Friday, 11 October 2013

Shetland Wool Week 4

Yesterday was all about colour and texture and exciting the senses.

I went down to Hoswick Visitors' Centre for the Wild Wool Play Day with Nielanell.  Wonderful venue for the class and well worth a visit for the permanent displays and the cafe - the food!  Fantastic.

The room was filled with baskets and bags of a multitude of types and colours of fibres for us to card and spin - we could have carded for a week and there would still have been fibre left.  Wonderful to have so much choice and no limits on our creativity.

Niela showed us some yarns she'd spun and very helpfully, the batts she'd made to spin them.  The day was all about enabling us all, each in a very personalised way, to discover and release a new level of creativity within ourselves and to enjoy and embrace what we could create.  Lots of technical expertise from Niela if we wanted it, but where we were being pushed was in using our senses to translate experiences, sights, sounds and emotions into a yarn.  It was very exciting and I was being pushed further than I realised at the time.

The red batt on the left was what I made and spun in the morning.  We were just given baskets, told to choose fibres we loved and have fun with the drum carder.  We then all spilt our batts and shared them out so that we were spinning a yarn using carded fibre from everyone in the class - a great way to loosen us up with the fat singles spinning and not be too precious about 'our' batt.

Some of the results here - ignoring the yarn on the bobbin
In the afternoon it was time for hard mental work and in my case I chose to go outside to the grass verge and listen as much as look.  After Felicity's presentation the evening before I was totally focused on experiencing for myself the sound of Shetland.  There were some dying nettles that had a multitude of colours in them if you looked past the 'brown' and the sounds they made rattling against each other in the gusts of wind were something I'd have completely missed before the talk.  Also a splash of a brave, late little purple flower.  I knew I needed to create a structure to the yarn that had firm, almost hard sections with blowsy airy light sections and a little hard edge for that sharp tapping rattle.

The batt, shown on front and back is above next to my red batt, and the yarn is on the bobbin above - here it is shown more clearly.

I was absolutely thrilled - colours I'd never have worked with otherwise and pushed to use over spun and verging on underspun sections in the single to embrace the qualities of the wind.  Little pieces of cut linen for that spiky edge to the dead nettles.  I totally adore this yarn and can't believe I created it.


  1. What an amazing blog post, and how incredible to see your thought processes and path to the dancing nettle yarn at the end. Excellent writing and creativity.

  2. What glorious yarn! I am fascinated by the concept of adding sound into your design process, creating a skein of yarn that incorporates as many of the senses as possible. It is beautiful for me too look at; for you it must be a treasure, a true memory yarn.