The aim was to go down to Hoswick for morning coffee, it was a wild and windy morning and already spectacular photos of the sea were appearing on Facebook. We parked at the Heritage Centre and walked back to Neila’s (1) where I was going to treat myself to another of her fantastic garments. I had decided that I would buy a poncho style in the same ‘camouflage’ range that I had the green ‘ cardigan’ in that I so loved. What I hadn’t decided on was the colour... in the end I chose a red/purple mix out of the 20 or so on offer. Another garment to love and cherish. I don’t buy many garments but prefer to make my own so a garment has to be really special for me to buy it.
Then it was the Heritage Centre for coffee and a scone where I got chatting, this time to Peter Leonard. He was knitting and we talked about the James Bosworth canary wood top whorl spindle that I bought from them many moons ago at an early Woolfest.(2) I just love this spindle and am currently spinning Norfolk Horn fleece with it. I showed him the lace bookmarks which are the result of this. Neila was running her design class, which I had so enjoyed and benefitted from last year. It was definitely way out of my comfort zone at the time but was good for me. Embarrassingly she interrupted her class to tell them about my Ground Elder Dyed cardigan. I hope the class have benefitted from the Design class as much as I have. It was so good as it went deeper than any design workshop I had done before.
We then drove back to Lerwick to have lunch in Mareel and then I decided to walk to Isleburgh for my afternoon class ‘to get a breathe of air’. It was a stupid decision, keeping dry gave me a new slant on the term ‘refreshing’. The workshop was ‘The Perfect Finish for Lace’. The two tutors (Anne Eunson and Kathleen Anderson) were brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and so patient. I learnt things that I did not know even existed in terms of grafting lace. I liked that a lot. The afternoon was full of tips and practise and endless checking and encouragement until we had got each technique correct on our practice pieces. A local lady had brought a shawl for advice on grafting the borders in a particular way, so we got a bonus as Anne worked it out and we were all able to see that too.(3) Again my Ground Elder cardigan was discussed and Ann being a machine knitter was interested in my matching orange lace cowl. It was nice to have a machine knit discussion with someone who actually does machine knitting and appreciates what is involved.
Learning to graft holes
While I was having my mind blown by grafting lace M had taken himself to see Victoria and Abdul in one of the screens at Mareel. I understand there were knitted items of note in the film, but I got no other details about them. I hope to see the film soon.
We had booked an early dinner at Hay’s Dock which had a pop up fish restaurant in the evenings for Wool Week. A great meal in a fully booked restaurant. I left Michael having coffee as I walked down for the lecture.
I was really looking forward to this talk as Elizabeth Johnston (one of the speakers) initially taught me to spin back in 2000 which was our first visit to Shetland, something I am SO grateful for as it was life changing for me. As I walked down Elizabeth was outside the lecture theatre discussing using her large Steiny Loom. This was an added bonus. It is a big and truly beautiful looking loom and I understand takes apart to smaller pieces that just about fitted in Elizabeth’s car around her and two passengers.
I happened to be sitting next to a lady researching Viking weaving, so we were deep in conversation until the talks started.
The lecture theatre was nicely full and the talks were brilliant. Each of the authors, Hilda, Marta and Elizabeth spoke about a different aspect of the topic. It was all very well organised and quite academic which was good. There were lots of pictures and real samples of the weaving, which we could examine in detail. The book, ‘The Warp Weighted Loom’ is a beautiful book in its construction and the content is superb. There are details for making a warp weighted loom and using it. The social history behind this makes up a large part of the book. For anyone interested in this it is a must have book.(4) It is this sort of lecture, gathering such experts from 3 countries, that makes Wool Week so special. What a wonderful last ‘booked event’ for me.
(1) Do visit the shop if you get a chance, I guess you will just stand there initially and say ‘wow’. If that is not possible, look online. Her garments are brilliant and do read her story. http://www.nielanell.com/
(2) More about the spindle here http://imagejem.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/spindle
Sadly these are now unobtainable from suppliers although I understand James Bosworth is still making a few.
(3) You can see some of Kathleen’s Patterns in the brilliant book by Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers called ‘A Legacy of Shetland Lace’. There will be another book from these experts out in early 2018.
(4) The book is The Warp-Weighted Loom by Hildur Hakonardottir, Elizabeth Johnston, Marta Klove Juuhl.