Monday, 13 January 2020

Shetland Wool Week 19: 14 Spinning for Fair Isle

Wed Oct 2:Day 17 


When I knit Fair isle I like to have naturally dyed the colours first, to me this helps make the garment special. Natural dyeing is a slow and very enjoyable part of the total project. If I am doing the dyeing I don’t usually spin the yarn - life is too short and there are so many other textile things I like doing.


I was looking forward to this class ‘Spinning for Fair Isle’ with Elizabeth Johnston as I would be taught how to get a coordinating range of colours by carding and spinning. Just like natural dyeing I could have my own unique  item - this is  a different way of ‘making the colours’. It was also rather special for me to have a class with Elizabeth as it was her who first taught me to spin on a drop spindle in 2000. Life changing at its best! 


It was a full day class at Hoswick, which is a lovely place to spend a day. There were just 6 of us  in the class and I believe I was the only British person there. However, I had already met Helen, from Sweden in Unst and I knew Suzanne from the USA from previous years at Wool Week. I had taken my Joy  wheel and also my own carders because I could! I was also able to spin with my wheel in Unst this year and of course I needed it for yesterday in Ollaberry. 




We started by preparing rolags in each of black and white and then from these a range of colours  in between. Elizabeth was keen to help those that she thought could make rolags more easily. I kept my head down and hoped my method met with approval as I had done carding, albeit for lace during a class, with Elizabeth last year. 

We had the chance to  repeat this with brown and white so we would have 2 naturally coloured ranges during the day. My carding certainly improved. I like to do things slowly but even my speed improved with all this carding. The aim was to get a range of rolags of different colour values. 




The afternoon was more experimental when we added colour into our initial mix of fleece and got great variations and I could see the endless possibilities of what we could achieve by these techniques. Careful notes were needed to know what I had done. 

Some of the class were spinning before lunch but I like to get everything prepared first! 

I was delighted with the results as I began to spin some of the rolags later in the day, but they were really too good  to spin! 



The day went so quickly but this is another wool related hole to fall down..... no spinner can ever be bored! 


I had been planning to go to the High School for the Knitting  night. I knew I had to give up on this idea in the interests of managing to get to my class, another full day, tomorrow. I guess the Knitting  evening will be on next year too. It is always nice to go and chat to friends who I only meet at wool week but if I got a migraine I wouldn’t be going anywhere tomorrow. 


So dinner and an early night for me! 

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