Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Labels are Here and the Calendars are going Fast

It's that time of year when things seem to move so quickly toward Christmas and the New Year.

We have several requests for shawls so it was a great relief when the labels with our logo arrived in the post.

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First, elation: Hooray, they're here. They look OK. There are 500 of them.
and then
the realization that now comes the stitching part.
We have about 14 shawls, so it's not like we have to stitch in all 500 labels---yet.

Meanwhile, thanks to Lisa's "almost mother in law, Ann", as she was announced at Saturday's WRI dinner dance, for selling calendars in Orkney for us. Thanks also to Lisa of Inspired by Caithness for sharing some of her space at the Mey Market to display our calendars, Meg and Ali for selling them at Halkirk craft sale and Elizabeth's store in Thurso for displaying calendar on the wall next to the shelves of lovely wool upstairs.

Oh! I must not overlook Castletown village store, as well. Oh and thanks also to Alastair Gray for letting folks know about our calendar.

I have only 2 left myself.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Joy of Making

A friend who has the knack of finding the niftiest things at just the right time gave me this mug yesterday as an early birthday present.
She thought of me not only because we share an enthusiasm for knitting and such but also because I had been girning about how much I am looking forward to getting back to my own crafting.
Now you all know I love Northern Loops--it's like another child late in life, the embodiment of all the social action of the sixties, an opportunity to make a difference in my new community, and good fun on top of that. One of the ironies, however, of starting a craft-based group is that I have spent less time doing crafting, which was the genesis of all this in the first place.
You gotta love the irony of it. So I am parking up the projects swirling in my head for a month of more crafting than organising in December.
I also love this mug because my friend and I share a conviction that hands on is a good way of learning. We get smarter when we knit or crochet or make things with our hands from improvised bird scarers or basketry covers for our veg patch to new apps for our electronic toys. I can't help it: something hard wired into me gets excited about making things.
Serendipity led me to switch from the background music of Radio 3 to Radio 4 where I heard a discussion of the new Raspberry Pi computer that folks can program--not be just consumers of technology but take part in it. Following closely on the heels of Raspberry Pi was a discussion of Fab Labs idea born in MIT in the US to set up fabrication labs so that folks with ideas can make them real. My heart is still beating faster at the thought of that.
One of my favourite students when I taught technical writing years ago was a young man who wanted to start a small machine shop--not the lawnmower repair type shop which has its merits but a genuine using cutting edge technology but on a small scale to fabricate parts for equipment working shop. Even that long ago the world was not kind to small businesses and hands on manufactory. I dread to think what it is like in this current climate, but I believe in that ability to make things not only for the sake of what it does for us but also what it does for our economy, our cultural well being.
So, please go ahead and get excited and make something.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Art Imitates Life

The shawl pattern is called Flying Geese after the quilt design of that name. As I watched these swans fly over the fields at Greenland Mains I could not help but see the resemblance between the pattern and the birds in motion.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Calendars across the waters!

As I write this, our Northern Loops calendars are making their way across the broad Atlantic and the Pentland Firth.
Members of the extended Northern Loops family in Orkney and Fishers, Indiana respectively have taken a look at Caithness Kaleidoscope and decided they wanted to celebrate along with us.
Calendars are also available now in the village post office shop in Castletown and in Elizabeth's in Thurso -- upstairs where the wool (yarn in American English) is.
If you do not see them there, please ask for them. It's a long way to Fishers or even to Orkney!