Monday, January 11, 2016

Shetland Isles

    Many moons ago, I was privileged to receive a couple of nice Shetland fleeces from a friend.  Shetland wool is extremely interesting to process--it takes some time and energy to get the locks just right.  Needless to say, I kept the fleeces in their lovely little storage bags until I decided it was best to pass them on to someone who would process them with the care they deserved.
    Of course, now, I'm sorry that they went to another home!!  But, here is the skinny on Shetland sheep and their fleece.

    • Shetland sheep are hardy, low maintenance animals, easy lambers and good mothers that fit with our 'no fuss' philosophy of animal husbandry,
    • Shetland sheep produce a high quality fibre in many attractive natural fleece colours, that has a ready market and is also useful for our own fibre works,
    • Shetland sheep can be used as dual purpose meat and fibre producers if required,
    • Shetland sheep have distinctive personalities,
    • Shetland sheep have a well run North American Registry   (NASSA), and
    • Shetland sheep hark back to our own Celtic/Viking roots.
Susan Crawford  is publishing a book on Shetland.  Susan has studied hand-knitted garments and accessories from the 1920s to 1960s, which are held in the Museum's archives. She has chosen 25 pieces, recording their construction stitch for stitch then recreated them for the Vintage Shetland Project. These pieces – all with their own unique story to tell – have been developed into comprehensive multi-sized knitting patterns, complete with instructions, technical advice and illustrated with colour photography shot on Shetland. 

With an essay reflecting on the story of each hand-knit item this book is a treasury of Shetland knitting patterns and an insight into Shetland's rich textile traditions.

What peeked my return interest to Shetland fiber and knitting?  Hazel Tindall's blog!  I was reading through different Shetland knitting patterns and came across her blog with this cool "Benon Headband"

West Coast Fiber Arts has a super booklet on Shetland knitting project.

Here is a video on the processing of Shetland Fleece.  Wish I'd had youtube back in those days!  

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