Memories of Tanera Mor

I’ve just returned from a wonderfully restful week on a knitting retreat. The retreat, organised by Helen (aka Ripples Crafts) was on Tanera Mor, a tiny island situated off the west coast of Scotland. On Sunday 16th September, eleven of us met at the pier at Achiltibuie to board the small boat that would take us to the island. Here is our first glimpse of what would be home for the next week:

Our first view of our lodgings

The island proved to be a great place to get away from it all – no TV, very limited internet access and only intermittent mobile reception (standing in the garden was necessary on more than one occasion!). Instead we had peace, beautiful scenery and an ever-changing sky:

No need to search for the silver lining

It was very peaceful by the old pier

People had travelled from England, Scotland, the Isle of Man and even Kansas to be on the island but we all had lots in common – not least a love of wool and needlecraft. We spent a lot of time knitting and, for some of us, rather too much time unpicking mistakes – the result of trying to knit, talk and drink wine at the same time! The gathering was very informal but I think we all learned something just from observing what others were knitting and sharing techniques as we went along. It was all great fun and one of the things I will take away is how much laughter there was.

We didn’t just knit though – we also went walking on the island – including a midweek trip to the highest point which was quite demanding.

We’ve made it to the top!

We were also lucky enough to have a boat trip around the island on the last day and saw dolphins and seals. The weather was kind to us and the sun shone for most of the way around – although as you can see from the next photo, storm clouds were threatening:

Time to head towards land….

I took far too many projects with me but did manage to complete two projects during the week. The first, and easiest, was a pair of simple ribbed wristwarmers in baby alpaca:

Wristwarmers in King Cole Baby Alpaca – yarn available from www.knitncaboodle.co.uk

The second, more ambitious project was an Ishbel shawl (the pattern is available on Ravelry) in Ripples Crafts silk laceweight yarn. Here it is in its unblocked state:

My first attempt at knitting with laceweight yarn

The next step is to block it – luckily we have just received a shipment of blocking wire sets from the US so they should make the job easier – I’ll post ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to show the difference that blocking can make.

Before that though I’d just like to thank Helen for organising the retreat and for sharing her lovely yarns with us; Lizzie, Richard, Sian and Kev for looking after us all; and the other retreatees – Sue, Tracey, Larissa, Katherine, Judith, Fiona, Isabel, Ann and Renee – for being such good company.

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