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.