The plan for today was to look round the Textile Unit at the college in the morning and go to Oliver's talk on Fleece Grading in the afternoon at Jamieson and Smith. Wool and fleece buying will take place on Monday not today.
So after as leisurely start as we dared we stopped at Tesco and what a surprise I am on the front page of the Shetland Times (small photo) and inside ( bigger photo) going into the opening ceremony for Wool Week. What a treat!
You can just spot my hat - right in the middle - see my blog post of Sept 24th 2014 to see the completed hat and earlier posts to see the story of the hat from the spinning, through the dyeing!
So on to the textile unit (actually called the Textile Facilitation Unit). Wow this is something special. I had a detailed tour by Eric Stewart the technician who runs it showing me the different gauge machines ( 5,7 and 12 gauge Shima Seiki) and the linkers. Even washing and drying can be performed. He explained how the service is used by students, by graduates as they leave and also by many knitters on the islands and how when space permits by machine knitters elsewhere. I met the new assistant ( Roisin Mcatamney) and there is now a Facebook page for the unit. It was very interesting. I was also able to have a tour of the facilities available to students at the college, imagine having your own knitting machine and looms during your degree, complexity depending on the year of your course- in such an amazing setting on such an amazing island...... envy! I was so glad I got to I get to look round this unit.
Then it was back to the Hub and a chance to work out exactly where the Sunday tea & exhibition with Shetland Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers was on Sunday and then onto to Hay's Dock Restaurant and a bowl of delightful soup for lunch.
Jane (Ennis) was travelling up from London, we'd not met but been in touch via fb for some time over coming to Wool Week. She'd had a number of misfortunes and was only able to make a flying visit, spending more time travelling then being here virtually! We will try and meet while she is at Wool Week! She was now on her journey.
So off to Oliver's grading and sorting fleece talk. This talk is worthy of a post of its own! If you are into fleece then this talk should be on your must do list! It has to be experienced and can't really be described. It was a brilliant way to spend an afternoon and Oliver is a true professional and at the very top of his game. I count myself very fortunate as I was one of the 'artisans' who has also been round the plant and spent a day listening to Martin Curtis and his passion for wool in Bradford. I am a Real Shetland person! The talk was well attended and there was much buying of wool and fleece to be taken home around the world which was great, my treat will come on Monday when M and I return to stock up before we catch the ferry back. It was very hard not to join in the buying though.
Then we felt we needed a cup of tea before returning back to our base and we just happened to bump into Barbara Ridland again which was super as we wanted a real chat before leaving Shetland. So we managed a second cup of tea and more cake at Mareel the fantastic home of film on the waterfront and were able to have a leisurely catch up with Barbara who hinted that Elizabeth would like a similar chat before I left too. That would be nice as Monday's workshop was too intense for a real chat, so thinking caps were put on of how to achieve this in the remaining days! I am beginning to feel sad all this talk about last meetings reminds us that we will soon be leaving this beautiful place. However, we hope to return possibly for longer in 2015.