“The flight over to Fair Isle was right on time. It was lovely flying under the clouds looking down on the crofts below on the southern Mainland and then watching shafts of sunlight stab the sea through breaks in the clouds up ahead. Suddenly, Fair Isle is before you with Sheep Rock rising majestically out of the sea. Circling around the island to land we got a good glimpse of the new Bird Observatory which looks much more impressive than the old one with lots or roof peaks and windows.
“Kathy’s croft was reassuringly much the same. Early on I had to check on the current animal population. The cats all look well-fed. Rufus is as wild and crazy as ever. Hens now provide fresh eggs for the table. And there are some really nice coloured sheep in the field by the house. These guys must know I’ve got my eye on their fleeces!
“Then, of course, I had to check on the current population of spinning wheels which has grown since I was here—they have a way of doing that, don’t they?
“It’s so hard to choose which one to try first, but the fine Shetland fleece from J&S certainly cries out for a little Shetland spinney, maybe the 100th one made by long-time resident Stewart Thompson. This wheel (right) belongs to Kathy, and is named Annie, after Stewart’s wife.
(Stewart has made a new wheel out of wood from the old and new Bird Observatory; it will be auctioned off to raise money for the building. You’ll be among the first to know when and where—what an opportunity to have a chance to buy a S. Thompson Fair Isle wheel!)
“Today we are getting started on putting together the new weaving shed and loom so I’m not sure how much spinning I’ll actually get done. The days are short now, though, so there’s lots of time in the evenings. It’s so unlike summer in Fair Isle with the simmer dim, almost round the clock daylight. Fair Isle at any time of year is special.”