Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Shetland 2016 Day Fourteen: Weaving in Hoswick

Wed 27 Sept

Yesterday was quite an epic day so we planned definitely to have a rest day today. It was a lovely sunny morning and the wind had dropped and it hardly seemed possible that we had  the weather we did yesterday.  We planned to stay at the marina in the morning and take it very leisurely and I did some knitting. However, I am not very good at just resting and worked out that this was the only lunchtime I could hear Cecil Duncan's tour and talk on weaving in Hoswick visitor centre, which used to be the weaving shed where he worked.  I failed to fit it in last time and this seemed a good opportunity as we were only staying about 6 miles away. 
We were there before 12.30 the listed starting time. Nothing happened and after a phone call it turned out Cecil was coming but was running late so we took the opportunity to have soup and a sandwich ( which was very good). We were told not to rush as Cecil would wait if we were still eating. Hoswick Visitor Centre is a very special place during Wool Week. There were about 8/9 of us waiting for the talk, one being Katherine (from Kentucky and in the online Guild) and 3 from Suffolk who knew Sarah Butters- who I am in contact with via Facebook. They had flown from Norwich to Aberdeen - a useful fact knowing you can fly to Aberdeen ..... But where would I put the spinning wheel, how would I get my purchases back and how would I manage without the hotel on wheels???
I managed to catch a few words with Elizabeth Johnson who I will be eternally grateful to - she taught me to spin with a drop spindle and opened the door on the weaving, spinning, dyeing and Shetland Wool part of my life. Also of great interest was a machine knitting class ( tutor Anne Eunson)  where 4 learners were each knitting a cowl - having not done any machine knitting before. These looked very impressive. 
The weaving talk started with a brief introduction to Hoswick and the visitor centre,  before Cecil got in to describe his life in weaving there. A couple of looms were still there- including the warp on the loom(s) and other interesting weaving items on display. Shetland Tweed was woven here. (1)  
A Dobby loom, I believe from 1890 which could use 6 shuttles and therefore 6 colours. It was last used in the 1980's. 
Having the talk brought the whole process to life. 

After the talk we took the opportunity to walk to the beach - M took his telescope and I took mainly rock photos and noticed that many of the stones were very thin and flat, but of course I was drawn to the seaweed too.
Look at the textures here- fantastic. 
Unfortunately I began to feel migrainous and it started raining heavily, strong winds were forecast for tomorrow. So I dosed myself up and went to bed as I had a full day's workshop I was looking forward to. 

(1) See my earlier post 14 Oct 16) about weaving at Global Yell where Andy and team are researching Shetland Tweed. There are examples of Shetland Tweed in the Museum at Hay's Dock  and the Textile museum at the Bod. Adie's of Voe is another name associated with weaving Shetland Tweed. 

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