Autumn in Switzerland – Brienz Rothorn

My love of mountains, trees and steam trains comes together on the BRB! This narrow gauge track goes up the Rothorn from the lakeside town of Brienz. Almost all the engines are steam – little engines which push the two coaches up the mountain.

The first few hundred metres is through the town…

Briez Rothorn  002… and then the lake comes in view.

Soon the track snakes through the trees.

At this time of year the colours are amazing, and when I went up there was the added effect of the low cloud acting as mist.

Just as the mist thinned we came to one of the crossing points, where the track doubles to let the up and down trains cross.

Then on up out of the mist to glorious sunshine on the mountain tops.

Towards the top, we could see back to the cloud in the valley from where we had come.

At the top most folk went off to eat. I took photos of the trains…!

Briez Rothorn  014I then walked a short way up to the ridge, where there was a bench. Turn one way and you have this view:

Briez Rothorn  016Turn the other way and you have this:

Briez Rothorn  017And turn a bit further to see this:

Briez Rothorn  018I was up the top for a quite a while, and there was wall-to-wall sunshine the whole time. Great fun!

Autumn in Switzerland – Interlaken

Today was s’posed to be an easy day, but I still seemed to pack a lot in!

I started off to go up the Harder Kulm Funicular.  I have been to Interlaken many times, but I have never done this one before.  On my way I had to cross the River Aare, and had a good view of my hotel.

Swiss 1  001Once at the top the low cloud closed in.  So I took some close up shots.

PhotoELF Edits: 2015:10:08 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeAs I walked and sat at the top, the cloud came and went, giving glimpses of the hills and valleys.

There is a viewing platform which one has to share with a cow!

She has a lovely face…!

As I walked towards the funicular to go back down, the clouds lifted further, and gave views of Interlaken and Wilderswil.

On the way down I sat at the front of the car, and saw some wonderful views.  Nothing, though, gives the idea of the steepness of the track!

 At the half way point, the ascending and descending cars pass.

While up on the hill I had seen paragliders taking off.  They land in the centre of Interlaken, and I spent quite  time watching them coming in to land.

Swiss 1  010Then, walking along the street minding my own business, my eyes focused on this:

So I had to go….

It was a tiny space crammed full of all sorts of yarns – a wonderful collection.

As I sat and had my lunch, I had a companion on the bench with me!

Then it was time for my chocolate workshop at the Funky Chocolate Club, a shop in the centre of town run by two girls with a passion for good chocolate.

It was great fun.

And these were my three efforts, still warm at this stage.

I have to go back for my bars tomorrow or Saturday.

Two New Patterns

Dotty Set and Crescent shawl 001

When I have a pattern in a magazine, I put all the files in a folder ready to put out in my format under my name later. Recently I found a couple that I thought I had already put out. I hadn’t – but I have now!

The first is the Dotty Hat and Collar. This was in Knit Edge a while ago.

Dotty Set and Crescent shawl 002It is knitted in Cascade Superwash 220, but works with other DK yarns. The lace trim is worked first, then the crown is picked up and knitted upwards. The hat can be worn with the brim up, or with it down. There are four sizes to fit from toddler to adult, and as it is knitted in garter stitch, it is very stretchy, and each size will accommodate a variety of heads.

Dotty Set and Crescent shawl 003The collar is the first one I knitted in the wedge shape I have used several times since. It is knitted from the tip, and can be stopped at the end of any repeat of the lace edging. As large holes make up the pattern, any of these can be used to fasten the collar, so it can be worn in a variety of different ways. The fastening I have used is two buttons back-to-back, so they can be moved anywhere, or not used at all.

Dotty Set and Crescent shawl 004
The second pattern is the Sharks Tooth Crescent Shawl. This was in The Knitter a while ago, and is made up in Fyberspates Cumulus, a haloed lace weight. Other suitable yarns include Rowan Kid Silk Haze, or many 4 ply yarns.

Dotty Set and Crescent shawl 005

This is knitted from tip to tip. Although the pattern has only one size, it is easy to adjust the size by working more or fewer lace repeats on the increase/decrease section, or the straight section, or both.

Both patterns are available in my Ravelry store and my Etsy shop.

Flotta in Summer

The weather has been awful this spring and summer. Cold and very wet. But there have been a few nice days, and some interesting skies. These are a few photos taken on my everyday dog walks.

One walk takes us along a track running above the harbour. The nearer pier is used by commercial boats while the link span (for the ferry) is the one further back.

On a different day, the light was completely different. The island of Fara with the Hoy hills behind.

I had visitors one day, and the ‘guns’ were very popular!

July 15  003
I often park here, and walk along the track. The views over to South Walls are always changing with changing weather. This is one of the two Martello towers under the sun’s spotlight….

July 15  004
…. and on another day it was the lighthouse which was highlighted.

July 15  005
One beauty of constantly changing weather is the rainbows. One day the bow was spectacular, with very bright colours.

July 15  006
It was a full bow, and this was the other end:

July 15  007
A few yards further on I got a better view of what was actually at the end of the rainbow. An Arctic Skua!

July 15  008

The weather hasn’t always been bad. One evening we went out quite late and the Highland cattle were grazing close to the path.

July 15  009
I cannot resist taking loads of photos of these animals! All have slightly different shaped horns….

Then over the horizon came the bull. So here is a family group!!

And finally, for those of you on Ravelry I thought I might change my Ravitar for the summer. Not much difference!!

July 15  012

Centenary Stitches Nominated for an Award

Northern Lace Press’s book of World War 1 knitting patterns has been nominated for Best British Knitting Book in the Best of British Knitting Awards 2015.

PhotoELF Edits:2014:09:07 --- Save - Overwrite --- resize

It is a huge honour to have been nominated, especially as the book was published by a small press, not one of the major players.

But now we need your help!

The award is voted for by members of the public. That means YOU (and all your friends!)


Over 100 people were involved with the project, putting in thousands of hours work. It would be great if we could make a good showing.

To vote, click here. You need to vote for other categories too, but that should be easy enough! Jamison and Smith were one of the companies who gave us yarn for the project, so a vote for them would not go amiss!!

I would be very grateful if you would vote, and tell all your friends and relations about it.  If you haven’t seen the book, there are more details on the Northern Lace Press website here.  Thank you.

The last day for voting is 5th September.

Exploring Shawl Shapes – 27 mini shawls to knit

Exploring Shawl Shapes cover

Finally, my new book is available for pre-order! On the Northern Lace Press website.

As some of you know, this book has been in the pipeline for a good while. I started by collecting the patterns for mini shawls from all over my computers. I then realised that, with a bit more work, I had the makings not just of a booklet, but of a book. Over the past few months I have been making the additional shawls to make the collection as complete as possible. I have been helped in this by two knitters from my Ravelry group – Su Lambert and Jenny Vowles – and by Elly Doyle. Su knitted the Pi Shawl; Jenny knitted the Orenburgh shawl and Elly knitted the Wedge Circle.  I am very grateful to them, to Patricia Williams for hand-spinning the yarn for the coloured square, and to Judith Brodnicki for doing the page design.

As well as using mini shawls for workshops on the regional traditions, I have used them for workshops on the different shapes of shawl. I split the shapes into three families – triangles, squares and circles. The book gives examples of the main methods of working for all these shapes. Many of them can be made larger fairly simply, and the book gives suggestions of how to do this. Empty charts of the different shapes are also given, so you can copy these to create your own versions.

Here are pictures of some of the shawls in the book.

Exploring Shawl Shapes 01Exploring Shawl Shapes 002Exploring Shawl Shapes 001Exploring Shawl Shapes 013Exploring Shawl Shapes 012Exploring Shawl Shapes 011Exploring Shawl Shapes 010PhotoELF Edits: 2015:06:08 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeExploring Shawl Shapes 02Exploring Shawl Shapes 007PhotoELF Edits: 2015:06:08 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeFrom the blurb (which I didn’t write!!):

“Over the years, Liz has delighted students with the use of mini shawls to teach the construction of shawls. For the first time, knitters unable to travel to Orkney for Liz’s workshops can enjoy her shawl lessons along with many other techniques and styles designed specially for this book.”

This book includes
• Mini shawls of all shapes and a variety of constructions
• Points from the pro for finishing
• Instructions on how to resize most patterns to be full-size shawls
• Blank charts for designing your own
• Extra patterns for practicing your new skills

96 pages, 27 patterns, full colour throughout
ISBN 978-0-9930614-7-9

See photos of all the designs, errata that we know about, and order the book here.

Exploring Shawl Shapes cover

Flotta in May

Scapa Flow sunset

May has not been a good month for me. I am sorry for the silence, but for the past 5 weeks I have had a chest infection which will not go. (Yes, doctors etc are involved!)

There have been signs of spring. Some signs, like the lambs. These are pure Shetlands which live free range on West Hill.

001. first hill lambsThe Skuas have also returned. These are large sea birds which breed on the island. The Arctic Skua is the smaller of the two main breeds. It comes in two forms – light phase and dark phase – and both breed here. This is a light phase Arctic Skua on the nest.

002. Artic SkuaThe Great Skuas are known locally as Bonxies. They are big birds which prey on smaller ones. One result of this on Flotta is a smaller number of Eider Duck, as the Bonxies devour the chicks. They tend to nest on slight hillocks in the heather.

003. Bonxie on nestThis one was sitting on the bank by the road. I was only a few feet away before it took off.

004. bonxie taking offTowards the end of the month I had people over and we went puffin hunting one evening. Typically the puffins did not cooperate – I saw one disappear into its burrow but by the time I had told folk where to look it had gone! But we did explore some of the WW2 ruins. This is one of the gun emplacements guarding the entrance to Scapa Flow.

005. gun emplacementThe next evening we saw a cruise ship, the Corinthian, pass between Hoy and Flotta.

006. Corinthian passing HoyWith the very late spring, some of the roadside narcissi bloomed through to the end of the month.

PhotoELF Edits: 2015:06:03 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeThese are on the side of the road along which I take the dogs each night. In this photo I have boxed my house.

008. narsissi with my houseBut the key feature of the month has been the weather. Cold, wet and windy. With rain, rain and more rain.

009. rain cloudsThe dogs had the right idea….

010. Isla asleep010. Meg relaxedWhen the sun did appear it was welcomed!

011. kitchenAnd we did get some lovely rainbows – this one taken from West Hill.

012. rainbowWe got some lovely skies too. This photo, from Stanger head looking west, was taken by Elly Doyle.

013. Red sky at StangerAnd this is the view over the oil holding tanks at the terminal.

015. sunset