Thursday, 17 November 2016

Shetland 2016: Day seventeen Flock sale, Photography class and Anne Cleeves

Sat 1 Oct : Wool Week Day Eight

A glorious morning, very very still with wonderful colours from the sunrise.

Today there was some sadness as I had my last class but one I was really looking forward to - Photography  ( The Perfect Picture) with well known Shetland photographer Austin Taylor.(1)  But before that we were off to to the flock sale. Last time I went to the Maker's Market on Saturday but this year I wanted to experience the flock sale. This is held at the auction market to the North of Lerwick and Michael had already been to see where it was. On the way to the ring where the judging was taking place we passed  some fleece with their rosettes. Walking in the ring area brought back memories of going to Norwich  market with my father. Lots of wool week hats were visible. We sat and watched some judging, very little was said but lots of observation and movement of sheep took place to get the final order. 
The fleece had been judged the previous evening and these  were the ones in the adjacent room. How could I not buy one? What would I feel like if I went home having had the chance to buy a first class fleece as judged at the flock sale? The one I really liked even came from Aithsvoe where we had stayed all week. So after a discussion with Margaret who was managing the selling of  the fleece and I had chatted to earlier in the week,  I decided on a white one with superb crimp. This would be great for spinning fine lace yarn and / or dyeing.  So lovely to get a copy of the judging criteria for the fleece and a photo of the Trophy  accompanying it too. This felt very special. 

Then on to Hay's Dock for a leisurely coffee and to give in my square for the blanket. Mona and her helper were still stitching  them together and I had a lovely chat to them. Mona  liked the 'crofthooses'  that I had incorporated into the square and I loved seeing the blankets that were already made up.... such a variety of squares. (Post of 16 Oct 16 shows my square. ) 

So back down to Hoswick and the last class of the week. I was surprised there were only 4 of us, but Austin had  run the  same class in the morning! It was also interesting that I was the only visitor to Shetland attending. I am keen on photography and when we lived in Alsager I had attended a U3A group on Photoshop that had taken my photography to a new level. I still had lots of questions, realising that photography involving textiles is specialist - trying to show the texture and colours accurately in particular. Once again  this was a well prepared course and Austin was very generous in sharing his extensive expertise. Even though I have had my camera several years I am still learning how to get more from it! We looked at and tried out a simple studio setup and it was interesting how minor adjustments could make a lot of difference. Again more to work on when I got home! Another great course. 
Sara, also on the course, contributed her hand knit shawl for us to photograph

But the day had not ended. We had noticed that Anne Cleeves was launching  her latest book, Cold Earth, at Mareel in the evening, so we set off to Hay's Dock Restaurant and for our last meal there. Fortunately we had booked  as they were completely booked! 

Lots of wool weekers were in the audience at Mareel and many going home tomorrow so fond farewells were said. The evening was brilliant, hearing not only from Anne, but also from the Emeritus Professor of Forensic Pathology , Dr James Grieve and Davie Gardner - commonly called Shetland's Mr Fixit for the TV series Shetland based on the books. Another special event. 
Lerwick Harbour  as we left Mareel

So I went to bed exhausted  and hoping for a bit of a rest in the morning before the Shetland Guild of Weavers, Spinners, Dyers and Knitters Sunday Tea which I was really looking forward to, there would be stunning work on display. 

1 See more of Austin's work at

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