Spring travels!

Hello again, seems like ages, but life has been so full on recently - with ne'er a chink to hunker down with a cuppa and write about it. 

There's been the trip to France chateau-hunting for next year's Knit France, and nice as it was, the chateau we were trying out (P, the resident ghost, et moi) turned out to be more shabby than chic!
So back to the drawing board on that one, with another trip coming up... a designer's life is a hard one!  :)

We'll be opening registration for the tour on Saturday. As all else is in place and the priority list is bulging at the seams, we decided to take the plunge as people seem keen to make plans for next year.  Suffice to say we have booked a new and gorgeous chateau subject to our next visit. This tour will be a tad off piste from our usual accommodation as we're not staying in a hotel.  Of course we've made sure that all the usual comforts are there, but inevitably some rooms are going to be better than others in terms of location and grandeur, so rooms will be allocated democratically - first come, first served.

Here are a few pics, France is SO photogenic, I'm spoilt for choice...

We're looking for something like this?
Close to a town
With lovely gardens nearby
I love all the irises by the roadsides...
...and the peacocks strutting their stuff
...and the glorious markets
...with colourful ingenious ways of covering food
...not to mention the wine, especially in a magenta barrel
...not forgetting the yarn interest at a local angora farm
Gorgeous yarn from the farm...
...scarf knit in Ireland from above ball
We barely touched base at home before setting off for Knit Ireland, two weeks of wandering the highways and byways of the Emerald Isle with twenty fellow travellers. We're getting to know it well as we'd done the same tour last Sept/Oct, and were made to feel like family with a warm Irish welcome wherever we went. 
Prehistoric Poulnabrone dolman on the limestone pavements of the Burren
Session at the Cuckoo Festival in Kinvara
Wild flowers and stones on the Inis Oirr beach
St Kevin's church - the patron saint of Inis Oirr whose
 tomb is also on the site
Aran dry stone walls - every rock is cleared by hand to
make the fields where food is grown and cattle are
 grazed, fertilised by seaweed
Pat and Tom provided the entertainment after Una's workshop
A heron scans the sea for lunch...
...think these two cats have the same idea as the heron, beautiful wild flowers
 - thrift, sea pinks, birdsfoot trefoil, saxifrage and the occasional orchid
Lunch stop at Cashel House, walked around the lovely garden
Colour in class!
View from our hotel room down to the creek
Jo putting Jill, his veteran sheepdog through her paces on his farm in Sligo
Learning to spin
Poster at This Is Knit in Dublin, where I bought
some gorgeous Malabrigo and Scrumptious yarn
Love this big old tree at Muckross House
You're never far away from colour in Ireland,
no matter what the weather
Turf cut for the fire
Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula
Part of our group at the 1300 year old Gallarus Oratory.
The story goes that if you can squeeze yourself through the minute window,
nearly a meter thick at the back of building, you'll be blessed both in this
life and the hereafter.  Andrea was definitely up for the challenge,
so at least one member of our group is saved!
One of our knitters on the tour who owns a yarn store in Canada gave me this lovely hand-dyed yarn. I decided to make the Holden Shawl, as it looked interesting but doable on tour. I bought the pattern on Ravelry, and once I'd cast off my angora scarf, I started the new shawl which I reckoned would probably be done in a flash. Best laid plans, too many entertaining distractions on the tour bus meant I must have ripped it out six times at least. By the time I cast off, the pattern was firmly embedded in my brain, I could probably knit this shawl in my sleep now!  
Casting off the Holden Shawl the day I got back.  Don't look too closely!
Here's the finished item, with my fave
cat mug from Roundstone Pottery 
Finally, I have to confess I was sharply reminded about my lack of blogging yesterday when I noticed on Facebook that Linda Marveng had nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogger Award. Many thanks Linda, I'm honoured, although I'm not feeling very sweet right now having been on the Candida diet for four months - no sugar (or barely any at least) has passed my lips! But all I have to do to accept, is nominate 12 other Super Sweet Blogs and answer 5 simple questions. I need some time to think about this so I'll be back with my nominations in next few of days.  Don't go away...


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