Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Woolly Wednesday



On Saturday, a neighbour and I went to the local woolcraft group - they were holding a special craft showcase day, as their end of term event.  The group meet monthly from September - March.  Such an inspiring afternoon.  The first person we saw was the lovely Shelia from Scalpay Linens, spinning a Wensleydale fleece on the Ashford Country wheel.


Look at that beautiful curly fleece - it looks already spun.  You can read more about the preparation of this fleece here.



This is some of the finished yarn - love that dark brown.
Shelia is involved in a very worthy project here on the isles - Uistwool.  A plan to build a brand new mill and spinning centre on North Uist.


But there was more than yarn here.   The Stornoway quilting group had an impressive display, and I had a lovely chat with the ladies about my mother's quilting  - and all the cut out pieces i have inherited.  They were very keen that I should make a quilt in her memory, and invited me along to their group whenever I felt ready.


At the next stall was the fabulous Sofi Ona.  I loved her - such a fun approach to upcycling, and she had so many wonderful and inspiring ideas. Isn't that zip bracelet just great? Hopefully she is going to be running a course, so i duly signed up for that.  As far as I know, she doesn't have a website, but on her business card (made from old playing cards, and stored neatly in an upcycled cassette box) she does have a facebook page - Precious Waste - Trashion Designs. Do pop over and see her, if you do the fb thing.


Some yarn dyeing next - mostly using local natural materials - flowers, leaves lichens etc.  Glorious rainbow of colours.  I loved the  deep yellows from the onion skins and the light blue, which was woad.


A group of lovely knitters from our fab LYS were sat round a table knitting and chatting away.  I have signed up for a Fair Isle course in the Autumn - where we will attempt to knit a cushion.  The lady who will be teaching was knitting a beautiful Alice Starmore design cardigan, and she explained to me the scary concept of steeks - eek.  All sorts of interesting things coming up!


And then, a friend, demonstrating his Extreme Knitting! This is strenuous stuff, knitting with the waste ends of Harris Tweed, once the cloth has been taken off the loom.


I know J has knitted a few blankets, cushions and rugs from this.  I think a crochet rug would be an interesting project.  When I sat down for a chat, one of our neighbour's sons was having a go with the giant pins too.  
In fact there were lots of workshops and chances to try out various crafts - papermaking, cross-stitch, stick making and wood turning, as well as the yarn based ones. My friend is already an accomplished spinner, and was keen to get back into it, so after tea and cake (of course) she headed back to the spinning wheels


I wandered around a bit more, then got talking to a man who was demonstrating knot tying and rope work. Quite fascinating, and a very useful skill to have on the croft.  He taught me how to splice a rope!  I didn't even know what that meant before :)


Then I found myself back at the spinning ladies, telling of my woes with the wheel.  A very kind and lovely lady sat with me and patiently took me through the process of using the spindle.  Her explanation and techniques really seemed to click with me - so much more than the best books or videos, and I found I was able to spin.  So, here is my spindle of Hebridean fleece, which is already a little ball of yarn! What an inspirational afternoon.  

Today I am linking up with Dawn and Kelly at Spinsiration for their Woolly Wednesday meeting.

34 comments:

  1. What a fantastic display of crafts, and how exciting to be signed up for so many courses. I really want to learn fairisle too. Lovely ball of homespun wool too.

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    1. Hmm - I didn't realise just how many until i re-read my post - lol. xx

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  2. Ooooooooh, I am loving that fleece and yarn! Wow!!
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.
    This is going to be the year I really start knitting, I think.
    I can't wait any longer ;)

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    1. You will love it - the yarn was gorgeous - hope to see you sharing some woolly goodness soon xx

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  3. Thanks for sharing (and linking up to Spinspiration), wow what a wonderful day!
    I love the idea of the mill project, will watch with great interest. I would so love to be involved in something like that. The Wensleydale is beautiful, I do like the longwools with all their curls.

    I've done a little fairisle, not as scary as it looks - had a good teacher at our guild though! I haven't tried steeking yet, it's on my list to try sometime soon though having seen it demonstrated. Something about it seems wrong but it does work well.

    Love your spindle spinning, I think it's easier to learn watching someone too - I'm not an accomplished spindler, prefer the wheel.
    Hope to see some of your wheel spinning one day too :-)

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    1. Thanks Dawn - good to finally link up.
      Who knows? ;)

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  4. gosh.... some fascinating crafts there.... and the colours..... devine!
    blessings, Willow x

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  5. Now you really gone and done it! I have drooled over your photos and dreamed of one day visiting this lovely place you call home, now after today's post I am ready to just swim there! What a great day you had and I think it all looks fantastic!

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    1. Lol Tracey, I will start watching out for you next week, with a nice fluffy towel and a flask of cocoa waiting. xxx

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  6. Well, that is just fantastic. The main thing as far as I am concerned is a gratitude to all involved for passing on their skills and enthusiasm. Would that this all could become part of everyones education. Wherever they are. You are so lucky!

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    1. Absolutely Jill - you know the best piece of advice came from an old woman who had been a spinner and a weaver - I was talking about my issues with putting too much twist on the yarn and she said - just learn some of the old spinning songs and you will be all right. x

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  7. How fantastic to see that talent in one spot! I love the natural yarn. I came so close to buying a beginner's book and yarn for a small project yesterday and then I come across your post today. I'm going to have to take myself to the wonderful yarn store I found in a nearby small town and get started.

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    1. Janet - i don't think you have much choice - once you begin to think about it then that's it. Lots of help around for you xx

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  8. I do not think I have ever seen knitting needles as big as the ones in your photo!! Goodness me! I would be sore from that kind of knitting :)

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    1. It seems really hard work on the shoulders watching him xx

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  9. I really enjoyed my day out with you, even though I've been sat here the whole time! Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing! xx

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  10. That looks like such fun! Lots of talent where you are.

    Believe me, steeking is nowhere near as scary as it sounds. Honest! It's one of my preferred construction techniques. Start small - do a cafetiere cover knitted in the round or something like that. Once you see what a joy it is only to knit in circles and always have the right side of the work in front of you, especially when doing colourwork, you will never want to go back!

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  11. That looks so interesting and fun. Glad you had a good time xxx

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  12. What a great range of activities. Looks like my kind of craft show. That fleece is gorgeous.

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  13. What beautiful lush yarns, makes me wish I still was a spinner and weaver.

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  14. Wow, what a fabulous event! Sounds like you really made the most of it :)
    -Jaime

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  15. Incredible! It sounds and looks like noon of my dreams. It was very interesting to read and I think It was much more interesting to be there in reality.

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  16. that extreme knitting is wild! i can see how it would be hard on the shoulders. where would you ever get such huge knitting needles?

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  17. Sounds like a very interesting day! I would love to have a go at making one of those rugs and crochet would be a good idea to try I agree. There is just something about those lovely curly fleeces too - gorgeous

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  18. What a wonderful place to live, so many exciting crafts going on :)
    Sue Xxx

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  19. Your post took me right back to my childhood. I remember my Mum spinning a curly Wensleydale fleece. We used to be tasked with collecting lichens for her to use as dyes...and watching the wool change colour and the smell of onion skins. Wonderful. We used to card the wool too. What a wealth of creativity and skill you have at your disposal and what a fabulous post. Thank you!
    Katie

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  20. What an inspirational event Jacqui! I just love the quilts you pictured, gorgeous. So many ideas in your post! xx

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  21. Wow wow wow, beautiful, exciting! :) :)

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  22. So much beauty! The best part is that be feasting my eyes upon it, I can feel with my hands how it feels. :) Mmmmmm.
    Just lovely.

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  23. So much creativity happening there! I just love that extreme knitting and the incredible variety of dyed yarns. What intrigued me most though was the lady spinning the Wensleydale. I have Wensleydale in black, brown and white and I can't wait to start spinning this. Was she spinning the wool as is, using her fingers to prepare the wool as she went along? I would be most interested to know. Most of the spinning I do, I hardly prepare and simply use my fingers as I go along. Hooray for you drop spindling. I like drop spindling although don't do so much these days. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful day with us and for linking on Spinspiration to share that creativity.
    Best wishes to you Jacqui and enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Hi Kelly - hope you are all well.
      Yes, she was just pulling the yarn straight from her basket onto the wheel. I think she had washed it beforehand - have a click onto her blog at Sclapay linens, as she talks a bit about it there. She is a lovely lady, and I am sure would be happy to answer your queries. xx

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  24. how did i miss this jacqui!? what a fantastic post, i've just been studying each and every photo. how i would have loved to have been there. and how exciting you have connected with the spindle, i wish you could teach me now! wonderful post!

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  25. My spindle lies unloved in a box as I just can't get the hang of it at all. However I use my wheel every day and love her dearly!

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