A review of the year – January to April 2020

On the first Thursday of each month, the guild typically host a show, ask & tell.  With the advent of COVID-19, we were not able to meet.  To keep our guild spirit up we moved the show & tell to Facebook.  We had no idea when we made that decision in March/April timeframe, that we would still be in the middle of the pandemic in the December 2020.  As the year is coming to an end, we will be doing a year review on the website.  Our members have been busy, so get your coffee/tea , sit down in a comfy chair and enjoy this first part of this year in review.

Spinning

On January 21st, 2020, Oh, the fun we have! Members gathered with their spinning wheels to spin with a bunny! German angora bunny–Ms Rosemary Snowflake–came to the high school with caregivers Skye and Bella. Ms Rosemary Snowflake likes to be cuddled, so members had the opportunity to have a warm lap while they spun. Skye and Bella shared their knowledge about the various breeds of fibre giving bunnies and how they are cared for. They also brought some of their collected fibre for us to fondle. This was truly some fibre bliss!

Visit from German angora bunny with owner Skye and Bella

Mary's Yak fiber

Mary P shared the following with us: I have been stash diving for the last month and have embarked on a goal to spin my “exotic” fibers. Judith Mackenzie had this tip in her Rare and Exotic Fibers book: steam your roving or top before spinning to “wake up” the crimp. The attached photo shows the difference in the yak top I am now spinning. Huge difference in feel and spin. The fibre feels alive instead of limp. The 100 grams were squished in a small sandwich bag and then into a small shoe box. Now they more than fill the shoe box. On both pictures, the thinner roving is before steaming and the thicker roving is after the steaming.

 

Silk Fusion

In early 2020, Ida Marie made lovely silk fusion boxes and hanging trees.

Silk fusion boxes and trees by Ada Marie

Our best friends: sheep

New Gotlands at North Beach Farm Early April 2020.

Lola was a Dream mother. Gave birth in about 15 minutes. And started caring for them right away. Dory was also a dream. She had hers in the pasture at 11:00 pm and had him cleaned up and standing with no help from us. Luna had hers twins after long labour from 2:00 in the afternoon until 3:00 am for female and 4:00 am for male. She rejected both due to way she was feeling. We cleaned them up, kept them warm, milked Luna and Dory for colostrum and tied Luna up and helped the twins to feed directly every 3 hours during daylight. The twins were 15 and 20 lbs after two weeks. All is good.  Maeve, our fourth ewe, was to give birth in the next few days

Berg our ram is looking very proud of himself.

We prepared fleeces from our original four ewes and ram for a special project, we prepared sweaters for our daughters -in-law – carded, spun and knit with craft resources on all on Salt Spring.

Thanks goes out to Margaret Thompson , who helped us through our first lambing season.

Dave and Marnie Naphtali.

new Gotlands at North Beach Farm

Shearing season is always busy on Salt Spring Island.  This is not different at Sheila’s farm. Below are pictures of her 19 sheep awaiting shearing and after.   There is a lot of spinning and weaving in Sheila’s future.

Sheila 19 sheep gathered for shearing

Weaving

Alpaca silk blend scarf handspun and handwoven by Sandra

 

 

 

Sandra says she finally got that alpaca/silk blend to behave and weaved a beautiful scarf, shadow weave structure on just 4-shafts.

 

 

 

 

 

Balance weave on backstrap loom by Elise

 

 

Elise is using her isolation time to explore balanced weave on a backstrap loom. She bought an antique Miao (Chinese minority group) bamboo reed, and she warped her backstrap loom with 2/16 cotton to get a fairly airy weave, to which she added a little bit of inlay with 2/8 cotton – inspired by Guatemalan “pikb’il” weaving.

 

 

 

From Sandra: Gardening has been top of the to-do-list this past week, but a couple of projects are inching along. This tartan-ish plaid blanket is on Mom’s 45″ counterbalance at the studio. The frequent colour changes make for slow progress, and given my somewhat limited stature, an hour of weaving is a major workout. The bright colours remind me of spring flowers.

zucchini flowers anyone? Trying Linda Gilkeson’s early start suggestion.

Aubrieta deltoïdea (purple rock cress) is magnificent this year.

 

Sandra tartan plain weaved blanked

Double Weave on loom by Kate in progress

 

Kate Hammond, a new member, stated the following: Our first week of home schooling was definitely … different… first we were treated as an unexpected extension of Spring Break but  we are attempting to fall into some sort of pattern! But I did get a little weaving done! I am on the pattern pick up portion of the double weave sampler. Pattern pick up is both extremely time consuming and also my new favourite thing! But did I mention time consuming? I also made the mistake of letting my kids help me pick the pattern so, fingers crossed, I can work with what they chose! think you can guess what it is yet?

 

 

Monk Belt Table Runner on loom in progress by Lisa

 

Lisa Miki, a new member, shared her experience: I’ve been participating in the Studio’s Beginners Weaving Round Robin Workshop led by Sandra. The loom I dressed is for a monk’s belt short table runner/placemat. It’s been so much fun to weave and I can’t wait to trade it in for another project to learn a new technique! The format of this workshop is perfect for this time of social distancing because we can work on the table looms at home in isolation. But I must say that I’m looking forward to a time when we can all be back in the studio together.

 

 

 

 

Sweet and cheery plain weave napkins by Genevieve

 

From Genevieve: My first project completed for the Round Robin Workshop! A sweet and cheery plain weave napkin. I like it so much I may have to make a whole set to coordinate with my gingham picnic blanket! Looking forward to trying the next project….

It’s plain weave, 8/2 cotton.

 

 

 

 

From Terri B: This is the most recent weaving off my SAORI loom. It was very calming to weave once I was actually able to sit at the loom. It took a few weeks to be able to focus enough and then one day I just decided to start weaving back and forth.

The warp is cotton and linen and the weft is cotton, linen and silk. It washed up beautifully in the washer and dryer and is so soft now (photos are before washing). I’ll be making some type of clothing with it.

Saori weaving by Terri B

Sandra 's dye combo creation called terra-cotta

 

From Sandra: The last couple of days of April was spent creating a dye combo I’m calling terra-cotta. Two variations are illustrated. Ultimately, it’s for a cotton slub weft to harmonize with the warp stripes pictured. Can you guess which Procion MX dye colours I used? Would you believe orange, purple and scarlet?

 

 

 

Sheila was very busy and weaved 4 throws between January and April 2020.

Patterns were taken from Tom Knisely’s baby blanket pattern book, Jan/Feb handwoven magazine, M&O pattern and plain weave.

4 throws weaved by Sheila

Studio News:

Early April, What’s on the studio looms? The Spring has an 8-shaft Rosepath woven-shibori scarf warp.  The woven-in blue pattern threads are a fast way to mimic a traditional stitched shibori design. Through treadling choices, a variety of patterns is possible. This scarf has two patterns (rosepath diamonds and waves) that alternate (picture 1)

Next step is to pull up the blue threads to compress the underlying plain weave cloth as tightly as possible in preparation for dyeing (picture 2).

The scarf yarn is 8/2 tencel and is readily dyed with Procion MX. After dyeing in a black bath, and removing the blue pattern threads, the shibori pattern is revealed. This is a closeup of the rosepath diamonds section (picture 3).

The final step for this scarf was overdyeing with fuchsia. Soft, supple and warm. Love it (picture 4).

Lessons learned? 1. Tie the pattern threads more tightly to avoid dye leakage that’s evident as horizontal streaking. 2. Normally, the pattern threads are carefully cut at the knots and quickly pulled out. This time, as an experiment, the knots were untied and the pattern threads recovered as a black & blue ikat yarn; very slow, tedious process which doesn’t warrant repeating.

The second scarf woven has three different treadling patterns, and the dyeing process may change. We can dye before pulling up the threads to create the background colour, either by immersion or as painting. Definitely exciting possibilities.

 

Rosepath shibori scarf woven on 8-shaft loom

 

More from the studio — the Guild’s Artisat jack loom had an old-fashioned twill tea towel warp with rosepath threading in the stripes. The warp is primarily 8/2 hemp-cotton (unbleached) with 8/2 cotton for the colour stripes. The towel woven uses unbleached cottolin weft to give a subtle “white-on-white” contrast. The previous towel (visible on the cloth beam) has a pale gold cotton weft and a fancier twill treadling. It looks radiant: warm and inviting, like a summer’s day. The towel before that is pale green with dark green stripes. More spring than summer. Who knows what the next variations may be.

Old Fashioned Twill Tea Towel on studio loom

 

Fall Fair 2019

Showcase: Seasons in Colour 23 Aug to 15 Sept 2019

Salt Spring Island Weavers and Spinners Guild was awarded the final 2019 Artcraft showcase: Seasons in Colour. This was a collective exhibition of new works by 15 members of the guild rising to the challenge of representing the colours of the seasons in their own unique way.

The guild was provided with guidelines on dimensions and a theme (Seasons in Colour) which created a certain uniformity in the pieces, but from there on the similarities end, as different materials, techniques, abstractions and representations mark each work with the stamp of the artist.

The Weavers and Spinners created a collection that invited the visitor to sit, look and wonder at the visual feast that the seasons bring.

Seasons in Colour ran from August 23rd to September 15th in Mahon Hall with an opening celebration on Friday August 23rd from 6-8pm.

Showcase: Seasons in Colour Opening Night Aug 23rd 2019

From left to right, Nancy, Susan, Sandra and Mavis are having a social moment during the opening reception.

 

Demonstration:

For the duration of the show, Weavers and Spinners Guild provided demonstration of their crafts: weaving, spinning  and other fibre arts that members are passionate about.

Showcase: Seasons in Colour Demonstration by Victoria

Victoria is weaving at the demonstration loom, a very popular stop during the showcase.  Both the warp and the weft are from local fibres, all in their natural colours, except the red.

On the wall, behind the loom and Victoria, are the following showcase entries, from left to right:

  • Sunset by Susan Brown, woven in linen and buttons
  • Colours of Spring by Valerie Short, woven in organic cotton and tussah silk
  • Transformation by June Simmons, silk fusion with wool, silk, eucaluptus (viscose) and cotton
  • Starry night by Nancy Côté, triaxial weave (or mad weave) with cotton fabric
  • High Tide: Dusk and Dawn by Donna Vanderwekken, woven with hand-dyed silk

Below, June demonstrates fibre preparation, normally done before fibres can be spun or felted.

Demonstration of fiber preparation by June

Members were also encouraged to  demonstrate any of their crafts.  Here, Genevieve demonstrates her beading techniques and displays some of her creations.

Genevieve demonstrates her beading technics and some of her creations.

 

Arts

The following pictures are the other art pieces made by the guild members specifically for this show.

 

Moonlight by Judith Dios

  • Moonlight by Judith Dios, nuno felting using Merino wool, mulberry silk fibre, silk fabric, fabric dye and thread

Shoqw

From left to right:

  • Leaves by Mavis MacMillen, woven using linen and handspun wool/silk/mohair blend
  • Island Waterfall by Mavis MacMillen, woven using cotton and cotton/linen blend
  • Peruvian Delight by Mary Passon, woven using Peruvian organic cotton
  • Pebbles on a Winter Beach by Donna Vanderwekken, woven using handspun wool and handspun llama

 

From left to right:

  • Primavera Azzurro by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton
  • Brick Lane by Ida Marie Threadkell, silk fusion with silk chiffon, merino wool and silk fibre
  • Twilight in the Garden by Sara Ratner, nuno felting with habotai silk and local Cotswold lamb fleece
  • Dusk by Sara Ratner, nuno felting using silk gauze, merino and glass bead
  • Primavera Verde by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton
  • Primavera Rose by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton

 

  • Autumn Leaves by Sandra Hodgins, woven with cotton quilting remnants pieced & cut into strips for weft.

 

  • Xylem and Phloem by Karen Selk, , applique silk fusion, hand and machine-stitching and beading.

 

  • Les Quatre Saisons by Carol Dodd, felting with silk and wool

 

From left to right:

  • Sweet Potato Pie by Tanis Smythe, woven with silk and paper
  • Onyx by Tanis Smythe, women with linen, rayon bouclé and merino wool
  • Equinox by Victoria Olchowecki, woven using linen with cotton

Heritage Day at the Farmers’ Institute

On Sunday July 8th a group of Guild members took their tools and raw materials to the Farmers Institute to show the public how the ancient crafts of spinning and weaving are still practiced and enjoyed. A table loom provided absorbing entertainment for visitors

of all ages. Some of the younger ones were fascinated by drop spindles and asked to learn how they worked. In about 15 minutes they were able to make yarn to take home.

Ruckle Farm Days 2017

Farm and Fibre Focused Holiday in Scotland

My Farm and Fibre Focused Holiday in Scotland

Submitted By Karen Clark

I just returned from an amazing 2 week trip to Scotland with my daughter, Fiona and partner John, where I had a great time and learned so much about sheep farming, wool fibre, yarn and was inspired and awed by the lace and Fair Isle knitting there. Fiona was returning to the Shetland Islands in Scotland to finish some of her research for her PhD on transitioning to renewable energy (the first community-owned tidal turbine is located on Shetland). She is an avid knitter and spinner and on her first visit she heard a lot about Wool Week so thought this was an opportunity to combine her school work with pleasure and go during this annual festival. Fiona suggested I join her and before I knew it I, along with John my partner (who did not want to be left behind) had our trip planned.

Our first week before going to Shetland was a holiday rental on a sheep farm in a renovated ‘steading’ or barn that was attached to a larger modern working barn near Inverbervie, south of Aberdeen. After an 11 hr delay at Heathrow airport before our flight to Aberdeen, we did not arrive at our holiday rental until midnight but fortunately the owners kindly insisted on waiting up for our late arrival. The drive from the Aberdeen airport was beautiful with the full moon on the North Sea often in view and not a car on the roads. After only one wrong turn on the maze of single track roads with no signage from Inverbervie we arrived with no idea of what the land looked like. The owner’s partner was waiting out near the road admiring the full moon having just finished a Lagavulin scotch (or 2?) and helped us get settled in.  We woke in the morning to see sheep being herded down the road in front of our windows into the pen next to the barn.

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Our 2 bedroom cottage was wonderful with a view of an inner courtyard flower garden on one side and on the opposite side we could see fields with sheep and watch their movements as they were rotated between the fields. Galahad, the horse always kept track of all the activity. It was also interesting to experience staying in the middle of a wind farm. It was fascinating to watch the speed of the blades or see birds expertly fly between the blades. The farm and rental are operated to high environmentally responsible standards. The owners have their own wind turbine, collect rainwater for use in toilets and irrigation and use unscented cleaning products. It was great with my chemical sensitivities to be able to sleep in the beds!

The owner Seonaid runs the farm of about 100 Shetland cross welsh sheep with help from her partner and daughter who both work in Aberdeen in the oil and gas industry. Seonaid is passionate about sheep farming and supporting local farming in general. This area called the Howe o’Mearns is the bread basket of Scotland producing grains, potatoes, berries, flax oil seed, lamb, beef and dairy. Fresh seafood is readily available in the fishing villages on the coast. We prepared many delicious meals with all the local fresh food in our well equipped kitchen. Seonaid grew up on a sheep farm and Anniston Farm has been a long term project which she has restored with renovations to the main house, building of a modern barn and renovations to the steading for holiday lettings. Fencing has all been replaced and the approximately 100 sheep are rotated through the fields. Male lambs when they reach 40-42 pounds are taken to a local abattoir and sold fresh the next day at the Tesco in Montrose. Female lambs are kept for future breeding. Legally all sheep in the UK must be shorn at least once a year. The British Wool Marketing Board buys all fleeces which are graded based on breed, fibre length, cleanliness, fibre diameter, crimp and other characteristics. Lower quality fibre is used for house insulation products and other creative uses with the majority being sent to eastern European countries for making carpets. Higher quality fleece is used to produce yarn for fabric and knitwear. Farmers are paid for the fleece based on the quality and current market value which ranges from $0.60 to up to $6.00/kilogram for high quality fibre for knitwear. The average sheep fleece weighs about 3 kilograms and it costs about $10 to have a sheep shorn. Seonaid wanted Shetlands because they are a small breed that easily have their lambs without complications like some other larger breeds. She crosses them with Welsh sheep to give them some hardiness for the damp climate and soils in the area. The sheep are shorn in the summer all in one day with only one shearer who takes under 2 minutes to shear each sheep. Seonaid takes each fleece, shakes off the dirt and tightly rolls it and ties it in a ball which is passed to Ruth her daughter who tightly packs it in a large canvas square bag. Ruth stands in the bag packing down the balls of fibre which must be packed in a definite pattern of alternating layers so the bag can hold 30 fleeces.  Even the packing of the bag will influence the price that will be paid for the bale of fibre.

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This is a beautiful quiet area of Scotland with interesting market towns nearby at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk. With Scotland’s ‘right to roam’ on crown and private land for any purpose and a right to cross land it is fun to head out and explore. We walked many kilometers along the single track roads through the farms near our rental. The tracks will often pass through the middle of a farm yard even the large dairy farms that are common in the area. Conventional dairy farms have changed dramatically (as they have here) and now many have cows that are kept in p1030800large barns and grains and silage are grown in the surrounding fields for feed which once would have been used for pasture. This greatly increases the milk production of the farm. Only cattle for beef or organic dairy farms use the fields for pasture. There are also many public footpaths as there are everywhere in the UK. One by the sea was a stunning cliff walk past Dunnottar Castle where puffins and other seabirds breed on the cliffs below.
After a very interesting, comfortable and relaxing week at Anniston Farm we headed up to Inverness where Fiona ran the Loch Ness Marathon (42km) and I ran the 10 km Race. The routes were beautiful along the Ness River with almost 10,000 p1030873people participating. Running and walking are very popular for all ages in the UK.  After the race we headed back to Aberdeen to fly to Shetland.
We arrived on a beautiful sunny day at the Shetland airport on the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland, the largest of the over 100 Shetland Islands. We had an exciting start to the trip since we didn’t realize that the road out of the airport crosses the runway. We thought a sign with lights flashing meant “Stop” rather than “Go faster and get off the runway”.  Fortunately, a police car came racing up behind us siren going and lights flashing to shew us off the runway before the plane came down! The rest of the drive was uneventful and breath taking. Since there are no trees anywhere and there are many steep cliffs to the sea the land scape is stunning. It is usually windy too so there are often huge waves crashing on shore. There are approximately 22,000 people living on the Shetland Islands with about 7,500 in Lerwick, the largest town which is in the centre of the Mainland Island and where we had a rental for the week.  Wool Week activities were happening all over the Shetland Isles with Lerwick being the centre of all the activity.
Our rental accommodation was in the centre of Lerwick down a narrow footpath cobble lane just off the High Street. It was a great location within walking distance of many of the Wool Week activities with a great view of the harbour as well as close to a number of pubs with ‘sessions’ (impromptu music jams with fiddles, whistles, guitar etc.). The focus of all the activities is to celebrate Shetland’s textile heritage from the sheep to the textile industry. Even though over a hundred classes were offered during the week Fiona and I decided not to sign up for any since there were so many other talks, tours, shows and drop in sessions. In the end we still did not get to go to all the things we had wanted to since there was so much to see and do (www.shetlandwoolweek.com). People come from all over the world for this celebration and most of the workshops were sold out.

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There are many guilds of knitters, weavers, dyers and spinners in most of the small communities who are keeping the textile traditions of the Shetlands alive spinning cobweb weight yarns and knitting wedding ring shawls (that are so light and fine they can pass through a wedding ring) and intricate Fair Isle clothing. It was so amazing to see how many of the local people and their children wear Fair Isle sweaters, hats etc. With clothing becoming cheap and the arrival of oil and gas production in the North Sea which is operated primarily from the north end of Mainland Island there is no longer pressure for production of fibre and textiles to be a way to earn an income as it was in the past. There is great pride in the sheep and textile heritage which is being kept alive by museums and educational programs. In Lerwick there is an excellent Shetland Museum and Archives with a large collection of historical textiles as well as a separate textile museum both with large displays.p1040243

The shops on the High Street had intricate Fair Isle and fine lace knitting in their windows with many items for sale. There are several shops run by designers who have gone to the Shetland College, School of Textile Arts and sell knitwear they have designed and knit. In a move to preserve the knitting history and heritage there was a recognition of a need to make the traditional knits more affordable so machine or ‘frame’ knitting is now taught at the college and used by many knitters. The pieces are knit on the machine but still finished by hand. In some cases such as yolk sweaters the yolk is knit by hand but the plain knitting is done on a machine. I could not resist purchasing 2 sweaters that are frame knit, and the fingerless gloves that are hand knit.

p1040457There are 2 companies committed to producing yarn from native Shetland sheep. Their yarns are shipped around the world. Jamiesons is a family owned business, which has specialised in producing yarn from native Shetland sheep fleece for 5 generations since the 1890s. In 1981 they opened the only commercial woollen mill on the islands which includes grading, scouring and dyeing fleece before colour blending, carding, spinning, twisting and balling to produce their 100% pure Shetland yarns. A disagreement in the family about whether to send the fibre off island to be processed led to part of the family creating a separate company operating in Lerwick, Jamiesons and Smiths which hand grades and sorts fleece but sends it to an environmentally friendly processing plant in Howarth England. Both companies offer a wide range of colours and weights of yarn suitable for Fair Isle and lace knitting.
Jamiesons and Smith shop and warehouse in Lerwick is like a candy shop for knitters with the walls filled floor to ceiling with over 100 colours, 1 ply cobweb weight to chunky some offered spun woollen or worsted. There are display cases with fine lace shawls and Fair Isle sweaters some that are for sale. During Wool Week the shop was a beehive of activity with workshops going on and people buying yarn. There was also a lot of discussion of how to get all this yarn back home and if it might be worth buying another suitcase.
We went in the warehouse which is adjacent to the shop and had the fleece sorting explained by Jan who is a crofter and very committed to the fibre industry and maintaining pure bred Shetland sheep. Jamiesons and Smith buys about 80% of the fleece from the islands. The fineness and soft character of Shetland fleece is attributed to the harsh weatherand conditions. Jan showed us fleece from sheep that grazed on grass and had a much longer staple and less crimp so considered poorer quality than those grazing amongst the heather on the hillsides where they fleece grows more slowly. They have 5 grades of fleece with only the top 2 from purebred Shetland breed that are fine, with good crimp and clean being used for yarn. The other lower grades are used for home products including rugs, duvets, and cushions. Jan told us about the concern that the Shetland breed is diminishing since many sheep are now being crossed with other breeds to produce a larger sheep since farmers can make more money in meat sales than for fibre. Consequently, the volume of quality native Shetland fibre is diminishing each year. There is the hope that with growing interest in knitting and textile arts that the demand for Shetland yarns will become more profitable.

The other yarn company, Jamiesons of Shetland has a shop on the High Street in Lerwick as well as one at their woollen mill in Sandhurst where the grading, scouring and dyeing fleece before colour blending, carding, spinning, twisting and balling is done to produce their 100% pure Shetland yarns. Both shops are a feast for the eyes. They offer over an amazing  200 colours/shades of double knitting yarn which is traditionally the weight used for Fair Isle knitting. They also produce cobweb weight to chunky in a wide range of colours.
p1030991The woollen mill in Sandness is about an hour drive from Lerwick. The last part of the road is a single track with lay bys. It is a beautiful drive through an area inhabited mainly by sheep and Shetland ponies. About 50 people are employed at the mill.

They were happy to let us wander around amongst all the machines where the colour blending, carding, spinning, twisting and balling was in progress and were happy to answer our questions. Recognising the urgent need to increase production, the Jamieson family were among the first in the islands to harness computerised frame knitting technology. Combining this technology with the 100% pure Shetland yarn produced in their mill, allows the highly complex traditional Fair Isle patterns to be re-created in an increasing range of both traditional and vibrant contemporary colours.  Jamieson’s spinning installed weaving looms and now produce an extensive range of genuine Shetland Tweeds and blankets.

p1040291Another highlight of the trip was to have the opportunity to go to the Shetland Flock Book and Fine Fleece  Prizegiving which is the only accredited sale of Shetland rams and ram lambs with over 200 entrants from 50 breeders. We could go into the barn and wander around to see the sheep and happened to run into Jan again who was helping one of the judges have a close look at each sheep before he had to judge them in the ring. They were both happy to explain all the characteristics of a quality ram and its fleece. The length of the staple, not too long and not too short, lots of crimp, fine but not too fine, and colour. Physical characteristics of the ram for breeding are also important.

p1040269Many farmers were looking at the rams and there was an air of excitement since there was also going to be an auction in the afternoon after the judging. It was obvious buyers were whispering amongst themselves scrutinizing the rams. The sellers were anxious that their rams would win prizes to increase their value. Jan said that last year she gave up bidding on a ram when the price went over $1,500. During judging the sheep were brought in the ring. The judge walked around looking at all the sheep never saying a word. He would point with his shepherd’s crook at a sheep and a helper would grab him by the horns and line up at the front. When 5 rams were lined up the judge would have a final look at p1040270them and ribbons were pinned on their backs. It would have been interesting to stay for the auction but this was our last day and we wanted to go to the ‘Makers Market’ a craft show of all things Shetland fibre. There were many beautiful Shetland wool pieces for sale which is where I bought the Fair Isle gloves in the photo earlier.
Shetland Wool Week exceeded my expectations and I would definitely go back again. It was wonderful to see the work of so many skilled spinners, and knitters of all ages and the support and pride Shetland people have in their sheep and textile heritage. The people were warm and friendly and the landscape is stunningly beautiful. I was sad to get on the ferry to return to Aberdeen.p1040401

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Spinning and Weaving at the Fall Fair

Learning to Spin and Weave at the Fair

Salt Spring Fall Fair spinning!

How long does it take to learn to make yarn on a drop spindle? At the Salt Spring Fall Fair it took about half an hour. Some of the students signed up for more lessons over the winter, and some headed straight for the only fibre vendor at the Fair to stock up on raw materials. See our classes to learn about spinning on Salt Spring.

Read more

What is Yarn?

What is Yarn?

By adding twist to a bunch of fibres, we make yarn. There are three steps in making yarn. Thinning the bunch of fibres to the thickness you want, adding twist, and storing the resulting yarn. Once you understand the steps involved, you can begin to appreciate the many different ways that fibres can be combined to make yarns with different properties. Twisting two or more single strands together is called plying and further increases yarn strength. The properties of the finished product will vary in strength, softness, smoothness and durability based on the length and character of the fibres involved.

Many hand spinning tools will be on display at the Fall Fair, at the Annex and in the demonstration tent.  Watch hand spinning with many different kinds of drop spindle, and  see how treadle spinning wheels work. When you see drop spindles and treadle wheels side by side you can see what a huge technical advance the invention of the spinning wheel was. Sign up at the Weavers and Spinners demonstration tent for lessons in basic drop spindling and  pick up a sample of prepared wool. The yarn you make will be yours to take home.

 

Learn spinning at this year's Fall Fair.

Learn to turn this …… into this

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