Thursday, August 10, 2017

Would it be called 'Tehcorc'ing?

  Going through my craft room has brought out more yarn that I don't feel the need to keep for myself.  If no one else grabs them, I'm sure Tammy will to make cat beds out of.

  I had a reluctant model for my shrug.  Autumn looked adorable in it, but didn't want to stand up and show it off.  The sleeves were a tiny bit too long for her, but since the body had a bit of extra width, I think I made it a good size.

  Some stitch holders were being given away.  My mom took them to take to Cathy so she can use them for her knitting students.  One interesting thing is that the holders are facing two ways.  I always just thought they were all made the same, just different lengths.  I never noticed different directions before.  I wonder why they do that.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Shrug and a Shawl so Fast You Didn't Even See it.

  I made my mind up and finished the shrug.  I continued with the one side being one stich smaller than the other.  I used the cable pattern I found on Aran Muster and even found a mistake in the chart.  The cable on stitches 35-40 on row 33 should cross the other way.  The chart key is in German, but if you've done some cabling from charts before, you can just look at the rows and figure out what they want you to do.

  I've also finished my Impulse Scallop Shawl, but ran into some problems.  It is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be.  Normally I would just do a soaking wash and let it dry on the guest bedroom.  However, since I am working on getting my craft storage room organized, the guest room is packed full.
  I got my first shelving unit and got things on it, but it didn't go as far as I was hoping.  I didn't get anything from the hall, guest room, or other rooms onto those shelves.  I mostly moved things that were still in the room over onto the shelves.  This does help to uncover things that can be moved out of plastic bags into proper containers or put into a donate/sell/give away pile.  It also frees up more floor space.  Once enough has been cleared I will be able to get more units in there.
  I'm also aware that doing it this way might mean that I will have too many shelving units in the end.  That if I had taken the time to go through each thing that are already in bins, that I might have been able to fit more into that one unit.  To me, that feels like I would get overwhelmed quickly and I wouldn't make enough progress.  My goal right now is to also try and get as much as I can into one room, then I will be able to tackle the individual bins a lot easier.  I can always use any extra shelves or bins for something else, or pass them on.

  I was scanning through the blog because I remember complaining about this shawl when I taught the class.  I must have done that elsewhere because I can't find any word of it on here.  I was hoping that I had linked to the pattern.  I know that they have used both Red Heart and Lion Brand patterns in classes before.  They change the name of the pattern sometimes as well.
  I usually will try and find it based on the name on the pattern and link it here.  It seems that this shawl happened so fast that I didn't even mention it.  I knew when I finished this one that I wanted to try one out of a thicker yarn.  The pattern called for a rather large hook and worsted weight yarn.  We gave it a try but it was coming out way too loosely.  We switched to some smaller hooks and checked the pattern again.
  When we looked at the picture for the class, it showed the shawl being nice and big and plush.  It was hard to tell scale in the picture on the pattern because it was just laid flat, like the picture I took above.  We then came to realise that they meant for us to use the bulk version of the yarn.
  Well, before starting my second one of these, I had some other projects to finish, so it was a bit before I got to this one.  Since then, I seem to have misplaced the written pattern.  Writing this means that the moment I finish the second one I will find it and it will have been in some very obvious place.

  I worked the two rows enough on the first one that I mostly remember how to do it.  I had to do some back thinking to try and remember how it started.  I know I did the center section of the first few rows incorrectly, but it isn't such a big deal that I felt the need to start over.  We shall see if I like the fabric or if I should move to a bigger hook.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Forgotten Yarn

   I know I started this blog so I would have a place to show off the things I made and donated to charity.  I did post once, some crafty items that I didn't make, but donated.  I'm wondering if I should list any of the items that I didn't make and aren't craft related that I donate.
  Above is a picture of some tops I got for free a while ago.  I was going through Craig's List and saw someone giving away a big bag of shirts.  I saw a few I liked and got the bag.  I have since pulled out the two tops I liked and these have just been sitting around.  I did a second go-through to see if my style has changed enough that I might like any more of them.  Nope, still feel like I would never wear them.
  I had them listed on LetGo for a while and no one has even expressed some passing interest.  I wondered how long I should let them sit, since I've contacted people about items that were listed for over a month.  I decided the other day to list them for sale on Craig's List.  The listing is good for seven days.  If they don't sell in that time they will be getting donated.  I have a pair of boots that I will be doing similar to.
  Now, after all that, back to what I was wondering.  Would it be okay to post those things on here?  I am donating them, but I didn't make them.  I also know that this is my blog and I've gone off into left field many times on here before.

  I was walking through my kitchen and saw a large plastic bag.  When I peaked inside I saw some poor yarn that had been forgotten.  This bag was supposed to also come with me to K&CC.
  I asked Bill if he was shocked that I was getting rid of yarn.  His first answer was that since I said I was going to do it, that he wasn't shocked that I actually did it.  I then clarified that I wanted to know if he was shocked when I said I was going to do it.  He said he was.  Nice to know I can still keep him on his toes.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Because it is Funnier This Way.

  I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I started with the small ball of yarn I had instead of a whole skein.  I wanted to minimize the risk of having multiple small balls if I didn't use all 6 full skeins.  This also meant that if I was at the end of skein three and was in the center, then there would be a good chance that I wouldn't have enough.

  I took this picture earlier today.  I am in the exact center.  Once I do the second side of the wedge I am working on, I can start decreasing.  See that small amount of a skein left right below it on the couch?  That is skein number two.  I am passing the center and have not yet even touched skein number three.
  Like I said before, while I was wondering if I was even going to have enough, I was also thinking it was going to be funny if I had a bunch extra.  I could make it bigger and work one or two more increase sections, but I won't because that would make it super huge.  I tried it on by holding it over one shoulder.  It is a very nice size right now.  We'll just have to see how much I have left over once I'm done.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No Longer Melting

  Everyone was saying that I should call someone to look at our outside unit.  I should probably get someone to check it over at some point, we have been in our house for almost 9 years, but I kept putting it off.
  Bill was in and out all of last night and looking things up on the internet.  I was hoping that since the same thing happened before we left for Scotland (and then magically fixed itself) that it would fix itself again.

  It is bad if they look like this.  The top is supposed to be flat and recessed a little.  He pulled this one out while I took notes about what wires went to what.  Once the new one was in and the emergency pull for the power was put back in, it jumped back to life.

  My plan for my Impulse Scallop Shawl is to try and not run out of yarn.  The pattern says I should use about 1600 yards of yarn.  I have some less than that, but I'm also not using the same yarn.  It isn't even the same weight, so I'm also not using the same needles either.  I have six full skeins and a small ball left over from the cowl I made.
  My plan is to check where I am in the pattern when I get near the end of skein three.  If I'm not at the center of the shawl or past the center, it just might have to be a bit shorter than the pattern calls for.  What would be really funny is if I have a bunch left over once I'm done.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I'm Doing a Bit Better at This.

  Normally the picture below would be followed by some thing about how I got all this great yarn to use for charity and a story about how I got it.

  This is not a normal post about yarn at all because all that yarn is stuff that I pulled out of my stash and brought to K&CC earlier today.  I had the grand plan to use a lot of the Team Spirit yarn (hard to see, but that is what most of the bag is made of) to make a bunch of different hats.  I managed to make two and while that was fun, I quickly ran out of steam on that plan.

  I also had a mishap with one of them.  I tried to wash it.  I bet a lot of you are either rolling your eyes or sadly shaking your head about it.  The band had become gross and I didn't know if hand washing would be enough.  The yarn was structurally fine, just didn't want to risk anything.

  It took most of the day, but I got that mess sorted.  It didn't help that our AC unit is having problems.  The inside fan is blowing cool air, but the house isn't giving the outside unit enough power to get it started.  Tank loved that the windows were left open all night.
  Somehow through all of that, I got the shrug worked on and finished the body.  Today at K&CC I picked up along the opening and finished the ribbing for the body.  Since Tank has laid on it and chewed on the yarn at various points, it is now soaking in some sudsy water.
  I'm really excited to start the Impulse Scallop Shawl, and hopefully my AC will be back to full strength before it gets too big.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Organizing is Hard Work!

  I have been trying to figure out how to get all of my yarn and other craft items organized and neatly stowed away.  Bill doesn't appreciate looking at bins of it all over the house as much as I would like.
  This means that I have to pull out all the bags and bins that have been just thrown into the extra room haphazardly so I can fit shelves in there.  Then I get to go through the bags and such and put it into plastic bins which will get labels.  I've not gotten very far, but I've already gotten rid of some stuff.

  Look at this wonderful picture Andrea took of my Better Together.  I did the last diamonds in my own way and I like how they came out.
  If anyone noticed, I didn't include the shrug in my last list of things I have coming up.  I'm still not sure if I want to keep going or go back and do it with the stitch I had dropped.  If I leave it in time out for a bit and then look at it later, I think it will help me to decide.
  I've also almost finished one of the wraps I was commissioned to do.  I'm not totally happy with how it came out so I'm trying another similar version.  Luckily I had a lot of yarn to work with.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Passive Money

  A few of the people I follow on various forms of social media have various forms of passive money.  It usually has to do with something they did once; a logo, or ebook that then sells off of a website.  I have had a bit of that with the two pay knitting patterns I have up on Ravelry.  I know I had plans on putting up more at this point, but I keep getting distracted.
  I do have the yarn I need for it, so once I finish the Better Together shawl, a commission knit, a little leafy dress, and the Impulse Scallop Shall, then I should have time for it.  It also gives me a bit more time to decide if I want to make it into a half or full circle shawl.
  Bill has taken a bunch of really nice pictures while we were on vacation and I thought it would be really cool for him to do something with them.  I know a lot of cosplayers sell prints online and that is how they get most of their money.  I know that Bill would rather be seeing the sights than stuck in a cubicle, so I thought this might be a neat idea.  Do both for a while and if the photos become popular enough, switch over to that.  Don't know if he will try it out or not.

  Two of my neighbors have put their houses up for sale recently.  One sold really quickly (the one I saw before we left for Scotland) and the other has been listed for a few weeks, but has had no real bites yet.  At first I was a bit bummed because of the picture above.  I didn't know that Gail crocheted and of course I learn about it as they are leaving.
  When I talked to her I got some good news.  They aren't in a huge hurry to get their house sold.  This means that I got to tell her about Wednesday knit-night and tell her that I also crochet.  She was really interested in it and might come out some Wednesday and hang out.
  I also got to learn more about what she makes.  She got tired of just crocheting afghans for people and they got tired of receiving them.  She then started making bears for Mother Bear Project.  The bears can be either knitted or crocheted.  I told her I would keep an eye out for some bear colors at the Free Yarn Event that was in the plans for later in the day.

  One of my friends told me about this and we decided to check it out.   My mom was worried that if we got there too late that all the yarn would be gone.  I was less worried about that even though it wasn't mentioned anywhere how much yarn or what kinds there would be.
  The picture above is about how it looked when we got there.  This doesn't show any of the yarn taken by people who got there before us and it doesn't show the many bins of yarn that were brought out while we were browsing.  There was a ton of Homespun.  I have a love/hate relationship with that stuff.  I love the way it feels, but the twisted texture isn't very friendly to work with if you hold the yarn in a tight manner.  There were also a bunch of fluffy bulky yarns and some Red Heart Super Saver.  It seems the yarn was in bags which had to be generally sorted and put into the bins, that is why it was taking a bit for them to get it all out.
  The pervious owner of the yarn had gone to stores when they were closing or going out of business and buying all their yarn.  The amount of yarn that has gone unused may look impressive, but it turned out that she has made over 300 prayer shawls for her local Prayer Shawl Ministry.  That is super impressive and also explained why most of the yarns she had were nice and soft.
  Later in the day they posted on the Event page that all the yarn has found new homes.  It was really hard for me to not grab all of the bulky yarn since there were so many fun colors and it is so nice to work with.  I did grab a few colors and hope to figure out what to do with them soon.  I'm glad Ravelry has the search features that it does.  Put in the yarn, how much I have, and also have the option to put in what kind of item I might have in mind.  So nice!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Wish I Remembered What The Commercial Was For...

  During one of our down night's in Scotland I saw a really funny commercial.  It starts with the guy looking at a clock doing the usual "If I fall asleep right now, I will get 5 hours of sleep."  It then cuts to him in his brain like a control center asking for the statistics.  Someone hands him a sheet of paper and tells him that if he falls asleep right now he will get 4.5 hours of sleep.  He says "Let's Do It" and someone says "Bring on the sheep."  Someone shoves a sheep into a spotlight, everyone in the command center turn to it and they all say "One!" together.

   I wanted to take a picture of the wraps before I took them out.  I thought that part looked odd when I was looking at the picture of the finished shawl on the pattern, but it wasn't a big deal.  I don't know if I just wrapped mine too loosely or what, but I really don't like the way it looked.

  I definitely like how this looks better.  I really like how the second set of slipped stitches seem to come out from no where.  I know there are probably a lot of people out there who would like to make it have some sort of transition and the wrapped stitches will definitely give you that.

  I was starting to get nervous about how much green was left.  I was hoping to get to the last row needing it with only a small tail left.  If that was not possible I was hoping to get at least 2 or 3 rows with only the tan being slipped with a small tail left over.
  I got none of these things.  I got one row without the green being slipped and had enough green to get about 3/4 of a row done.  So now it is bouncing around on the back in a butterfly bundle until I get annoyed and cut it off.
  Something else I would change would be how the diamond shape is done.  I would have slipped the stitch before my slipped one on the right side of the marker and the one after on the left side for one row before my first twists during the last purl row.  I then would have followed the pattern until I got to the top of the diamonds.  I also did only a twist to the right or left at joining point of the diamonds.  I might have followed the pattern if I hadn't started them early, but I was worried that I was going to decrease too many or too early.
  I also decided to do it sooner since I ran out of green early.  I'm doing it 9 times instead of the 6 I would be doing it if I had waited.  I like the fact that it isn't hard to do something like that if it is needed.  I also would only slip the stitch that would go on the back of the last twist of a diamond during the twist stage, but not past it.
  I might also do the sizing of the diamonds a bit differently.  I think it would be fun to do the first level of diamonds with one more step outward, the second as written, and the last one with only one step out and in.  Then continue with straight lines.  Maybe next time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Heading Home from Scotland.

  The Taxi was scheduled for 8am and we were there in time to see a Taxi pull in.  Turns out it wasn’t ours so we waited for our taxi and he waited for his passengers.  We all waited long enough without anyone else showing up that he just told us to get in since we were heading to the airport and that was really close.
  We got breakfast at the airport and I got a croissant that was both more flaky and more substantial than any I have had before.  It was really good and I wish I could get it at home.
 We got in too early for our flight to have an assigned terminal, so we hung out for a while.  Bill even entered to win a car.

  I am a huge fan of planes that have the sections with the middle seat being used as elbow room/tray table.  I gives everyone in the row more room to put things and even be able to stretch their legs to the sides some.  It also means that if you have two people who know each other (or can agree) you can share the center seat’s underfoot area and get more stored away near you and not have to put it above.

  I am very picky about my potato salads.  Turns out I liked the one on our first flight.  I think it is because it tasted like potatoes mixed with cream.  You could actually taste the potatoes and not just mayo.  The dessert was also nice, a layered thing with blended mango under a layer of blended strawberry all topped with vanilla yogurt.
  Since I didn’t want a full lunch on the plane we stopped in at Wagamama and I got the roast duck donburi.  It was really good.
  Our next stop in all of our wondering was to go to the Harry Potter store.  I didn’t think I was going to get anything, but then saw a Hufflepuff keychain with the 9¾ on the back.

  We didn’t have to go through security again.  I wonder if it is because we already went through security once while on the continent and last time we came from another one.
  The long flight back was on a similar, but older plane.  I had planned on charging my phone so I could keep my row counter going, but it looks like I don’t get to.  The dividers are also down the middle again.  It makes me feel like I don’t have any under-seat storage and that I’m just encroaching on the space of both people beside me.  Luckily I know both of them.  The screens are also obviously older and the seats are a bit more narrow.  It means that I was hitting the volume button randomly until I pulled the remote out and hung it next to my legs.
  At one point Heather commented that I was getting farther on my shawl than she was expecting.  Seeing how long it took me to cast on and get the first row correct, I have to say that I am too.
  The process to come back into the country has been semi-automated.  You scan your passport, answer some questions, then it takes your picture and compares it to your passport photo.  For some reason mine had a huge X on it.  I figured I wasn’t allowed back.   The next step is to wait in line for an official person to check your computer print out and let you pass.  He was also confused why mine had an X on it.
  One amusing thing while in line was some guy who was having a bad time.  At one point he threw down his bag and than made big exaggerated arm motions at the guy at the desk.  He really had it when the guy had to leave the desk to get a fan.  He started going off on the girl who was telling people which line to go to about how he was an American and that he shouldn’t have to wait in this line for so long.  He didn’t seem to care when she pointed out that everyone else in line was also an American.
  At least the line wasn’t a two to four hour wait and I am home.  It was a bit weird because I was just getting used to the cars and drivers being on the other side of the road, but not too bad.
  We also think we have figured out Nessy's secrets.  She isn't really a huge thing which would be easy to find.  She is really quite small.  That is why she can hide so well.  It also explains why the pictures taken of her are so grainy and bad, it is becase they had to zoom in so much to catch her on film.  Sorry Nessy.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Scotland Day 13: Last Full Day

  I had a good night’s rest and a very artistic breakfast.  I didn’t know you could mold scrambled eggs into a cylinder, but they did.  One thing that was annoying was that my shoes weren’t dry from our walk yesterday, so I had soggy shoes to start my morning.

  There were some fun boats to look at outside our hotel.  I took a few pictures while Bill checked us out.  Most were little motorboats, but there was this one sail boat.  I’ve noticed that a lot of the sailboats I have seen all have dark sails.  Now, I don’t know if that is a stripe or not because they have all been rolled up.
  One of the power boats was circling it’s mooring all night.  I don’t know if it was doing a full 360° but it was definitely doing more than 180°.  That doesn’t seem quite right.

  Sterling Castle was pretty interesting.  They have these carved wooden portraits that used to be painted and some even had gold studs in them.  They used to hang from the ceiling, but are in cases currently.

  The Kelpie statues were a lot bigger than I was expecting.  You could walk around and take pictures for free, but if you paid you could get to go inside and up to one of the eyes.  You get to see how they are constructed as well.  I liked the fact that they were made with pieces and you could see bits of sky through them.

  Our last night is in at the Novotel where they want to look very futuristic.  The wall behind the check-in desk had LED circles which change color.  The headboard on the beds also has a little arm-rest like thing that serves as an end table and little cut outs for light above.
  The desk also has a section that swings out and makes it into a T shaped desk.  Though they only gave us one chair that can be used at the desk.  The bathroom has two doors, but they both fit in the same size as a single normal door.  One very skinny side has a mirror and the other can just be used as a door to enter or leave.
  For dinner we walked over to KFC.  Yup, we have one across the street.  Nothing jumped out at me, so I just ate some of Bill’s fries.  I then wanted to go to Krispy Kreme because their Hot Light was on.  When we walked in I saw that they were making the filled ones.  I didn’t get any because I like the glazed hot off the line and want to eat it before it gets cold.  The filled ones have to cool before you can fill them, so they are fresher, but not warm.
  Later I got hungry and just went over to the Tesco near the TKMaxx we stopped in at to get more luggage.  Turns out we are bringing back more souvenirs than will fit.
  I got two grab-and-go sandwiches and a Volvic Touch of Juice.  It was a very nice dinner.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Scotland Day 12: Haggis Pizza

  I know it was earlier in the day and they are being considerate for anyone who wants to sleep in, but I was disappointment that they didn’t ring the gong to signal the beginning of breakfast.  They did it for dinner last night.
  I was happy to have gotten to the part of the pattern where I added a new color while in the room.  That way I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to add a new color while winding down the small island roads.  The long drive ahead of us would have been a waste if I had been stuck without knitting.

  Caisteal Maol was just off the bridge to and from Skye.  We couldn’t find any good parking for it, so we actually took some of the better pictures while sitting in the car idling in the section of road we were using to turn around and head to the main road. 
  We saw another pretty waterfall and pulled off to see if we could find it again.  It was easy to see from the road, but a hill was in the way when in the pull-off.  I got reminded again that my shoes are not good for things like this.  I didn’t think to check before I packed them, but it seems they have mesh in the slots.  Bill thinks it is to help cool when jogging.  I find it not useful for Scotland.

  The Well of Seven Heads was unobtrusive and hard to be fully appreciated by tall people.  There was a monument to it that could been seen from the road.  There was then a set of stairs that lead to the well itself.  The was an arched tunnel that lead to the well itself.  I could fully stand in the first section and had to duck a little to get in the second section to see the well.
  On our drive past Loch Lochy (yes, that is what it is called) we passed a spot that had a snack van.  The food truck was called Burger Queen.

  We made a pit stop at the Spean Bridge Woollen Mill and while we were there we decided to take a look around the gift shop.  There was a weaving exhibition also going on.  The resident weaver was also in and working on a piece when I walked by.
  There was also a section that had scotch and two of them had tasters.  One of them tasted like honey.  I had Heather try it and she was also amazed that it tasted like honey.  This lead to everyone trying the Bruadar Malt Whiskey Liqueur and then buying some.

  At some point near the beginning of the trip we mentioned something about me trying haggis pizza.  We tried going to another pizza place the other day, but they needed reservations.  We stopped at the Crianlarich Hotel for lunch and they had a Highlander pizza.  It had haggis, black pudding, Ayrshire bacon, and Locherbie cheddar.  It was really good and I even finished my half of the pizza.

  Where we are staying at wasn’t originally in the plan during stage one.  But we didn’t want to drive for about five hours then get on a plane for eight hours.  I’m glad we are here.  The rooms have a lot of purple plaid, purple pillows, a purple lamp, and even a purple kettle.  The beds also feel nice and soft.
  The one thing that we are not happy about is that each device only gets one hour of internet for free per day.

  The guy at the front desk of Achray told us that there was a walk up to a scenic overlook.  The guys wanted to go and I was also interested in what there was to see.  It was fun and though it was rainy and hard to see, it was still a pretty view.  I also liked the short walk through town.  There was even a brewery, but they seemed to be closed at that time.

 Dinner was done at the hotel since it was just easier.  We all got an espresso cups worth of white bean and chorizo soup.  I got the cauliflower fritters, they were formed into patties with herby tomato sauce and a slab of cheese.  I also got a side salad and a small frier basket of fries.  They were the best I’ve had yet.  I didn’t want it at first, but couldn’t resist the Banoffee Pie.  It is banana with toffee and is amazing!  It didn’t last long enough for a picture.  I will need to make it at home.
 The bed is so soft and is calling my name.  I think I will knit until I fall asleep.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scotland Day 11: Fairy Pools in the Morning.

  We knew that the Fairy Pools were popular and that there was not a lot of parking so we decided to get to it early.  We asked if we could get the To-Go Breakfast option and the lady seemed really worried when they didn’t have 8 rolls, but only 6.  We told her it was fine.
  We arrived and there were a few other people, but there were also a few open parking spots.  The walk up was very pretty and there were a few spots where the shorter people got to hop on rocks to get over some small streams.  One guy said he got there about 6am and there was already someone there even then.
  The pools themselves are a series of waterfalls of various sizes, and the pools or streams they create.  It is a really pretty walk with some really beautiful places with more than one waterfall within viewing distance at a time.
  As we were leaving there were more and more people passing us to go up.  The parking lot was definitely full and people were starting to get creative with their parking.  Some had better ideas than others; the middle of the road being one of the worse ones.  We got to watch this from our spot in a more secluded parking area as we ate our bagged breakfasts.
  The boys made a stop in at the Talisker distillery while Heather and I got tea from the tiny shop/shed across the street.

  Dunvegan Castle was another that you were not allowed to take pictures while inside of.  One thing I saw while in there was a Knockin’ Stane.  It was a stone about three feet wide with a good sized dip in the middle.  It was used to process grain.  Then in another room I saw a Singer Sewing machine.  It was one of the ones secured to a table and powered by treadle.
  While we were in one of the gift shops we saw one of the boards used for whiskey tasting flights sold separately from the glasses.  All the other places have only had the sets, which were expensive and we have a bunch of the glasses at home.  I told Bill to get the board alone because then he could hold fancy whisky tastings at home.  This one is curved and looks like it was made from a cask stave.
  We had considered going on a Seal Tour.  Not the Navy kind, but the lay in the sun kind.  The group in front of us was a group of 6 and the next one they could get fit on was over an hour later.  Since there was a good chance that our group of four would have space even later than that, we decided not to.

  Fairy Glen was a lot of fun for me.  There was a pond with a little tree that sheep liked to drink out of.  There was also a very large rock, pictured above, that people liked to climb and take pictures of the surrounding area from.  I also got some really good pictures of sheep and their lambs.

  One guy saw a pair over a ridge and yelled “SHEEP!”  When the lamb got scared and scampered off he called after it asking where it was going.  Definitely going away from the loud scary thing.

  Loch Snizort Béag Lake was something we had to drive by and take pictures of.  It wasn’t because it was overly impressive or pretty to look at, but how amazing is the name?

  Everyone else wanted to go back into town for a bit before our hotel reservations for dinner.  I didn’t really need anything so I stayed in the room and knitted, update the blog some, ate one of my Kinder Eggs, and just enjoyed the view from our room.
  I feel like Kinder Eggs are being made a bit more durable these days.  I remember when I first found them, if they were jostled too hard the chocolate coating would get broken and you wouldn't get that joy of breaking it open yourself.  One of the ones I have been carrying around felt like it got a dent in it that I knew wasn't there before.  I figured I would eat it first since it was most likely broken.  When I unwrapped it I found that the chocolate had dented a bit, but not broken.  I'm pretty impressed.

  Our dinner at the hotel was really good.  I had the soup, the fish, and then the sticky toffee pudding for dessert.  The soup was nice and light and had a swirl of cream on top.  The fish was nice, but I liked the nut topping best.  The sides were not what I was expecting; small white potatoes with cream coating, roasted butternut squash with onions, and zucchini julienned with a slight onion flavor to them.  The dessert was awesome, but that was to be expected.
  We get to sleep in some since the in-hotel breakfast isn’t until 8:30am.  Time to get a bunch of knitting done.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scotland Day 10: On The Bridge to Skye

  On the menu for the hot foods at the hotel there was an option for French Toast and either bacon or mushrooms.  The menu assured us that the mushroom option was a Must Try.  I just can’t picture mushrooms and syrup going well together.  I was not brave enough to try it.  Neither was anyone else, even though two of us got the French Toast.
  On our drive we saw some elk.  Finally!  There have been signs to watch out for them crossing the road all the time, but we had not seen a one of them.  We have now passed a small herd of six.  Since they blended in with the landscape there wasn’t time to pull out cameras.

  As I’m working Better Together more it feels more and more like it would be easy to knit from the top down.  I would just always double wrap the increase on the edges because you would be increasing every row.  I would also consider double wrapping the center stitch on the second ‘plain’ row since you would slip it so many times after a double increase.
 The curl in the ends reminds me of fiddle-heads.

  Eilean Donan Castle was one of the ones that didn’t take our Adventure Passes so we would have had to pay to get in.  Since there was no photography allowed inside we all decided it wasn’t worth going in.  It had also started raining as we were walking in towards it and was really raining when we were done taking pictures of the bridge and the outside.

  This was a random spot we saw on our drive.  We were behind some slow traffic, so it’s not like we even really lost a lot of time by stopping.

  Viewfield House Country Hotel is pretty impressive.  They also have a tub, so I get to take a nice long soak tonight.  We checked in and tried to find lunch.  It seems that downtown Portree is just full.  We couldn’t find any empty parking spots that weren’t for a church.
 To further re-enforce this, every place with a room to stay said “No Vacancies”.  We ended up walking down to town and finally found a restaurant that was opened before 5pm.  I had my second round of mince and tatties.  The walk wasn’t too bad since part of it was a wooded area.

   We got stuck behind a caravan of caravans on our way to the Old Man of Storr.  A long queue makes the passing places a lot less effective.  The place was super busy and we decided to try for it tomorrow morning.  It was also raining and taking a picture of a rock in front of another rock is difficult when there isn’t good lighting.

  Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls were crowded.  You can see the falls in the foreground and the rock behind it.  The rock is popular due to the stripes of color that can be seen. 
   When we got there some sheep and lambs were hanging out close to where you parked and walked in.  I didn’t have my long lense on, but was hoping that on the way back I could grab it out of the car and come back.  Unfortunitly some of the other tourists were more eager to get cell phone pictures of them.  So a bunch of people walked towards them with their phones out.  The sheep then wondered away, as sheep do in those situations.
  I know I said right above that we decided to do the Old Man of Storr tomorrow morning, but as we were passing it on the way back to town we saw that there was more parking and the sun was starting to come out some.
  The way up had two sections.  The first three quarters was a bunch of uphill paths and the last quarter was a path up the very steep hill.  Jim was the only one of us who went up the steep hill.  On the top of the hill it was a bit windy and there was someone with a tripod with a few people holding equipment.  Jim figured his 15lb backpack on its back would be fine.  Nope, the wind tried to roll it downhill anyway.

   Sticking with the theme of Portee for the day, all the places we tried to go eat at needed a reservation.  One of the hotels we went to had an opening at 8:30pm, but we felt that was too late.  We found a place called The Prince of India.  There was only one person on as waitstaff so he had to take all the orders, and take them to the tables.  He had a little wheeled cart at least.  He was getting overwhelmed and it was showing.  The food was okay, but the spice levels seemed to be exaggerated.
  Super early morning for us tomorrow and I've already stayed up way too late!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Scotland Day 9: More Beaches for Your Buck

  Another day with a long drive and seeing what we can stop at along the way.  I do wish we could have spent more time at Pentland Lodge House if only to talk with Liz and pet her dogs some more.  She gives off very positive and happy energy.  She even had electric car charging stations out front.
  Along all these drives past the sheep filled pastures have let me see all levels of sheep laziness.  Sheep will be eating grass in one of the following states: standing, kneeling downward, laying with their legs curled under them, or flat on their sides and munching.
  I have also noticed that the lambs wag their tails like crazy when they are nursing.  This area also has the type of sheep that tend to have twins as long as the mother is healthy.  I’ve seen a lot with two, some with only one, and even some with three.

  Farr Beach was one of our random stops.  As we were driving by the sun was making it a very lovely sight, but by the time we pulled over and got the cameras out it decided to go into hiding.

  Coldbackie was another random stop with a beach.  It was a lot easier to stop at than the last one.  There was a picnic area and we didn’t have to stop in a No Parking pull off.

  Varrich Castle was a bit of a hike.  We also did not walk down the correct path at first.  We parked in a fine place, but when we walked down the road we found a gate that was locked and lead to the wastewater treatment area.  We were going to turn around, but one of the locals just told us to hop the gate and that it connected to the path that lead to the castle.
   The walk wasn’t too long but it was a lot of up hill.  The other day my calves cramped and I was unable to soak them, so the uphill was not fun.  I had to stop many times and try and stretch it out.  I did finally make it to the top though!  I didn’t go up the spiral stairs in the center because I felt it was unnecessary.

  Sango Sands Oasis Bar and Cafe was a very small eatery in a very small town.  The food was really good though and I could see it being a place I would go to if I lived closer.

  We stopped to take a few pictures of the scenery and some motorcyclists stopped to do the same.  They had been coming from the other direction and mentioned that there was a waterfall just down a bit on the left.  There was even parking right there for it.

  It had sounded like there was going to be a long walk but when we parked by the waterfall it was quite close.  My leg felt fine at that point so I had no problems going up and down the small hills.  My only problem was that I had my long view lense on and I had to get a bit of distance between me and whatever I wanted to take a picture of.

   Ceilidh Place in Ullapool has some nice big rooms.  They also have a very swanky lounge area where I am typing this now.  The bathrooms are also quite large, but unfortunately, no tub.  We got talked into booking dinner at the hotel, and while it wasn’t bad, I’m sure we could get good food if we had wondered around.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Scotland Day 8: Back on the Ferry

  Today we started with a more proper Scottish morning.  It was about 56°F and rainy.  Much better!  We were too early for the tour of Maeshowe Chambered Cairn so we took a quick stop at Loch of Harray.  There was a cute dog and a camper van.  Most of us were happy enough just looking at it from the parking area, but Jim ventured forth.  Can you find him in the picture?
   Turns out the first available time they had was at noon and we were hoping to get on the 10am one.  Since we are leaving later then we decided to go to another distillery since they only had two current expressions.  Though in true fashion for today, they didn’t open until 12:30pm.

   Orphir Round Church was another one of those things that we decided to go do since we had some time to kill.  The ferry’s earlier time was all booked, so we couldn’t move up our departure time.  We followed signs to the Earl’s Bu and Castle.
  It was everything promised.  There was a visible circle on the ground and some stones in a configuration that looked like it had once been a structure.  There were some lambs frolicking in the field nearby.

  Tomb of the Eagles was another fun trip back through time.  The first stop along the path was in the bronze age at a building that they feel was probably used as a community center and also used to make hot water.  There were a bunch of spots that were too small for beds, but looked like they would work for seating.
  The Tomb of Eagles was still very enclosed.  There was a tiny cart you laid on and pulled yourself in by rope.  It would have been nice if they had added a track or something because the little cart liked trying to run into a wall, not matter how hard you tried to aim down the middle.

  Scapa Distillery was a quick stop because while we didn’t want to get to the ferry too early, we also didn't have a lot of extra time.  Bill was happy because he was really hoping to get to one on the island.  He also got a bottle while we were there.  Below is a No Drinking and Driving sign we saw on our way in.

  While waiting for the ferry to load we had most of the windows closed and only the driver’s side fully open.  I saw something that looked like a small rock fly into the car but Jim didn’t seem to notice.  Upon further inspection it turned out that it was bird poop.  The bird had managed to hit him on his rain jacket about 8 inches inside the car without hitting any part of the car.  Nothing on the outside or on the seat belt.  There wasn’t even that much of a breeze.  That was one very talented bird.

  We got to be first on the boat this time!  The water was a bit rougher this time, so we got to see these more calm areas.  Once we got closer it almost looked like something bubbling up.  Bill thought it might be oil.
  We were also on the boat with impulsARTive.  Another website that needs to be translated unless you read German.  He was a really nice guy and had some good stories.  He had his website on his jacket and his UN vehicle.  If you go under “Active” you can see his travel log.

  We went to dinner at the Y Not restaurant.  Why? Because why not!  I got the Aloo Saag burger which was pretty much a giant falafel on a burger bun.  It was quite good.

  The lady who runs the Pentland Lodge House where we are staying really likes rocks and puts a particular rock from a variety of her favorite beaches in each room.  We have three stones of different sizes in our room.
  Pictured above are two stones I have collected from this trip.  The one on the left is from Arthur’s Seat, and the one on the right is from where we crossed to walk to the Brough of Birsay.  They are both smaller than my palm and fit nicely in my pockets.