Another Fair Isle

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
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and teachers were Elizabeth Johnson (from Shetland)
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and Martha Owen (from South Carolina)
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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.

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After that came the color!
Three dyestuffs- onion skins, cochineal, and logwood
yielded a wide range of shades for blending and spinning!

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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…

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Here are some other scenes from around South Whidbey courtesy of The Man.

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7 Comments

  1. Michelle

    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!

    Reply
    • sheepsclothing

      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 🙂

      Reply

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