Traditional Shetland Spinning
& Lace Knitting
Dates: May 14-16, 2010
Times: 9am - 12 noon & 1pm - 4pm
Location: Race Road Fire Station, Coupeville, WA
Material Cost (to be paid to instructors): $20 (Students will also need to purchase their own yarn for this class - See `Student Supply List')
The `primitive' Shetland sheep produces wool for yarns of soft cobweb to tough rug warp on the windswept, heather clad hills of Shetland, Scotland located in the North Sea. The array of color available through this sheep breed also makes it a popular choice for American shepherds and handspinners. Join Elizabeth Johnston of Shetland, Scotland and Martha Owen, resident artist at the John C. Campbell Folkschool in western North Carolina to explore the time honored skills and art of making the best out of this style of fleece.
This class will include sorting, washing, picking, carding, combing, spinning woolen, spinning worsted, plying Shetland style (where you can't feel the bumps in the jumper yarn) for lace weight and cobweb yarns (Can't see it? Darn, too big!)
Students will then use their own handspun efforts or commercial yarns to knit lace. They will also have the opportunity to use a traditional knitting sheath still in use in Shetland today and/or their own knitting needles for lace knitting as well. They will be introduced to lace repeats, edgings, or borders and graphing patterns. Discussion topics will include an exploration of traditional shawl shaping and construction for a hap (a warm everyday shawl).
We will have on hand Shetland fleeces from both Shetland and the US.
Please note: Students must have experience in both basic spinning and knitting.
Elizabeth Johnston - a native of Shetland, has demonstrated, lectured and taught workshops in spinning, lace and Fair Isle knitting throughout the UK, Europe and in the US. She recently traveled with Tete-a-Tete opera company, performing a new production of Homer's Odyssey, "Odysseus Unwound", with Shetland knitters and spinners as the fates. She is working with the Shetland Museum to complete her first book on lace knitting. Until recently, she could be found most days at the archeological dig at Scatness, Shetland, where she has researched, hand-spun, and woven cloth for several Iron-age garments.
Martha Owen - is the resident artist in spinning, dyeing, feltmaking and knitting at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild as well as the co-owner of the Yarn Circle fiber shop in Murphy, NC. Martha also raises sheep, plays banjo and is known to tell a story or two.