Commissions and voyages

I grew up in pre-oil boom Newfoundland and Labrador. Most of my friends from high school and university are scattered across Canada and around the world, simply because most opportunities were elsewhere.

So it was great to see my old buddy Gilbert in town. Gilbert is a pilot based in Nova Scotia, and his work takes him all over the globe. A few of us went out for a pint at the Duke of Duckworth to catch up.  Gilbert mentioned my knitting and wondered if I could make a pair of traditional Newfoundland trigger mitts for a retirement gift for one of his colleagues.

At which point, my friend Danielle added, “Yeah, Heather – I meant it when I asked if you could knit that sweater for me!”

Two commissions!

First, the trigger mitts, since the retirement gift was needed by the end of the month. I had been wanting to try one of the latest patterns from Spindrift Handknits, called the Wesleyville Trigger Mitt,  and this was the perfect chance.  

Everything went along smoothly, until I discovered I was running low on Briggs and Little Regal Yarn in Dark Grey.

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I did the 21st century thing – put out an appeal on Facebook, and within the day, I had bought enough dark grey from a friend’s stash to finish the project.

I’m just throwing it out there to all purveyors of knitting supplies in the St. John’s area: Briggs and Little REGAL yarn is an essential supply for all the traditional N.L. knits – If you stock it, we will buy it!!

Anyhow – back to the commissions. Danielle and I needed to go wool shopping.

Danielle is a visual artist, and I wanted her seal of approval for the colour of her February Lady Sweater.

An aubergine shade of Cascade 220 caught her eye.

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The Wesleyville Trigger Mitts are done and in the mail.

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Now I’m onto Danielle’s sweater. I’m really digging the colour.

As we were talking that night at the Duke of Duckworth, I mentioned that of all out of my friends, I have probably lived the most of my life in Newfoundland. Which is fine, but I think it would be nice to spend an extended period of time somewhere else, just for a change.

Gilbert said, “Well, just put the money for those triggers mitts in your trip fund.”

As for Danielle’s sweater, it’s already prepaid. You see, Danielle and her husband Jean-Marc lived for a couple of years in the south of France. My husband and I got to stay in their vacant apartment for a holiday a couple of years ago.

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I should probably knit Danielle’s entire wardrobe for the rest of her life.

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Travelling yarns, part deux

My knitting and I recently spent two weeks in Sete, in the south of France and Barcelona, Spain.

The south of France is known for its linen and other cloth textiles, but alas, I did not find any sign of local yarn. Most of the farmland I saw seemed to be devoted to grapevines, not sheep farming. Not that that’s a bad thing.

I thought about taking my knitting to the beach, then ruled it out. I’d get sand in the yarn.

So most of my knitting was done while we hung out under the hot sun on my friends’ balcony, drinking rose and listening to some music.

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However, I did take out my sock-in-progress on our train ride between Sete and Barcelona.

Two freshly retired couples got on at Narbonne, and took a set of seats diagonally from us. One of the women in the groups said to the other, in English, “Look, she’s knitting.”

Then they took out their knitting – one woman was knitting an afghan, the other, a scarf.

So of course we got to talking.

They were from Brisbane, Australia, and the two couples were on a post-retirement, around the world travel binge. They had just spend a few months at a rental in the south of France, and then they were heading to Barcelona to take a cruise.

Why they were a) knitting in the 30-degree plus summer weather and b) why they knit in sub-tropical Brisbane, I have no idea. The love of knitting knows no climate-related barriers.

We admired each other’s works in progress, swapped pattern ideas, and even had some conversation in French with a neighbouring passenger. The French lady was a knitter, too. Pretty soon our section of the rail car turned into a mobile, bilingual knitting party.

As we pulled into Barcelona Sants, one of the Australian women mentioned the group was taking another cruise in the fall, this one in the North Atlantic, with a scheduled stop in St. John’s.  Any must see knitting shops there?

I told her about Nonia, Cast On Cast Off and Wool Trends and then we parted ways, moving onward in our holidays.

It’s funny how knitting can overcome geography, language, and climate.

Perhaps the next G8 summit or world climate change talks should include knitting sessions. World leaders would probably get a lot more work done together.

 

Travelling yarns, part un

Yarn Cove has been busy for the past little while, making the most of the all-too-brief Newfoundland summer, and having an away adventure.

A last minute opportunity to take a holiday in the south of France and Spain came our way (yeah, life is hard in Yarn Cove) so immediately I planned out my Mediterranean knitting schedule.

First order of business: what knitting gear can you take on international flights? Air Canada says plastic knitting needles with rounded tips are acceptable.

Lion Brand Yarns also has some good travelling tips, and as it’s an American company, I figure their rules are pretty airtight, so to speak.

After figuring out which projects I would likely take on during the holiday (a beret, a toque and a pair of socks), I went to my local knitting shop and bought some needles.

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I was a little worried about the short 4.5 mm circular needle, as I wasn’t sure what material it was made of. So I cast on some stitches and knit a few rows of my beret pattern, just in case the CATSA workers at the airport had any doubt as to my intentions. But really, I can’t see any airport security staff in Newfoundland not recognizing knitting needles.

Anyhow, my bag went through security with no issue and off we went, to Toronto and then Barcelona.

The beret project kept me occupied on the red eye between Toronto and Barcelona and after some great progress, I managed to doze before landing.

We then had to transfer from airplane to train. Here I am knitting in Barcelona Sants, the city’s main train station, while waiting for the train.

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The world has changed quite a bit since I went backpacking in 1990, and Barcelona Sants had an airport security style x-ray system for our luggage. I hadn’t thought of that.

How do you say knitting in Spanish?

Anyhow, I kept my cool and I guess I looked non-threatening enough, so on we went, luggage and knitting, to the town of Sete, France.

More woolly aventures to come….