Today’s two workshops were with real experts in their field. There was a gap between when we planned to fit in lunch and visit the Fae Oota Cloo exhibition. I expected it to be a stunning day.
The first workshop was on Traditional Haps with Donna Smith. I heard such good reports of this workshop last year from friends that it was high on my priority list for this year and I was delighted when I managed to book a place. Again we had a pack of materials to start with which included extensive instructions from Donna and a ball of Jamieson’s Ultra. I had not knitted with this previously so was particularly looking forward to using it. Donna started by talking about differences between a hap and shawl ( a hap is an ‘everyday’ piece to her way of thinking ) and describing the different methods of constructing hap and shawls. There were several haps and shawls to look at, some being knitted by Donna’s aunt who is her 90s and still knits these ‘from what is in her head’. We were going to construct a full mini hap, the traditional way, from the outside in.
We started by knitting some of the outside border, I then opted to pick up and knit the inside border and by the end of the class had two sections completed in this way. It was great to refine my techniques and see how a real expert does it. To me this is the best part of Wool Week, learning from those who are very very good at what they do. There is always a reason for a particular way and this is based on several generations of knitting. It is all so thoughtful and I have found the tutors are so willing to share.
This is what we were aiming for
Again it was a lovely group of people from around the world who love knitting and it was nice to share our experiences and continue to do so when we chanced upon each other later in the week.
While I was at Isleburgh at Donna’s workshop Michael headed off to West and East Quarff to check on any autumn migrants.
A new farm shop and cafe had opened on the main road between Lerwick and Sumburgh at Cunningsburgh and we planned to have lunch there today. The food was very good, it was spacious and there was a good range of things to eat and nice craft items. After this first trip we became regulars for the week.
After lunch and more catching up with fellow ‘Wool weekers’ we parked at the History hut and looked round the exhibition Fae Oota Cloo which concentrated on an exhibition of wool and knitwear in the Cunningsburgh area. There was plenty to see and it was such a nice idea for a village to take part in Wool Week like this. I seem to find myself in setting up exhibitions back in Norfolk so it is always good to see how others do it and get new ideas.
I was particularly taken by this:
So then we had a short gap for a rest as my workshop with Wilma was down at Hoswick in the evening. It would be busy as I think there were 4 workshops on at the same time. We arrived early (the class was starting at 6.30) and enjoyed looking at the displays in the visitors centre and of course sharing experiences of the week with people I met earlier this week or in previous Wool weeks (this is what makes Wool Week extra special).
Painting with colour
Wilma and her helper (Irene?) started by producing a huge range of yarn butterflies of just about every conceivable colour in the centre of our table. On other tables around the workshop were displays of Wilma’s Fair Isle showing her initial stimulus, her vast sampling (which she regards as very important) and the completed items. Some of these were small such as phone cases and fingerless mitts and also including tams and jumpers which are so characteristic of Wilma. It was such a feast for the eyes and I could have spent many hours looking at the samples and seeing how subtle changes perhaps of just one yarn in the palette of colours had such a profound effect on the finished piece. Attending this workshop had already been worth it for me before the actual workshop started. 2 young knitters from one of Wilma’s knitting classes were joining us. Wilma is very committed to encouraging and helping the next generation of Shetland Knitters.
We had an initial talk about colour and it’s relation to pattern in Fair Isle. Fortunately much of this was in the notes as I always like to reflect on this when I am back home.
Then given a couple of designs prepared in graphical form to choose from, we were encouraged to select colours without looking at any Fair isle designs. We then discussed our colours and pattern with Wilma or Irene before we got going on making a sample phone cover. We had started this before the class so we could maximise our Fair Isle knitting during the workshop.
some of our knitting at the end of the session
It was a brilliant workshop, again accompanied by useful notes to aid us later.
Then home to bed and another night when I would have no trouble sleeping.