Monday, 15 October 2018

Shetland Wool Week Day 2018: Day 8 Unst

Our first day in Unst: Sun 15 Sept 

We had designated this as a rest day after the week of travel, but we hadn’t reckoned with it being one of the real windy days that you get here. By a ‘real windy day’ I mean that when you are in motorhome you are aware of the wind before all else and it dominates the day. It seems to be too much for  some people who arrive from the ferry, take a look at it and then head south again. This was the day the news was full of hurricanes in America and serious weather damage in the Philippines. 
We were nicely distracted over breakfast by some little birds hopping about that turned out to be a rock pipit, which is not common in Norfolk and a beautifully coloured young pied wagtail which had a distinct yellow face. Other birds arrived including a sanderling and dunlin.  
The morning was taken up by carding some (local to me in Norfolk) fleece I had brought with me. I am knitting a hat, which will be referred to as the ‘secret hat project’ which is using a set of my naturally dyed yarns.  I now needed some white/natural of the same diameter yarn.... approximately J and S jumper weight yarn. By this time it was now a wet, and quite stormy morning so it seemed a good time to progress  that. This year I had my Joy spinning wheel with me as I needed it for a class. I couldn’t think of a better place to prepare wool. 

However, for some reason the yarn was trying to over twist before it went on the bobbin. I checked everything I could think of and was left with looking at the groove on the bobbin. The groove appeared to be very shiny and my hunch was that there was insufficient friction with the nylon thread. What did I have with me that would roughen this? I tired a fingernail sandpaper board which helped and some Cif which helped a bit more but what I really needed was fine sandpaper. After writing a note to add this to my emergency kit it was added to the shopping list, but to be honest I had little expectation of getting any until we were back on mainland. The temporary fix proved ‘sort of’ good enough. I managed to spin two 10g skeins. 

By this time the weather was improving and we decided to go to Victoria’s Tea Rooms and the Heritage Centre. I treated myself to a season ticket for this latter when we were up in the summer. We sat at a prized  window table at the tea rooms and watched gannets diving into the sea. This sight never fails to amaze me, the force with which they enter the water must be tremendous.
Sorry no image of this, they are thought to hit the water at up to 60mph… so you can see why I do not have a picture of that. 
But an image of these beautiful birds taken by M 

On to the Heritage Centre and a chat  with Frances ( who was today’s volunteer) I decided to go into the permanent  lace display room and concentrated on admiring the shawl by Anderina Thomson (1812-1863); it was the size, the complexity and arrangement of the lace motifs and the sheer fineness of the yarn that made it such a stunning piece to me. I have to sit in front  of a large picture window when at home to knit fine lace (fine by my standards) and have no interruptions and then only do an hour or so at a time….none of which I guess applied to Anderina. Coupled with this was the fact that her lace was finer than my hand spun lace too. (I will write more  about the finess of my  lace spinning on a later post)
Before closing time at the Heritage centre I had time to go into the ‘Knitters and Spinners’ room and had another look at this year’s display. On the right was a rectangular shoulder shawl that I imagine has been designed/charted by Hazel Laurenson called the Hinnywaar Pattern AND it was possible to buy this pattern in the shop. I would go home with a treat as I was pretty sure I did not already have this pattern.
This is one of a series of patterns for sale at the Heritage Centre.(I do not wish to infringe copyright by printing anymore of the pattern.) 

Driving back was challenging, the wind had got up and it was blowing a gale, which was accompanied by heavy rain. But it had been good to get to some favourite haunts. 

The wind dropped considerably by 21.00 although it was forecast to be windy again on Wednesday.