March NIFA – the second part

Having been out on Stanger Head, Anna was keen to do some dyeing using the colours of the grasses and the quarry. Our first dyeing session had been on fibre, our second was on yarn, both in skeins and in cakes.

The sequence for the ‘grasses’ colourway is as follows:

first dye

then cook

when dry, display artistically

take one photo…..

…. then take the yarn to the place of its conception, heavily supervised by Scottie, and photograph it there.

Didn’t she get the colours dead right?

Another colourway was the slate quarry, here cooling on the doorstep before rinsing….

….and here on the inspirational rocks

And a third colourway was sea glass:

I had put out an open invitation in the shop window for folk to come and join us to have a go at spinning on Saturday night.  I expected one or two.  We got 10 islanders!  All had a go with a spindle – there was a lot of laughter, and several folk did very well. The general feeling was that they wanted something fibrey, classes, club or whatever, on the island, so we are looking into that.

Then on Sunday afternoon we went to visit Granville Swanney, the only Orkney wheel-maker still producing wheels.  He had a sloping bed wheel, very much like mine, half finished in his workshop and a finished, mahogany upright in the front room.  It had never been spun on, but within thirty seconds and one small adjustment of the tension, it was producing a cobweb-weight single.  Its new home will be Zurich!!

On Monday morning Anna left the island on her way home to Switzerland.  On Monday afternoon the wind rose and the weather changed.  At some point last night I woke with the feeling something was not right.  It took me a while to realise that I couldn’t see my clock:  the power was off.  So this morning it was back to thermals and sheepskin inside the house until the power came on again at about 09.40.  With snow and hail lying on the ground, and winds lashing more against the windows, I am VERY glad Anna had chosen the first week in March, not the second…


6 thoughts on “March NIFA – the second part

  1. So interesting to see a bunch of spinners that are located so far away, but still look so familiar and similar to our groups who meet to spin and knit and do other finery things here on the West Coast of Florida, USA and also in Colorado where I spend quite a bit of time.

    Beautiful colors on the fiber. It’s amusing how we all find such creative ways to dry our colored fiber.

  2. Truly inspirational, how amazing that the colours echo the environment so well. Good luck with your current weather! And thank you for sharing. I go and look at my 5 elderly ewes everyday and wonder what their fleece will be like to work with – exciting times.


  3. I love the seaglass especially! and we have a similiar weather, though the hailstones melt quickly on the ground:(( all my poor spring plants get a battering out there and the wind howls worse than it did all winter…..

  4. Me too on the seaglass – wow. I’ve just had my first foray into dyeing, and I’m very envious of those colours. And the rocks. Oh, the rocks.

    What a great idea, a public spin day. So far I’ve just had spinning friends round – though any more people and we’d have to be in the garden. I think a more public but local (and specifically spinning) event is worth a go… hmmm… village hall…

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