Well, my predictions of the Wool Week events at Somerset House didn’t let me down…the event was both educational and inspirational.
There were some lovely wool-themed rooms. My favourite was the ‘Natural Room’ by Josephine Ryan, filled with vintage and antique tools and natural wool items. Look at those gorgeous huge balls of yarn!
My first workshop was the ‘Fairisle Master Class’ by the lovely Sandra Manson from Jaimeson & Smith.
I spent a fair bit of the lead up to the class fondling all the lovely samples which they brought down from the Shetlands with them.
Look at all those gorgeous colour combos, and particularly the colours in the one below. In real life the purple is a bit more saturated, so it really popped with the yellow. Saving this combo for later!
Here is the sample table where Sandra and Co. had laid out more examples of beautiful colourwork garments in their Shetland yarn:
I was most impressed, and a little giddy, with that little jumper right at the front in yellows and reds…here’s why…
Apparently Jamiesons & Smith have developed a worsted spun yarn –‘wursit’ in the Shetland accent – which this little number is made from. The worsted yarn has less ends poking out, so unlike the woolen spun yarns, which I love the look of but can’t wear next to my skin, this new yarn – Shetland Heritage- is sleeker and I can have it right up on my neck with no pokies! Very thrilling. So you get traditional, crunchy yarns perfect for colourwork, but with a softer handle. Brilliant.
Here is a bit of the info from their site:
‘The yarn is replicated from that found in knitted Fair Isle garments in the collection of Shetland Museum and Archives.
Wool experts, specialist dyers, curators and knitters have worked together to develop and trial Shetland Heritage yarn, which is worsted spun from Jamieson & Smith’s combed tops to give a soft feel, and a smooth finish. The yarn is slightly finer than the four ply we use today to knit stranded colourwork and Fair Isle. Instead, it gives a definition and complexity of colour and pattern that goes right back to the nineteenth century.’
They haven’t yet come out with the same range of colours in the Heritage as in their other ranges – which is understandable as it is HUGE- but I am hoping they will add some nice natural colours at some point. This is the current range, the colours used in the jumper above:
image Jamieson and Smith
Below is a photo from the session from the J&S blog. I am on the very far right, looking like a mental with my illicit coffee in hand, mid-sentence. I am not doing a very good job of hiding my cup, apparently!
image Jamieson and Smith
This whole venture was very generous and everything was free! The pikey in me rejoiced.
We were given J&S yarn, needles and patterns for a little fairisle project and Sandra helped us along with any questions. It was very intense in that we all just got down to work and proceeded to power through for the full hour and a half of the workshop…and beyond! This was after it had officially ended, but people were still squirrel-ing away.
I learned how to knit fairisle with both colours on my right hand (as I throw) and I found this much easier to control tension on than the two handed method I used previously for my hat.
I will leave the rest of my adventures for subsequent posts as this one has turned into a monster! I am also heading back down there today for the Rowan yarn workshop! Yay!