Sunday, 31 December 2017

Shetland Wool Week Day 12: Wonderful Haps and the Opening Ceremony

Wind was a dominant feature of today, it had been very windy in the night and unusually the van rocked a bit. We were very glad we were in a sheltered spot. It looked  as though it might be a weather dominating week. 

The plan had initially been to have a restful day after a full day yesterday, with just the opening ceremony. However, the restful part of the day was to be confined to the morning. 

The Ollaberry Haps Exhibition was closing on Wednesday so the only possible time for me to see it again was this afternoon when I could fit in a brief visit. I also found out I had to call at the Hub to get my membership bag so I had entry to the Opening Ceremony tonight. Then we needed to get to Cunnisburgh and get our campsite place sorted all before 6.30 when the opening ceremony started. It would work but I would need to limit how much chatting I did!

We decided to have lunch as the Ollaberry exhibition opened and as long as we spent no more than an hour there it would be fine. As before the spread was wonderful and we were easily able to chose some lunch. As soon as I sat down to eat I noticed a jumper board for sale that would fold up quite small. Well this was too good an opportunity to miss.  What was really nice  about this was the lady sitting at the stall was the wife of the maker, who himself turned up later so I was able to chat to him about it. It is very nice to envisage the maker of things like this that I buy. I did get chatting to the lady selling, who told me that she spent a few happy years in Norfolk as her husband had postings there in the RAF. So we chatted about Thetford, what a small world. 

Although I had seen Haps at Ollaberry last year, it was still an immense pleasure to see them. What was particularly good was seeing those made in Hap classes that had been held in the time since the last exhibition, what a great idea. Again it was lovely that there was such a good description and story available for the majority of these. I bought some other small things and chatted to people who have become friends. 

This one won a prize at Voe Show, had 3 rosettes  and noted it took 100 hours to complete. It was superb and priced at £500, underpriced in my mind. 

This is the jumper board when constructed. Apologies for the quality of the photo. This was taken in the evening back in the kitchen where we were staying.

I was really pleased that I had managed to get there but only sorry I could not have spent days examining them.... the skill and work that had gone into each demanded that really. So two days, two great exhibitions, what a treat. 

Then on to the Hub  to pick up my membership bag, a nice design again this year. 
I did chat a bit - this time to Alyssa Malcolmson who was wearing a magnificent cardigan that she had knitted. She is Wilma Malcolmson’s (1) niece  and a designer to watch. She is on Ravelry (LissyLooLoo) with at least one of her designs there.
The visit to the Shetland Museum visit was tinged with some disappointment as the shop still did not have Elizabeth and Hazel’s DVD. I made a new appointment for tomorrow- I would be at the Shetland Times Bookshop as early as possible, they MUST have a copy as they were publishing it (I hoped). 

A short drive down to Cuningsborough, where I met a machine knitting friend and her husband who were visiting Wool Week for the first time. Then a quick turnaround and off to Clickimin where the opening ceremony would be held in the Sports Hall again. 
We sat at a table near the front in the huge hall and had a lovely group for the evening. It was so lovely that Wilma Malcolmson came to sit with us, as well as Sarah and Jo (2) and Silvina  (3). As always the event was enjoyable. I felt it was too long last year but rather rushed this year. It was great to see items from New Designers in the Fashion Show but I was disappointed that established Designers were not represented. I wore my Ground Elder Dyed cardigan for the first time - there will be a separate blog post about this after the Shetland 2017 Journal series is completed. 
There were too many people to catch up with but I did have a brief chat with Hazel (3) Ruth(5) and Oliver (6) as the undyed wool for the cardigan was a cone of Jamieson and Smith Jumper weight and I know he likes to see products made from their yarn. 
Ground Elder Dyed cardigan. 

This was marked on the plan as a rest day! It had been another great ‘wool’ day but a rest day -not really. 

If you are into Wool you will know many of the people I refer too, but just in case I am giving more details. 
(1) Wilma runs - her use of colour in Fair Isle is legendary
(2) Sarah Moran - we met in Cheshire when I was organising the first Maker’s Market for Alsager Music and Arts and have become ‘wool week’ friends since... and her impeccably dressed friend and  ‘all things needlework’ Jo
(3) Hazel Tindall, who changed my knitting life last year after the classes on using the knitting belt and knitting a yoke. Hazel has a great dvd on Fair Isle knitting - and also the one with Elizabeth (see later) which I  recommend. (
(4)Silvina - from Brazil,  who I sat next to at the workshop in Whalsay the day before  -a keen knitter who is VERY keen to learn all she can about lace knitting and more
(5) Ruth Gough of - Ruth and I go back a lot of years. She is great for spinning tuition, teaching the how and the why; great for equipment; great for courses. I have been to both Wingham and Borrowdale where I see they are doing residential courses again. 
(6) Oliver Henry of Jamieson and  Smith - this  website has to be on any serious knitters ‘favourites’ list in my opinion 

Friday, 29 December 2017

Shetland Wool Week day 11 :Fair Isle Workshop, Whalsay: Sat 23 Sept

No need for any alarm today, I was awake early as today was my first workshop of Wool Week in Whalsay. Having not had the best ferry experiences getting to see the Whalsay Fair Isle Exhibition last year I vowed that was to be my only visit to Whalsay. 
However, never say never. 
When I was making a mental list of what I would like to learn in Wool Week ‘knitting in the round using 3 rather  than 4 needles’ was high on the list and that just happened to be In Whalsay. We drove to Laxo and there were one or two cars and several foot passengers who looked like workshop attendees. Amanda (Pottinger) who was running the workshop at the Heritage Centre was going to pick up anyone who needed it but  we were taking the motor home over so Michael could explore the island. It was a bit choppy on the ferry but nothing compared to last year- however I did move to sit in the middle j(rather than the front) of the ferry. 
Prior to the workshop we had been asked what colours  we would like to work with and these yarns  and the instructions were named and so we sat with our name. This was a lovely  touch and ever thoughtful  if anyone was not happy with their choice there was the opportunity to swap colours. 

There were 11 of us taking the workshop; I was from Norfolk, a lady from the Isle of Man, another from Northern Ireland and the other eight from much further afield. I noted USA, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and Germany so a truly international group with a shared love of knitting. We  got started  right away completing  ribbing  for either a headband, tablet case or cushion cover. I opted for the tablet case and was in fact going to adapt the pattern to make a new cover for my Filofax. I left my woven Filofax cover on a shop counter whilst living in Cheshire, so a new cover would be really useful.
Not only were the tutors (Amanda and Janet)  great at pre planning  and teaching they were also great bakers. As soon as we started on our knitting, we were offered tea or real coffee and a cake stand with scones, butter, raspberry jam and clotted cream and drop scones appeared. Later on we were offered delicious chocolate squares with mint aero in them.
Two shots of the group, notice the mini kitchen with the goodies in the background.

The tutors constantly checked our progress, for many this was the first time they weee using a knitting belt and for all of us the first time knitting in the round with less than 4 needles. It was so good to watch Amanda and Janet (as experts)demonstrating  knitting and they were tireless in their help and encouragement to enable us to do the same. They even arranged for a special delivery of knitting belts made in Whalsay to be brought  to the Heritage Centre so workshop  members who wanted them could buy one and take it away with them. I think everyone bought one. (I had my own bought in Shetland a few years ago now and well used since Hazel’s class last year, where I really learnt how to use it.) 
All too soon it was 14.00 and  the class was officially over. We finished off this great class with a group photo and we all began to notice the bigger waves in the sea - anticipating a fairly rough return back to mainland. 

We were all on our way with our knitting at the end - notice the knitting pattern as dots as traditionally used and also the colourful knitting belts

I also took the opportunity to look at the exhibition, there had been some changes since last year. This cardigan took my eye and I have not cropped the photo so you can see some of the variety of Fair Isle Knitting on display. 

After the workshop, Amanda offered to drive to Shoard, the popular ‘charity’ shop and we were keen to follow. It is a big and impressive shop. I bought a 40cm length set of 5 dpns, steel and probably size 16- very fine indeed and some more lopi Wool so I could continue making repairs to my slippers that I knitted and felted some years ago. I then limited myself to 2 buttons and Michael bought a book. 

After what seemed like a very long drive we found the pop up cafe, lovely to see junior age  children helping the community provide this during Wool Week. I did have a small piece of cake but was mindful that the ferry crossing might be choppy, we were going to Vidlin so that indicated it wasn’t going to be calm! However, we were told it was because of the ‘tides’... mmm I thought ‘I wonder’. 

On the ferry we sat int he middle and I decided to spin, with my portable tiny drop spindle,  some Norfolk Horn.  I was spinning very fine - this distracted me and was also helpful in doing that for other members from the Fair Isle Class. The boat was choppy but nothing like a year ago. 

I felt much better when I was off the boat and we went back to the campsite briefly to sort ourselves out, tonight’s treat would be fish and chips from  the award winning Brae fish and chip shop, which we could just about see from our campsite. The fish and chips were amazing. 

This had been a very good start indeed to Wool Week- in fact it was brilliant.