Edinburgh Part 2 – Exploring

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Soooo many things to see, I have to go back.  Preferably when it’s a little warmer and there’s a chance of the sun putting in an appearance, but return I will.  It would have been sacrilege not to snap a photo of this daisy I spied carved into the end of a bench.

Edinburgh was everything I’d imagined and more 💞

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No trip to the Scottish city would be complete without a visit to the castle of course,  dominating the skyline as it sits perched above the other buildings.  My word, you definitely know how high it is too when you get up there, because it’s blooming freezing.

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The castle itself is fantastic and much bigger than I thought, think fort rather than castle.  Cobbled paths lead you to the different buildings which contain room after room of memorabilia from Scotland’s history.  My favourites were the National War Museum and the Regimental Museums, I’ve recently developed a bit of an interest in military history and am hoping to visit The Imperial War Museum in London again this year 🙂

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The Scottish National War Memorial is a truly moving place, which commemorates the dead of the First and Second World Wars and of military campaigns since 1945.  Around the main room you will discover books with lists of the fallen soldiers from each Scottish regiment.  The number of books provides a poignant reminder of all that lost there lives in defence of their country.

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In truth we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to truly experience the sheer volume of things to see at the castle and will have to go again when we’re next in Edinburgh 😉

We rode the obligatory tour bus, but only managed to take one of the three tours and after dragging my poor husband to several yarn shops and haberdashery departments there was barely any time left for a wander through the cobbled streets, stopping for coffee and cake.  I really can’t sing the praises of the public transport system in Edinburgh enough.  An all day pass for the buses and trams costs only £3.50 and you can travel the length and breadth of the city

Edinburgh is a bit of a haven for yarn shops, having already visited the yarn festival I thought it only fair on hubby not to take us too far out of our way.

I’m a bit of a department store haberdashery junkie, I just can’t help myself and have to look at everything.  Jenners House of Fraser is smack in the centre of Edinburgh and their haberdashery department in the basement, was jam packed with a rainbow of colours from Rowan and Patons.  Having popped in briefly on Saturday afternoon before they closed I was able to resit the urge to purchase something in order to save my pennies for the festival.  if Rowan is your yarn of choice though I’d recommend a visit to either Jenners on Princes Street or the John Lewis which you’ll find in the St James Centre.  John Lewis also had some of the fantastic but seriously pricey Wool and the Gang yarn and kits too.

Kathy’s Knits on Broughton Street offers some beautiful yarns, patterns and notions, concentrating on British yarns sourced from around the country including Blacker Yarns, New Lanark, JCRennie, Jamieson & Smith and Eden Cottage.  I didn’t stop long enough to purchase as it was drizziling a little outside and I didn’t want to risk having a grumpy, sodden husband.  Next time when the sun is shining I’ll be sure to stay longer 😎

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Ginger Twist Studio is an indie, vintage inspired yarn shop on London Road crammed full of yummy yarn, most of which is hand dyed.  I’d met Jess at the yarn festival, but as I follow her on Instagram I wanted to pay a special visit to the shop.  We popped in briefly on Monday when Jess was busy unpacking after the show.  You wouldn’t want to turn up with a massive group of knitters as Ginger Twist is a little on the compact side, however this little haven is a hand dyed yarn lovers dream destination.

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Never one to resist hand dyed I opted for a hank of luminous lime sock yarn and the necessary shopper.

Up near where we were staying in Haymarket was David Drummond’s  a traditional sewing machine and knitting shop with a vast selection of all things knitting, sewing and haberdashery.  Rather happily I discovered some Wendy Alfresco Aran on special, which I purchased to crochet up a quick granny shawl on the way home.  Four balls in a great charcoal shade for less than £10 – bargain!

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In amongst all the travelling, walking, eating and touring I managed to get my knit and crochet on too.  The bottom project is a granny shawl in Rico Galaxy Chunky yarn that I took with me to keep my hands occupied whilst on the plane (it’s a gift for a dear friend).  I also managed to finish one sock and start it’s twin, but didn’t want to risk having my Knitpro Karbonz taken off me on the plane, hence the Alfresco purchase.  You can kind of make out the lovely shade of grey in the photo and to jazz it up a little, I’m adding some rows in yarn from my stash.

I’ll be sure to post up some pics of the finished garment, but I could end up boring you as I’ve developed a bit of a hankering for granny shawls at the moment.

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First there was the blue one I made for myself here and then you might recall the photo from a previous post with all the ends needing to be sewn in? Well I finally found the time to do so and to give it a quick block too.

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I love it and it’s really warm having been made in the now discontinued King Cole Chunky Merino.  Hopefully, you can never have too many shawls?

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The photographs make it look rather bright, when I like to think it’s a little more subdued ✨ only a little mind.

Happy Knitting!

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Edinburgh Part 1 – The Yarn Festival

2015-03-15 10.19.52-2I’ve wanted to go to Edinburgh for as long as I can remember and The Edinburgh Yarn Festival provided the perfect excuse to finally pay the place a visit 🙂

The first thing to mention about the yarn festival is how many ‘stars’ of the industry offered classes, there were definitely more in attendance then I’ve seen at any other yarn show.  Unfortunately, I’d missed the ones that interested me most as demand was incredibly high and most booked up very quickly.  Who can blame them too, with names like Stephen West, Ysolda Teague, Rachel Coopey, Carol Feller, Hélène Magnússon, Nancy Marchant, Veera Välimäki, Emily Wessel and Karie Westermann to name but a few.

I arrived at The Edinburgh Corn Exchange bright and early on Sunday morning to try and avoid some of the crowds, heading straight for the Baa Ram Ewe stall in order to purchase a present for a good friend.  Saturday had been such a productive day with their Titus yarn that certain shades had sold out, including the one I was after.  Undeterred, I had a great time playing with colours and trying to decide on the right colour combination for Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl.

My plan of action when attending any yarn festival is to walk round all of the vendors once without purchasing and make a mental note of any ‘favourites’ before walking round for a second time to spend time investigating further and making any purchases.  This ‘purchase’ round can in practice, lead to a 3rd and possibly even a 4th lap of the stalls, depending on how strong the ‘pull’ of some yarn is 😉

With over 75 stalls to peruse I was a little spoilt for choice when it came to selecting goodies to bring home.

So what did I buy?

Too much as per usual including

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Well, I couldn’t resist the Edinburgh Yarn Festival cotton shopper.  You can never have too many project bags can you?

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I actually only bought the Tin Can Knits 9 Months of knitting book at the show, finding the other ones in a bargain book shop in the city.  I also purchased a couple of books on spinning and weaving in order to work on my ability in these areas.

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I was spoilt for choice with sock yarns, but was rather smitten by this hand dyed 4ply Blue Faced Leicester loveliness, from The Threshing Barn

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Hélène Magnússon’s class was the one I’d hoped to be able to attend, having missed the opportunity this time round it seemed only fair that I bought one of her beautiful knitting kits.  I opted for the Icelandic Spring Shawl in beautiful blues and greens.  The lace weight yarn is a rougher texture than we’re probably use to now and there was another softer option available, I wanted Icelandic authenticity and I’m sure it’ll soften with washing.

Scary lace weight it may be, but the pattern I’m happy to report, is knitted on 5mm’s

I did purchase a few more interesting items including more yarn, but you’ll have to wait until I’ve made the projects up.

Of course no short break is complete without taking in the sights, including Edinburgh Castle and a few of the yarn shops more on that in part 2.

Happy knitting!

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