Monday, 22 October 2012

A Spinning Mill at Sandness

Today was the day when I was going to visit the Jamieson’s mill where the Shetland Wool was spun before I wove it into my length of red and black dogtooth fabric for making a handbag. The journey was through stunning scenery mainly along a single track road for miles and miles. The mill seemed a long way from Lerwick and I wondered how many other visitors would get there and how my wool had left the mill. The mill had a sizeable shop where we were left to freely wander round. Seeing every single shade of their Spindrift en mass was worth the trip on its own! There were lots of Fair Isle jumpers, blankets etc to buy and a good collection of their knitting patterns – I succumbed and bought ‘Simply Shetland’ book 5, containing some inspirational designs.

Michael and I then walked round the mill to see the wool being made. The overall impression was of noise, but it was really fascinating seeing carding, roving making and finally the twisting and coning. Finally there were automatic knitting machines (working from a floppy disc) producing Fair Isle jumpers and girls doing the joining attaching the neckbands etc. In all we saw about 7 staff (on the shop floor so to speak) which seemed a very small number for what they producing,

Coming back I just couldn’t resist taking some pictures of the mossy moorland colours – as inspiration for another yarn or jumper or cloth.

When we got back it was rest time as tonight was the midnight bird watching for storm petrels on Mousa.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Fine Spinning

Wednesday was a special day as I was going to have a long awaited ‘fine’ spinning lesson with Margaret. We had corresponded some time previously about my love of fine spinning – I learned to spin on Shetland and my aim in learning to spin was to produce my own fine yarn for knitting lace. I have knitted several items including a special large stole that I was able to take with me for this day. I was very excited and nervous as this had been planned for a long time. I gained so much during my session with Margaret. Having chatted about me and my wool related interests Margaret got me to spin. Then I got lots of constructive comments and the reasons for the comments. As a teacher myself I like to think this is the mark of a truly talented teacher – to take the student on from where they are. I had a marvellous time learning and talking to Margaret. She is a remarkable woman and the time went too fast. I am very grateful to her for finding the time to help me. I was given ‘homework’ – to go and practise what I had learnt and we arranged for me to return before I left the area to show her how I had progressed. No pressure!
From the left: my Shetland fine spun - Sewing Thread - A hair (mine!)