I can get it done!)
Day 6: Blue Lagoon and Home... (insert sad face here)

The Blue Lagoon (a mineral rich man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of a nearby geothermal power plant)

Me... being the 12 year old I actually am... we have silica mud masks on, the perfect way to end out trip!



What made this trip super special? THE PEOPLE!
I know I missed a few of you... next time I need to have a checklist to make sure no one gets missed in the shots! A huge thankyou to Mary and Mary from Edventures who helped make this dream trip a reality for us all!


You might have heard a rumor about (or seen a photo of) a new sweater...
It's off for a final tech edit now, and will be released next week. I've had a SLEW of test knitters working on it, so you'll get to see it with lots of different mods, on many different shaped bodies, and in a slew of different yarns! Can't wait to share Vindur with you!

(PSA.... there are just a few spots left in March's Knit Iceland trip, the landscape will be different as there will be snow in March, and I expect it to be phenomenal!)

9.06.2016

Video Tutorial: Knitted On or Lace Cast On

This Knitted on (or lace) cast on is used in many of my patterns, it creates a flexible edge that is easily stretched and blocked into place, perfect for lace!



I also use this cast on when I am casting on alot of stitches and want a flexible edge... it is much easier than working long tail (and realizing you didn't make your tail long enough!) I do give tips for how to make it less "stretchy" if that is what your project needs!

This is a remake of a video I first shot years ago. I was linking to it in Ducenti MKAL and I could hardly watch the original one. I've gotten much better at shooting tutorials in the last year or two, so this is a welcome upgrade!

Hoping you join us in Ducenti... there will be more videos just like this! Here's a link to sign up!

You'll also be using this cast on in the latest Lola's Choice pattern (kits shipped today... so enjoy!!!!)

If there are any other videos of mine you'd love to see upgraded just let me know, we've started a list! 

8.31.2016

Ireland and Scotland... A family Adventure!

This summer we went on another epic adventure... this time to Ireland and Scotland! There was a little bit of work thrown in as I would LOVE to bring a group to Ireland next year but not too much, cause a girl needs vacation! The first half of the trip my husband and I spent on our own... we met up with the girl for the second half (she was already in Ireland on a leadership program).

This trip had us stay in 9 different lodgings, we were in a fancy hotel on a lake, a crappy air bnb, a lovely bed and breakfast, a seaside cottage,  a guesthouse, a tower in a University, a quaint inn, a chain hotel (for a night), and finally a castle! I wasn't ready to come home... though I really really missed my bed. It turns out that I love my mattress more than any other mattress in the land!

Day #1: Landing in Shannon Ireland, through Ennis to Miltown Malbay
We wandered around Ennis a bit on our way north and ran into a restored abbey that stole our hearts...
Day #2: The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrone Dolmen (a BIG day!)
I LOVE THE BURREN (and its crazy rock walls!!!!)
Tiny baby wildflowers everywhere... next time we are spending all day here!
My honey took us on an adventure that resulted with me a tiny bit stuck at the top of a wall....
Poulnabrune Dolmen... my first real life Dolmen.... it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be
(i.e. there was no time travel)...
The day ended with an epic hike along the Cliffs of Moher... we found an alternate parking lot that kept us away from the hoards of tourists and made the hike delightful!
Day #3: Driving to Killarney via the Dingle Peninsula

We scampered up to O'Connor's Pass on our way around the Dingle Peninsula... a fun driving day that included the best Rhubarb Crisp I have ever eaten with an Irish Coffee (no photo, it is in my belly!)
And then we landed at our Schwanky hotel, the Lake Hotel in Killarney, where we had a hot tub in our room that over looked a 12th century castle... this was our view... it was a good stay! (and we should have a knitting retreat here!)
Day #4: Killarney Biking Adventure (no car day!)
Even though we live in the land of waterfalls... we still bike and hike to see them!

This ancient tree growing in the Cloister at MuckRoss Abbey clearly has some stories to tell...
Day #5: Driving to Kinsale
This drive took us right past Timoleague Friary, which was a completely intriguing abbey ruin.
This sign was outside the Fishy Fishy.... kinda tickled our funny bone!
(There we had THE BEST FISH STEW... and I didn't take a photo of it, cause I'm not a food blogger : )! )
Day #6: Kinsale to Cork to Maynouth to pick up the girl!
After really good coffee and crepes in Kinsale my honey took me to Hedgehog Fibres for a tour... that was awesome!
(and I got yarn!)
And then we drove north to Maynouth, and stopped by the Rock of Cashel... we wandered around the restored castle for a bit, but really fell in love with the decrepit abbey in the valley below!
Days #7 - 9: Reunited and onto Edinburgh
Fringe Festival was on while we were in Edinburgh... which made wandering around quite amusing!
We escaped the rain for a few hours and had high tea at the Signet Library.... YUM!
The rooflines in Edinburgh were phenomenal... I needed more time in this city!
Day #10: Driving to Plockton through the Highlands
Eileen Donan Castle... Scotland's most photographed castle... gorgeous but crawling with tourists, so we took a photo (like a tourist and drove on!)
Day #11: Plockton

A tiny village on Loch Carron called Plockton, with Palm Trees and seal watching and rain and really good beer!
Day #12: Driving to Inverness
At Loch Ness... have you seen my Nessie?
Day #13: Back to Ireland and North to Portstewart (this town has great ice cream... just sayin!)

Day #14: Giant's Causeway
A day full of hiking... and fish and chips (and more ice cream)!
Day #15: Back to Dublin for a last night in a Castle and then home! (ok, we really need to have a knitting retreat here too!)
Sheep on the way back...
So, yeah... that was quite an adventure, we definitely made some memories! I didn't run into as much knitting and knitting culture as I thought I would... I saw alot of "fake" aran sweaters in tourist shops and some yarn, but not much I couldn't get here. I did find all UK yarns in Kathy's Knits in Edinburgh, and I was too busy petting them to take photos. I did get to meet up with Jo and Mica from Edinburgh Yarn Fest and with Ysolda, and I forgot to take pics of those visits as well!

I am intrigued and definitely want to go back to the west coast of Ireland and go north from Shannon to Donegal (and go to the Aran Islands which we couldn't make it to this trip.) And I am definitely going to Edinburgh Yarn Fest in 2018! I want to be in that city when it is filthy with knitters!

8.23.2016

200th Pattern Party (and the next MKAL!!!)

ALRIGHT.... I AM BACK FROM VACATION AND READY TO PARTY!!!! ARE YOU????
(sorry, I'm excited!!!!!)

It is time for the next Mystery KAL, which just happens to be my 200th pattern on Ravelry. I've called it Ducenti, which means 200 in Latin, cause I like to be obvious like that! The pre-clue is up on Ravelry with all the yarn/gauge/optional bead info you need!


The first clue comes out Sept 18th, and I decided that since this is such a big milestone it was time to hold a very rare for me pattern sale

Join in on the Ducenti MKAL (by purchasing the pattern) and get 25% off ALL Nelkin Designs Ravelry patterns! This discount will automatically be taken off at checkout, no coupon code needed! Discount ends when the first clue is released on Sept 18th!

We are having a celebration KAL in my Ravelry group to keep everyone busy until the MKAL starts... I got some pretty good yarny prizes while I was traveling this summer and will be awarding them during the KAL... details on that here.

This is a little odd to say, but I think Ducenti is one of the prettiest most interesting shawls I have ever made, I literally gasped when it came off the blocking board, it is bold and unusual and I completely adore it.

Oh, and for those of you who are hoping for more vacation photos... I'm planning a post, there are a TON to go through, I have a few pretty special shots I can't wait to share.
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