We had a lovely two weeks in Norway mainly staying with our friends Kari and Peter in Uvdal and then Oslo. I had a look for some Norwegian wool but didn't really come across much. I did buy some in Uvdal but now find it's made in Italy! Not quite what I wanted to bring back but still lovely wool for felting. Shetland was a different experience. Wool and knitting is still highly valued there. I found a beautiful cobweb lace knitted shawl on the island of Yell and went to visit the lady who knitted it. A real heirloom piece to be treasured for many years to come. I am very inspired to knit one but need to get some other pieces finished first. The jumper for my husband is coming along nicely and once that's finished I'll start on socks again and get a few pairs in hand for Christmas.
Back to my Shetland purchases - I didn't come back with much wool, just a couple of balls hidden away in the bottom of my rucksack. What I couldn't hide was the spinning wheel and fleece! The spinning wheel is handmade by Hamish, again on the island of Yell and the fleece is from the woolbrokers in Lerwick. One slight problem is that I can't actually spin, but hey nothing ventured, nothing gained. The fleece cost £4 and weighs just under a kilo. As long as I don't take my hours of labour into account then I could end up knitting a lovely throw or knobbly wrap with my first lot of spun wool for just £4 (plus the cost of the wheel plus the carders I've just ordered, but who's counting?). I just need to learn to work the wheel! The fleece has now been washed in my bath and dried. It looks fabulous piled into a wicker basket on the floor beside the wheel. Very evocative. I have to keep imagining it turning into wool as I sit by the fire and spin!
I'm off to the Lakes this weekend, swimming! Hope the weather brightens up but then we'll be getting wet anyway. We're doing Buttermere, Crummock Water, Grasmere and Easdale Tarn. I'm going with a company called Swimtrek (http://www.swimtrek.com/). This will be my third trip with them and they are great. Really looking forward to it.
Happy knitting and happy swimming!