Friday, 16 November 2018

Shetland Wool Week: Day 17: Weaving and Spinning

Day 17 Tuesday 24 Sept 

I was very keen to get going this morning as I had spotted a slot when I could add to my warp weighted loom weaving. But first of all we were off to Mackenzie’s for a second breakfast. We instantly recognised the lady from Iowa who came in. We sat next to her at the lecture the previous night. She keeps Shetland sheep and does some natural dyeing.  It is great to chat to so many lovely people from around the world who are so interested in wool. Then It was on to Hoswick. Hadewych was running a class in the room but fortunately was happy for Susan and I to weave. It was sheer chance that Susan and I turned up at the same time, but we soon got into the rhythm of moving the heddle bar that we established yesterday. We made progress and I set up a simple ‘temple substitute’ to help keep the cloth of a consistent width.  

All too soon it was time to head North as I had a workshop with Elizabeth Johnston on Spinning for Lace- Carding vs Combing. Although Elizabeth initially taught  me to spin with a drop spindle nearly 20 years ago, this was the first wheel class  I had attended with her. It was an excellent class beginning with Elizabeth talking us through selecting and sorting a fleece, then us combing and carding the fleece and spinning to produce both woollen  and worsted yarn suitable for lace. There  was some history included too. I am quite an experienced spinner and mainly concentrate on fine lace spinning but I had lots of ‘ah ha’ moments as I realised how I could make further improvements and variations to my spinning. Another excellent class. (If you look at this short video from Promote Shetland on Wool Week 18 you will see me with Sarah during this class briefly towards the beginning,  I am wearing the meadowsweet jumper.) 

As often happens we called at the Museum, I love how the back of each loo door has a poem. This seemed apt for someone with increasingly elderly eyes: 

But the day was not over. I had plans to go to Isleburgh in the evening as it was the opportunity to knit and spin with the group that meets there regularly on a Tuesday.  In all my visits to wool week I had not managed to get to this. I had suggested that I take my Joy spinning wheel  so that  Averil would be able to try it out. 

I had carded some fleece to use with the wheel and had the rolags in a bag on top of my other stuff so they didn’t get squashed. It was a very windy evening and as we walked up the slope to enter the building, there was an almighty gust that got into the bag and 5 rolags took to the air and were then raining down on us. Fortunately Leslie and Janet from ‘across the pond’ who we meet and chat to each year were very quick thinking. They were walking towards us with friends and managed to catch 4 of them by hand and foot. It was just so funny, the 5th could not be located and I just wonder where it ended up. It was a lovely evening, very well organised and clearly the group were expecting lots of people. We sat in facing rows so we could all fit in and  went at different times for the super  ‘tea’ that was put on. Averil got on well with spinning and plying, Sarah (a friend from Staffordshire who runs ‘’) and I chatted and I did more carding. I hope to be able to fit in this lovely social wool related event again. This  was my 4th evening event in a row and I was planning another on Wednesday. 

The wind was very strong all  evening and by the time we left it was a gale. It was another night where we adjusted the direction of the van (this only happens in severe wind). In weather terms this was turning out to be a wool week like no other. The wind was very noisy but not unsurprisingly I went to sleep without much trouble! 

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