Day 15 – Learning to use a Knitting Belt

We woke to another windy day and I decided to take Dexter for a longish walk this morning because he was going to be left while I went for a class.   Given yesterday’s behaviour and the very windy weather, we did a short walk around the coast and then walked to the Clickminin Broch which is the remains of a tower in the middle of a loch on the way into Lerwick.   This didn’t take long so we walked around the loch as far as we could and then walked home.  On the way, I saw a wonderful garden and could not believe the number of plants still in flower.

I left Dexter in the kitchen and went into Lerwick for a 2 hour class on how to use a knitting belt.   This is a padded belt that you wear around your waist or hip and you poke your knitting needle into it to support the right hand needle.   Women in Shetland have knitted with a knitting belt for generations and I didn’t think I would do more than just try it but it was very interesting.   Using the knitting belt my knitting tension was much, much better which surprised me and I also learnt the process they use for knitting which is different to the way I knit.   I grasped it pretty well but knitting with two colours is going to take more practice!   I have now bought a knitting belt and appropriate knitting needles so I shall be interested in experimenting more.  The tutor, Hazel Tindall showed us some of her Fair Isle cushions at the end to show us the effect of using different colours with the same pattern.

By the time the class finished it was raining as well as being very windy so walking into the town centre was a bit of a battle but necessary to buy the requisite belt and needles.   I also visited the book shop which was easier to do without Dexter.  I ventured into a pop-up shop called Bakka run by Mary Macgregor.   Her scarves are Fair Isle patterns in fine wool knitted on a knitting machine and they feel wonderful but were too expensive for me at £180.  It turns out that she has produced a book on Fair Isle patterns that was a very reasonable price so I ended up buying that.

I ventured back to the house and had a quick lunch before deciding to take Dexter to Scalloway.  Plan A had been to take him for a long walk near Sandwick but the weather was so awful and the wind is blowing from the South so I thought it might be particularly unpleasant.   I thought that going somewhere with buildings may provide some protection.   Scalloway has a castle and a marina and is the ancient capital of Shetland but didn’t have much else to commend it after an hours walk around it.   I decided not to go into the castle or museum because that would have meant leaving a wet Dexter in the car.


It looked to be improving weatherwise so I decided to drive to Burra and the guidebook had said there were two good beaches.  I drove to Bannaminn but the wind and rain were so hard I turned around and drove back to Meal Beach which was in a protected bay.    We had a great walk on Meal Beach with no rain at all.   We were even joined by a seal but getting a picture was a little tricky, particularly since I only had my phone.   You can just see his head bobbing in the sea.

The colours of the sea were amazing and Dexter had fun, he especially likes seaweed!   He did try chasing some birds into the sea but quickly went out of his depth and came back pretty quickly although he was on a long line because I don’t quite trust him……


Tomorrow we have a long day at Hoswick because I am taking two classes, one in the morning and one in the evening and I’m hoping to take Dexter for a long walk in the afternoon.  That will be the last of my classes so I will then have two more days to do a bit more exploring.




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