I finished the tedious ribbing for the Milano at last, and started striping. I think from here it will knit itself, as long as I pick it up from time to time, and keep ahead of the game on skein-winding. Time to start thinking about the Shetland projects.
General remarks about Shetland
-- Ponies abound.
-- But Shetland sheep are harder to find. There are plenty of sheep, everywhere, but they are mostly the sort of sheep you might see in Perthshire. They are largely being raised for meat, we were told. Shetland sheep are a relatively small breed and thus not ideal for that purpose.
They can be recognised by their smallness, and by the fact that they come in all the natural colours with the wonderful names – gaulmogot, katmullet, mooskit, sholmit and shaela. We saw this flock near Burrastow.
So where does Shetland yarn come from?
-- I don’t think I saw any cultivated ground, except around houses, and less of that than one would see elsewhere in the
British isles. There
must once have been some sort of grain – for bannocks, and to provide straw for
thatching and bedding the cows; and root vegetables and kale.
-- We learned at the Unst Heritage Centre (and you thought it was all lace knitting) about the interesting structure of the island. In the dark backward and abysm of time, the left-hand side of the island came from
and the right-hand side from Siberia. I’m
sexing that up a bit, but you get the idea. The geology of the two halves is
When we left the Centre, we went on a little way to a point from which we could see the Muckle Flugga lighthouse, as I have already mentioned. It is a splendid sight, and I am grateful to Kristie and Kath for getting me there. When the lighthouse-building Stevensons first saw that rock, they reported back that it couldn’t be done. The authorities said, you’ve got to, so they did.
When one looks south from that same vantage point, one sees a series of finger lakes – is that the suture by which the island is stitched together? It was enough to make one want to start life again and study geology.
I didn’t take a picture, alas. Did you, Kath? I got this one from Google.
Finally, here is a seagull in his Shetland sweater. I am told that this is how young birds look. We are much plagued with seagulls in
Drummond Place, but I have never seen one