Friday, 29 January 2016

Catch up - and what is next?

The winter is supposed to be the time to relax a little after the busy summer, catch up with orders, increase stock levels, but also plan for the coming year. All in all that makes for a busier time than the summer.

My last blog was after Wool Week with the winner of my Baa-ble hat. With a good wool week behind me and very little stock remaining, and a few weeks to the Craft Fair, I hit the spinning wheel and the dye pots to get yarn and colour. I spun some worsted sock yarn, and jumper weight and lace weight yarns. Then dyed onion yellow, indigo blue and over-dyed for greens, leaving some as natural colours. 

Next it was back to the spinning wheel, yarn was needed for orders and stock.

But at the same time plans had to be put in place for 2016. So what next?

Firstly, The Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, I have booked a stall at the Market, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th, and I am also teaching a class: Fair Isle - Colour blending, on Sunday 20th. 

I have a new scarf pattern for EYF,

Scarf detail

Hope to see a some of you there.

In May I set off for a trip to the US with my friend Martha Owen, we will be at 
The John C Campbell Folk School, North Carolina,; 
North House Folk School, Minnesota,; 
Vesterhiem Museum, Iowa,; 
then I go on to Cordova, Alaska to take part in The Net Lofts Gansey Project,
We are still working on one more venue. 

Myself and Martha are really looking forward to our trip, it is a bit of an epic one, but it is so exciting - hope we dont get lost any where on the way.

And, of course, the classes for 2016 Wool Week have to be organised. That has taken up a lot of time this month but the plans for all the classes that myself and Niela set up in the Hoswick Visitor Centre are almost complete.

Fit Christmas, New Year and the Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa into the whole scheme of things, and it has been quite a busy winter so far.

Today is a good day to stay inside and work, we have 100 mile an hour justs of wind and a few heavy showers of rain. Hope it passes soon, but it is exciting to watch a storm like this. So far the power is still on, but I am remembering to hit the 'save' button, just in case.

One last item - For the past few years I have been working on a book on the Warp Weighted Loom with Hildur from Iceland, Marta from Norway, in conjunction with the Osterøy Museum in Norway. It is almost finished and should be available by the summer.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Baa-ble hat winner

We have a winner for the Baa-ble hat. 

The winning ticket was drawn at the Maker's Market. Donna was teaching a class next to the Market, so Selina and I gate-crashed quietly and got her to draw the winning ticket.

                           Congratulations Lynette.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


A Baa-ble hat designed for this years Shetland Wool Week by Donna Smith, knitted in my handspun yarn, in a mix of natural Shetland colours, as well as natural and chemical dyed yarns.

Decide for yourself what the scene in the hat is – I see - sheep on the foreshore on a winter night with the Merrie Dancers in the sky above!

You dont have to be in Shetland to win, send an email, or a PM on facebook, with your name and address and I will add to the draw.

            The winner will be drawn at Makers market on Saturday 3rd October.

Monday, 21 September 2015

North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference, Faeroe

This week is the final preparation time for Wool Week - 9 days of workshops, both hard work and fun, meeting old friends and making new ones. 

However last week I set off for Faeroe to the Wool Conference. It was a wonderfully different week, lots of very interesting talks, discovering more about the Short Tail sheep in neighbouring countries.  

My talk was about my journey in textiles, from knitting as a child, to my business today working with handspun yarns and handknit garments, and including my interest and research into the ancient textiles and the warp-weighted Loom.

Next year the conference is in Lofoten, would love to go but not sure if I can fit it in.

But this was Faeroe and I did find the Faeroese Scotrok...


  ... and some nice coloured Faeroese ewes ...

... loved that dark grey face in the centre of this group.

                                                                ... and a stunning ram ...

Then the scenery and the views - WOW .......

So now I am back home and back to work ..... just a few days before myself and Niela ( set up at the Hoswick Visitor Centre ready for Wool Week classes. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Using a Shetland 'kep' pattern from the museum.

Fisherman's 'Keps' are usually thought of as a Fair Isle hat, but they were knitting throughout the Shetland mainland as well. It is the same hat except that the patterns in the Shetland hats are all 'peerie' patterns. There are a couple of examples on display in the Shetland Museum, and I have, in the past, used one of these designs in a square hat.

I have now knitted this same design in a waistcoat, requested by a customer. 

The shade of the colours are a little different but for natural and natural dyed colours they are never the same. Here it is, ready to be posted, and with a square hat to match.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A new design - HAIRST

A new design for dags and toories was past due, and something a little different for me. This time I have included natural dyed colours.

The natural colours are 2 fawns and moorit. The dyed colours are logwood blue, lichen and 2 onion yellows, one dyed on white and the other on a light grey.

A peerie pattern is added in this Toorie and a simple crown in fawn and moorit with a touch of blue. The wirsties do have a slit for a thumb so can be worn as dags or a wrist warmer.

The square hat and lang dags shows all the patterns I have used in the Hairst design.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Shetland Textile Museum Exhibition 2015

I have the privilage to be part of this years exhibition at the Shetland Textile Museum. This year the museums display is entitled -  "Makers' Choice". The trustees asked individual Shetland makers to choose a piece from the Museums collection which they liked, or which "spoke" to them, or which they had been inspired by. Then those chosen pieces would be displayed beside a piece of work by the maker relating to that inspiration.

So off I went to take a look through the photos - and I found a small 'kep' (hat). 

What drew me to the hat was the colours - bright natural dyes, as well as the design. It is in what is called traditional colours but it seemed to me to have a different look than the usual combination.

The original has natural white and moorit and dyed colours of red from madder, two blue shades from indigo, and a yellow which could have been from a number of natural dye stuffs. The yarn is commercially spun lace weight yarn. There are some mistakes in the motifs but other than that the knitting is perfect.

My copy and 2 matching toorie hats, both in handspun yarn and natural dyed colours, which are now in the Museum for sale. 

I knitted a copy of the hat and used madder for red, logwood for blue, and onion for yellow. My copy is in my handspun yarn but a thicker yarn than the original, so that my hat is bigger and I had to leave out one pattern repeat. My madder red is not as red as the original, and, as I have used logwood for the blues, the lighter blue is not the clear indigo blue but has a purplish tinge too it.

A bonus for me in finding this piece is that it was donated by Mavis Robertson, whom I had known from my school days.