This past weekend was my long-awaited “Fair Isle for Handspinners” workshop down on Whidbey Island, which is pretty fair in it’s own right.
Elizabeth brought a ton of wool from Shetland- some raw and some washed and mordanted for dyeing- so we had lots of wonderful raw materials to play with. We each got a pack of raw natural colored wools to start.
After that came the color!
Three dyestuffs- onion skins, cochineal, and logwood
yielded a wide range of shades for blending and spinning!
The right yarn for fair isle knitting is a little different than my usual spin-
It’s done long-draw, but with more spin in the single, and a fairly loose ply. So that was new for me.
Another cool thing I learned about was the Shetland Knitting Belt. (sorry, no pictures from the demo)
I think the best thing about this technique is that it frees up one of your hands from having to hold a needle, and makes the of the two working yarns easier to manage. Very neat idea.
We did a little knitting with our sample yarns on day three-
I got a little carried away with all the colors, I think…
Here are some other scenes from around South Whidbey courtesy of The Man.