Knit Scotland! (w/ a wee dram)

October 15th - 25th, 2018

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Time for our next knitting adventure! This time let's explore Scotland together.... we start and end in Edinburgh. A SUPER big treat is that I've timed the trip to be in Inverness for Loch Ness Knit Fest!

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh and enjoy a scenic tour of the city on our coach. We will be stopping for a yummy lunch and then touring a bit more before checking into our hotel to rest up before our welcome dinner.

Day 2: We'll start our day with Scottish breakfast and then have a fabulous knitting workshop with Emily from Tin Can Knits on her modern Strange Brew pattern, I can't wait to meet Emily and learn about color work from her! We'll have lunch on our own and then gather to tour the Edinburgh Castle. The rest of the day is yours... explore Edinburgh an absolutely gorgeous city to wander (I will give a list of "ideas" of things to check out!)
Day 3: After a big group breakfast we will head out to Fife to have a workshop with Di Gilpin. We'll learn about the history of Gansey knitting in Scotland and look at samples of both traditional pieces and the more contemporary designs from her studio.Then we'll learn some traditional gansey stitches by working on blanket squares in her yarn. After that we'll take our appetites to a cafe that specializes in cheese making (YUM CHEESE!) for lunch, and then head to Claddach Farm to learn about specialist, pedigree and rare-breed animals, including various commercial sheep breeds; Cheviot, Texel and Bluefaced Leicester. Then it is onto our next hotel just outside of Perth where we will settle in and have a group dinner together.
Day 4: Oh, this is going to be a fun day! Another yummy Breakfast in the morning, followed by a visit and tour to Scone Palace. This was once the crowning place of  Scottish Kings and it is steeped in history. After some free time for lunch we will head to Askival of Strathearn for a kilt making demonstration. I am super excited to do a deep dive into the history of kilts, styles of kilts, and the different techniques used to make them. We'll have dinner on our own tonight, either at the hotel or in Perth!

Day 5: First breakfast, then we leave Perth and make our way to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.... driving through the picturesque town of Pitlochry, our first stop is Edradour Distillery for a tour and tasting. Wee dram before lunch anyone? Then we'll head to Knockando Woolmill for an intimate look at Scotland's oldest working mill. Afterwards we'll go to Inverness and our hotel. Some may choose to drop their bags and head to the Ceilidh (traditional Scottish event with music and dance) at Loch Ness Knit Fest while others can relax at the hotel and enjoy dinner in Inverness.
Day 6:  Enjoy breakfast and then this day has two options... you can go to Loch Ness Knit Fest all day (and optionally sign up for classes when they release mid-March), or you can take our tour bus to the Highland Folk Museum... this is one day I need a time turner as I want to do both! The evening will see us all together at the Highland Feast organized by the Knit Fest.
Day 7: After breakfast (sense a theme here?) we will pack up and travel towards the Isle of Skye, after stopping at Loch Ness to take in the views (and obviously see a Loch creature). We'll be spending the majority of the day in Plockton, a lovely little town at the gateway of Skye (yes, it has palm trees... we'll talk about that). In Pockton we'll study Fair Isle with Sarah Berry and naturally dyed yarn. We'll eat a traditional fish soup (don't worry, there is another choice if this isn't your favorite) for lunch. Then we'll jump back in our bus and head to Skye for the evening.
Day 8: First, breakfast (again?) and then we adventure through the Isle of Skye we'll see the Trotternish ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations, including Kilt Rock, the mountain pass of the Quiraing and of course the famous Old Man of Storr.  Then we go to Shilasdair Yarn Company which specializes in naturally dyed yarn. We'll get a yarn dyeing demonstration and then enjoy their cafe (which specializes in PIE!!!). Afterwards we'll travel to Island on the Edge, a working fiber farm, to meet their sheep and learn about the challenges of crofting on the west side of the island.

Day 9: Today we have an early breakfast and then take the ferry from Skye to the mainland which means we get to take the STUNNING 'road of the isles'. We'll stop at Glenfinnan and Glencoe. This is a seriously breathtaking drive, so don't expect to get a lot of knitting done on the bus this day! We'll arrive in Oban in time for a tasting and tour at the Oban Whisky Distillery (we'll need it after a day on the bus). Then we'll check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together!

Day 10: So, we'll have a great breakfast and then enjoy our last full day together. We have a treat at the Auchindrain Township, which simulates what life was once like in the Scottish Highlands. We will participate in a 'Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh’ which translates to the ‘Inverclyde Waulking Group'. Waulking is a method of finishing newly woven tweed by soaking and thumping it steadily to shrink and soften it. The group sings Waulking Songs as they work! Wait until you hear me sing, you'll be glad the trip is almost over! Afterwards we'll head to Inverary for lunch and a walk about town and then onto the shores of Loch Lomond to take in it's gorgeous views. We'll end the day back in Edinburgh and join together for a scrumptious farewell dinner.

Day 11: LAST BREAKFAST, and then it is time to head to the airport for our journey's home... (insert sad face here).

The Tour includes :
  •  Transfers on arrival and departure by private coach (for arrivals prior to 11am)
  •  Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and, accredited guide and Laura Nelkin, knitting designer and teacher, entrance fees included if applicable.
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities for 10 nights
  • Scottish breakfast daily
  • 8 hotel table d’hote dinners
  • 1 Afternoon tea, 5 lunches
  • 1 Highland Feast in Inverness
  • 1 Farewell Meal in Edinburgh
  • Entrance to the following attractions: Edinburgh Castle, Scone Palace, The Highland Folk Museum or Loch Ness Knit Fest, Glenfinnan Monument and Museum, Auchindrain Township.
  • Kilt making demonstration at Askival of Strathearn
  • Knockando Woolmill guided tour
  • Tour of Oban Whisky Distillery with a Whisky tasting
  • Tour of Edradour Distillery with Whisky tasting
  • Visit to see the sheep and alpacas at Claddach Farm
  • Tour the Isle of Skye
  • Visit Island on the Edge a working fiber farm

Workshops/Knitting Activities Included in This Tour:
  • Tin Can Knit’s ‘Strange Brew’ workshop (Fair Isle techniques covered)
  • Gansey Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
  • Fair Isle knitting with naturally-dyed yarn with Sarah Berry
  • The option of booking additional workshops at the Loch Ness Knit Fest
  • Shilasdair Yarn Dyeing Demonstration
€3449 (Approx. $4277) per person sharing a twin or double room
€699 (Approx. $867) supplement applies if a single room is required
To secure your place a deposit of 20% of the total cost is required.
The balance is payable 60 days before departure.
VERY Detailed Itinerary and sign up form available, e-mail Laura for more details!


Knit Ithaca November 9 - 12th, 2018

Who wants to come on a knitting retreat with me and Mary Jane Mucklestone in my hometown of Ithaca, NY?

with Mary Jane Mucklestone and Laura Nelkin!

November 9th-12th, 2018
(with optional extension to Corning Museum of Glass)

Sign Ups Open 3/28 at 12pm EST

I’ve planned an extra special intimate weekend with lots of time to expand our knitting knowledge, explore the Finger Lakes Region, eat great food, taste our local wines and spirits, and knit together! We’ll be based at the Marriott, right at the base of The Commons in Ithaca, NY. This means there are a plethora of amazing restaurants, shopping, coffee, used book stores, craft galleries, bars AND BEST YET? A yarn store right across the street!

On Saturday Mary Jane and I will each be teaching a class, and on Sunday we'll be heading out on a Taste of Seneca Lake Tour.

Go here to read more and download a comprehensive brochure with the full schedule.

Let me know if you have questions! I'm happy to clarify!!!!

I've set up a thread in our Ravelry group if you want to chat it up with other attendee's and/or find a roommate! 


Book Reviews: March's 1st Quarter KAL Prizes!

Ready to see March's 1st Quarter KAL Prizes? I decided to switch things up a bit and share some of my favorite books with you this month (instead of yarn!).

Did you know I have a book addiction? I read A LOT, novels I read on my e-reader, but when it comes to knitting (and cook) books, I like those hard copy! On any given day my office, studio and kitchen are scattered with books... in fact yesterday I found my elderly dog, Noche, using one as a pillow, silly 'ol girl!

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue Magazine
Published February 2018 by Sixth & Spring Books

This encyclopedia is a masterpiece, it deserves a spot on every knitter's shelf, right next to Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt and  The Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. It is so chock full of information I'm not sure I can touch on it all in one paragraph, but I will say that I was consulted with on the bead section, which is an honor! It touches on a huge variety of topics.... I was delighted to find the shaping rule for Faroese Shawl Construction in it (something one of my Craftsy students asked me about the other day in class.)
Alter Knit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel
Published Fall 2017 by Interweave Press

Oh, this book is a joy... if you are intrigued by color work, design, or stitch dictionaries, you really need to check it out! After going to Shetland with Andrea last summer I've been dreaming of designing a color work piece or two and I know I'll be consulting this book both for the technique section which is in depth, and the stitches! Before I design something I need to explore more about color dominance and steeking, and this book delves into those topics (and tons more!). If you aren't a designer, but want to knit some color work the 5 projects included are modern and wearable. Promise me you'll check out this book!
Dimensional Tuck Knitting by Tracy Purtscher
Published September 2017 by Sixth & Spring Books

Sometimes I come across a photo and am utterly intrigued... that's what happened with this book. I saw it at a vendor's booth last fall (maybe at Rhinebeck?) and it came home with me. The techniques used to create this fabric which looks like a cross of weaving and knitting with a smattering of cables that aren't cables has me fascinated to no end. I think you'll be as in love with it as I am!
Curls by Hunter Hammersen
Published November 2014 by Pantsville Press

The self published booklet has become a classic. Hunter's innovative writing style creates a gorgeous and accessible approach to curl shawl shaping. I wrote a blog post about it a few years back... so I suggest reading that if you want to learn more!

In case you don't know about my 1st Quarter KAL in my Ravelry group, I've run them for the last few years the first 3 months of the year... there are weekly prizes for participating, and grand prizes for reaching goals! As of writing there are 296 projects completed, and 154 of my designs being knit... pretty amazing, right? Please come join us... it is easy to participate and it is SO fun to see what you are knitting!!!!