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.
The class was held at Greenbank Farm
and teachers were Elizabeth Johnson (from Shetland)
and Martha Owen (from South Carolina)
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.
The Man’s photos are very, very nice. And I don’t think you got carried away by the pretty colors at all! How did you find native Shetland to handle and spin? That wad of white looks wonderful!
thanks michelle- the man does have a good eye, doesn’t he? Anyway, Elizabeth (our teacher from Shetland) shipped all the wool over ahead of time! white and a range of natural colors. some raw, and some washed and mordanted for dyeing. I think we each came away with at least a pound or so to play with- maybe more 🙂
Great photos Denise! Love your bag 🙂
The Fair Isle knitting is superb too 🙂 Such a pleasure to look at.
thanks Jody- it was really amazing to see the sample items that both instructors brought. lovely stuff.
So pretty. All of it.
Beautiful yarn – Yvonne said the class was great fun. Looks like you had some too. T.