Thursday, 19 January 2017

Happy New Year

This blog was supposed to go out right after the new year, but, hey, where do the days go! At least it is not February already.

Still, I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year and are ready for 2017.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been working on a few projects: 

A pattern for my lace jacket, part of my collection at the Wool Week fashion show. I have promised it will be available at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March.

Helping Hazel Tindall with a new DVD, exciting. It should be ready in the spring, - title still to be decided.

Planning classes for Shetland Wool Week 2017 - classes need to be submitted to the committee by the 31st January. There have been lots of emails and phone calls between Niela and I and our tutors - and we are nearly finished. Work on Wool Week is never ending, it seems to go on all year! But it is worth it.

I have been working on planning a Shetland Ooie (woolly) Weekend. Planning for that to happen with Hazel Tindall, Anne Eunson and myself as tutors, for 25th and 26th of February. I should have a blog on that done over the weekend.

So, how much spinning has been done this year so far? well, I have to admit the answer is none. I will have to rectify that very soon.

Before we get any further into 2017 I have to catch up on 2016. 

The summer ended with very little yarn or knitwear in the studio, so the priority before Wool Week and the Craft Fair was, as well as keeping up with orders, to spin some yarn at least. I did get yarn spun and even did some dyeing, but also updated my FI Toorie and Dags patterns to included some other Shetland yarn. Photos of those now need to go up on a blog.

Wool Week was wonderful as usual, so good to see so many now familiar faces, and meet some new wookweekers too.

A new addition this year was a fashion show at the opening. Those taking part needed 4 or 5 pieces each, and I did just find 5 pieces and as you all know, for me they all have to be in my handspun yarn. 

Shetland Handspun - Lunklet, a lace layered jacket

Lunklet - the lace layered jacket that I am writing a pattern for, was just finished, and a perfect piece. Layers in different natural moorits and fawns with the top in a light moorit and tussah silk yarn.

borrowed a shawl from a customer. It had been her wedding shawl, a fine lace shawl in Tussah silk and Shetland charcoal. So nice to see it again but a bit frightening to have it in case I damaged it. I kept it with me, put it on the model as she went out and took it back as soon as she left the hall. 
I still had it with me when I was at J&S to teach a lace class through the week, and, one of the girls in the class asked if I had the shawl with me? She had been walking on a beach on the back of Bressay the previous day and had met Maureen, the shawls owner. How the conversation got to the shawl I dont know but it did, and Maureen said - ask her if you can see it. So at the end of the class, out came the shawl for everyone to see. 
There are always coincidences like that here in Shetland, a small-ish place where lots of people know each other, and we often stop to talk to people, especially on a deserted beach. I still dont have a photo of the shawl though, perhaps I should rectify that.

Shetland Handspun - Cumulus Shawl

I had a new shawl of my own. Alpaca, silk, cashmere, white black and indigo blues, spun from a top which had been a gift. Not my normal fibre, but I love it, and it is mine - blue, my favourite colour.

Shetland Handspun - Voar Jacket
I had a Fair Isle allover to show, colours picked by a customer and luckily ready just in time to be included and then mailed off to its owner, Different colour combinations than I would have chosen, but I did love the result. 
(My own allover was in reserve if this one was not ready.)

Shetland Handspun - Voar Jacket detail

Shetland Handspun - Waterfall Jacket
My last piece, made new for the show, was a design I had wanted to do for some time, and would mean I had one garment in stock. I might write a pattern for this too, at some point. 

I had enough purple yarn, just enough.It was dyed with cochineal and over-dyed with indigo but leaving spots of the cochineal pink showing through. I knitted the plain part on the knitting machine and handknitted the Fair Isle. The FI detail round the collar which extended down the fronts had a stripped backing in all the colours used. The small Fair Isle accent at the corner of the ribbing an added little extra.

Shetland Handspun - Layers of Fashion Show garments
That started off a great Wool Week and the rest of the week seemed to go so quickly, somehow it always does, probably because I plan too many workshops for myself. I always try to keep some free time but often that just gets used up.

I did have one completely free evening when myself and 2 Dutch friends had diner at the museum and then went to the talk on Estonian Mittens.

My last big event last year was the launch of our book - 
The Warp-Weighted Loom I Oppstadveven I Kljásteinavefstaður

Here is a link for more information on the book - 

This was a collaboration between 3 weavers, Hildur from Iceland, Marta from Norway and myself (I weave a little, and love this loom), and Osteroy Museum in Norway. The book offers a history of the loom in Iceland, Norway and Shetland, but most importantly instructions on weaving on the loom.

Thanks to Randi and Atle for all the editing, and to the Ingvild Øye, Michèle Hayeur Smith, Katherine Larson, Carol Christiansen, Lena Hammarlund and  Sigridur Sigurdardottir for their contributions.

The launch was in Bergen on 15th December, an exciting and enjoyable 3 days, to finish our 5 years journey together. 

That ended 2016, a year full of woolly adventures. Now I am working on making 2017 just as good. Hope to see some of you through the year.

Friday, 14 October 2016


So pleased to be going to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival next year (2017). 2016 was my first time at Edinburgh and I really enjoyed it, so I proposed for 2017, and was accepted! I am teaching 2 classes: Improvers' Spinning and Understanding Shetland Lace. Classes go on sale today. Saturday 15th October 2016. 

Exciting. Hope to see a few of you there.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Book Launch: The Warp-Weighted Loom I Oppstadveven I Kljásteinavefstaður

The Warp-Weighted Loom I Oppstadveven I Kljásteinavefstaður

Book Launch - Ist December 2016

For almost 6 years I have been working with 2 wonderful women, Hildur from Iceland and Marta from Norway, at the Osteroy Museum in Norway.

Our initial project was to produce an instruction book for the Warp-Weighted Loom. It developed into much more but the main purpose still remains an instruction on how to weave on the loom.

Our book now includes the history of the loom in each of our own countries - Iceland, Shetland and Norway, and the connections we uncovered are amazing. We have also included several papers on textiles and research relating to the loom.

Here is a link to more information on the book and how to pre-order.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


The last two stops on my US trip are in Indiana and Alaska, but on the way to Indiana we stopped off to see some friends in Iowa - who just happened to have some Shetland sheep - just a peerie reminder of home. 

Bonnie ewes

Nice colours

We took a tour through their garden on our way to see the sheep.

On to Susan's in Indiana and a big class for dyeing, spinning and knitting, sadly I seemed to forget to take photos of the class, only got one of a load of wheels at lunch time - you can see it was a busy class...

I did remember to take photos of some of the fun times in the evening.

A few photos of the pool party.

One of the dogs who kept us company.

Then a browse round Susan's shop and a little more knitting before bedtime. It was such a great spot all of us to sit and knit or spin after supper. 

Then on to Cordova Alaska.........

The view from our cabin over Lake Eyak is stunning, even in the rain with cloud covering the mountains and the snow.

Just settling in and getting ready for the first class.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Knitting class at Vesterheim Museum

The second class at Vesterheim Museum is done, and we have had a day off, which we spent in the museum viewing not only the exhibits, but also some of the Akle in the store with Laurann. It was wonderful to see those. We did also stay in Java Johns coffee shop much longer than we planned, it was good coffee and we kept finding more friends to talk to.

So here are a few photos of the designs which our students created in the class. The yarn was Jamieson & Smith and the colors were dyed during our dye class at Vesterheim.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

US Tour

Almost half way through my US trip - it must be time to do a blog. The problem is that I have to find the time to do that, so I am up a little early this morning to get this done and posted. 

Most of this trip is working with my friend, Martha Owen, spinner, knitter, dyer, storyteller, banjo player and Resident Artist at the John C Campbell folk school where we started with 2 classes, dyeing, spinning and knitting.

Class results at John C Campbell Folk School. Yarn spun and knitted from fleece dyes in the class.

A garden.

Colours taken from a thunder storm.

Martha found a few dogs to play with on our day off between classes.

 Then on to the North House Folkschool for more dyeing, spinning and weaving.
Results of the dyeing class at Noth House Folk School.

Martha's spinning class at North House.

Heddles being knitted on the loom.

Heidi's weaving on the loom.

 ... and we are now at the Vesterheim Museum, just finished a dye class, and today we start a knitting class.
Some of the colour we dyed at the Vesterheim Museum.

 Hoping for a little cooler temperatures today and no thunder storms like last nights.


Monday, 23 May 2016

My 2016 Wool Week Hat

Sunday 22nd May

I picked up a copy of Ella’s pattern for this year’s Wool Week hat when I was at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (yes, I went all that way for the pattern? well not really, but I was there and it was there so I picked it up), and, I have at last got my hat knitted. It took a while but I found the time on my flight to the US this past week, on my way to start my US adventure.

I planned the colours for my hat in my handspun yarn, as usual, changed the colours a little, and used all naturals. What I did change was one of the rounds of crofthooses (sorry Ella). The idea popped into my head that it might be nice to have words in it, so I graphed out ‘shetland wool week croft hoose hat’. It almost fitted the stitches but not quite, so after some thought, I took out ‘week’ and put in ‘toorie’ (Shetland for ‘hat’) and that fitted perfectly. 

Hat finished, washed, dressed
Love the crown

Didnt get it knitted before I left for the US. But it kept me occupied through the flight from Aberdeen to Amsterdam to Atlanta and then to Ashville, NC. A long flight with a few problems but it did get me to my destination - and the hat was done, and my US adventure with my friend Martha Owen had begun.

First stop here in the US is the John C Campbell Folk School, NC, where we are teaching 2 classes, a weekend class in Dyeing, which finished this morning, and a week class in dyeing, spinning and knitting which starts tonight.

The weekend class went really well, lots of colour, and good students, with some old friends among them. The time just went by too fast.

looking at samples of the dyed fleece and mixing the colours.

Today has been a long day so far and there is still more to do. It started with Martha and David at Morning Song at the Folk School at 7.45am, then to finish the class, and the student presentation, before a leisurely lunch and a rest (and finding a little time to write a blog) before Martha and I head back to the Folk School to meet the students for the next class and get that one started.

David and Martha at Morning Song 

But the sun is shining, it is warm with very little wind, and it is so relaxing sitting on the porch among the trees in North Carolina.

The US trip will continue with classes at North House, Minnesota; Vesterheim Museum, Iowa; The Trading Post for Fibres, Indiana; then Martha goes home and I continue to Cordova, Alaska; then home.