Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pictures from Scotland

We have just arrived at Glasgow Airport. If you think I look tired, you are correct. Gabriela managed to sleep but not me. Three buses, and an unwelcome tour of the University of Stirling Campus (No one seemed totally sure where we were supposed to register), we arrived for the first event, the "Clapotea Party" where we met Jennie from South Africa.

No one else was drinking tea, so I decided to take advantage of my first opportunity to try some Scottish beer.
There is a large loch right in the middle of the campus. It is rather long and sprawling but not very wide at any point. This bridge across the loch was our most direct route from our dormitory to the cafeteria and class rooms.

The grey building in the upper left corner was our dormitory. The loch was home to a large flock of swans, several ducks and some other rather odd looking birds Gabriela and I could not identify. We were told that all swans in the United Kingdom belong to the Queen and as such are protected.

At one end the loch narrows to just a few meters......
and then opens into an area bursting with beautiful water lilies. The swans seemed to prefer the more open areas of the loch, but the ducks seemed happiest among the lilies.
Remember, all this beautiful scenery is not a park. This is right in the center campus of one of the largest universities in Scotland

At the bottom left you can see just a bit of the lily pond. The hills in the background surrounded about two thirds of the campus.

We walked this path several times a day. It led from our dormitory, to the bridge. The whole campus was incredibly clean and free of litter. It was a pleasure to roam.

Every where you went there were herds(I don't remember the correct term for a collective of rabbits) of the most adorable little brown bunnies. We found one little black guy who was always on the same grassy hill every time we passed by.
I will forever think of Scotland whenever I see a rabbit.

Our first class was knitting side to side with a delightful young Irish woman, Carol Feller. That is Carol in the green.
Carol's website, Stolen Stitches, if you would like to see more of her designs.
You can also view many of her designs on Ravelry.
Our class project was her Raspberry Layers Vest seen below, being modelled by Carol.

Gabriela has turned this vest and its short row shaping techniques into a class for the fall.

Coincidentally, Carol is also the designer for Karen's Leitmotif Cardigan KAL. Details of the KAL are on our website under classes.Leitmotif also involves side to side knitting. It is knit from the center back. A very ingenious short row shaping produces a beautiful seamless sleeve shoulder.

There are still a few spaces left in this free KAL with Karen.

On Wednesday I attended a class on Cowichan Style knitting. Cowichan knits are the designs made famous by the West Coast Canadian First Nations Salish who reside in the Cowichan Valley area of British Columbia. In addition to teaching and designing, the instructor Jon Dunn, also dyes. He is well know for his "Sushi Sock Rolls". I picked up this earthy brown/green colourway and I am still looking for the perfect project. Jon's sushi rolls have very, very long colour repeats, sort of like Zauberball yarns but producing even wider stripes.
Jon's website.
He is also on Ravelry as Easyknitter.

Friday for me was one of the highlights of the whole week. We were in a class with the Jared Flood, knitting his beautiful Girasole, which is Italian for sunflower. As soon as she got home, Gabriela grabbed a bag of a deep green shade of Rowan Tweed and started knitting. Look for Girasole among her fall classes. Cascade 220 would be an excellent choice for this project. But if you want to treat it like the heirloom it will become, try the Rowan Tweed DK. It will require 15 balls which would normally cost $165. We have decided to offer students in the Girasole class a special price of $125. We have correct amounts in several colours.

Jared's website if you care to see more of Girasole.

Believe it or not, Gabriela and I passed up one of the PUB nights for a walk around the far end of the loch.

We sat in the last rays of the sun watching the silly swans playing and we think, fighting.

They would glide along and then all of a sudden totally tip upside down, head deep in the water feeding on something.

They were not at all afraid. The darker ones in the back were the younger swans. Again my memory fails me for the correct name for baby swans, I think it is something like signets?

The William Wallace (remember Braveheart) memorial is on the grounds of the University of Sterling.

Gabriela walked the 264 steps to get these pictures for you from the top. That is the city of Stirling of in the distance.

The hills...... no need to guess why the phrase highlands is so often associated with Scotland.

One evening several of us piled on a bus for a 45 minute drive to Loch Katrine. It is only a few kilometers away but the road was very narrow, hilly and winding, so slow speeds was the only way to go. I was happy to hear from our driver, Lennox, that he had been driving "coach" in these hills for 36 years.

Jennie and I waiting for our turn to go out on the boat.

We chatted with designers Annie Modesitt (in the red resting her head on Jennie's shoulder) and Norah Gaughan. It was another one of the highlights of the week to meet Norah, the shorter lady with dark hair and glasses.

Gabriela and Fiona discussed favourite hair colours. Her hair now has purple highlights, but for her recent wedding, Fiona had teal highlights to match her dress.
The boat arrives.
Lady of the Lake is one of only 2 motorized boats allowed on Loch Katrine. The loch is the main water source for Stirling and Glasgow. Lady of the Lake and her sister boat or powered by fuel made from recycled cooking oils. Any fuel residue or leakage is therefore nontoxic and biodegradable. The only other boats allowed on the loch are canoes, paddle boats and sail boats.
Again, the hills. Breathtaking. The corner of an island which shows up in the bottom left corner was of interest to me. My McElman ancestors were driven from Scotland during the Highland Clearances. They escaped to Ireland. Two brothers eventually came to North America, one to Massachusetts and the other to New Brunswick. There are very few McElmans in North America but I am told we can all trace our ancestors back to these two brothers. Our guide on the Lady of the Lake told us this island was often used as a hiding place during the Clearances. I might have gazed upon the very spot which was the start of my family's journey to Canada.

Three-quarters of the loch was surronded by steep hills.

Sunset on Loch Katrine.

Pictures courtesy of Gabriela (She has about 750 more if you want to see them)

No comments: