Episode 40 – Shetland Lace, Spinning and Weaving – Elizabeth Johnston

We are continuing on with the Shetland theme for this Episode. We interview Elizabeth Johnston, Shetland’s expert spinner, lace knitter and weaver. In the interview you will see Elizabeth spin and it will take your breath away. Elizabeth also talks about Shetland lace knitting and weaving with the warp weighted loom, which is an ancient loom dating back to the stone age. Donna Smith shows you her new yarn Langsoond which comes from her very own Shetland sheep. Donna also gives Andrew a fleece sorting lesson, which is a lot of fun. We show you around Jamieson and Smith’s store and you will hear a little bit of Oliver Henry’s fleece sorting demonstration. There is a short tutorial from Andrea on inserting your armhole steeks and more talk about our #fruitysteekedkal which has just started.

Elizabeth Johnston - Shetland Lace, Spinning and Weaving

Episode 40 – Elizabeth Johnston – Shetland Lace, Spinning and Weaving

Interview – Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth has highly developed skills in spinning, dying, knitting and weaving. She has also done a lot of research into the history of these crafts. Elizabeth was earning money at the age of eight through selling her knitted mittens. In her teenage years she was selling knitted yolks. Finally when she was in her 20s she didn’t need to knit for money, so she pursued her  love of spinning. Over the last 30 years, Elizabeth has been teaching workshops, selling her homespun, hand dyed yarns and writing patterns.

Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth tells us about the particular qualities of Shetland fleece for spinning and how best to prepare the fleece for the different ways of spinning and plying.

Elizabeth Johnston showing a sample of her very fine spinning

Elizabeth Johnston showing a sample of her very fine spinning

Here is a wonderful example of how fine, Shetland fine lace can be – no more than 5 -6 fibres thick!

The Warp-Weighted Loom

The Warp-Weighted Loom

Elizabeth co-authored the resource book ‘ The Warp-Weighted Loom. In the interview she talks about its prehistoric use in Shetland and its use today.

The Warp-Weighted Loom, co-authored by Elizabeth Johnston

The Warp-Weighted Loom, co-authored by Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth and Hazel share their wonderful accumulated knowledge of Shetland knitting tips and tricks. The DVD can be purchased from  Jamieson’s of ShetlandJamieson & SmithShetland Museum and Archives

50 Tips from Shetland Knitters, by Hazel Tindall and Elizabeth Johnston

50 Tips from Shetland Knitters, by Hazel Tindall and Elizabeth Johnston

Finding Elizabeth Johnston

Langsoond Yarn by Donna Smith – New Releases

We had a lovely afternoon with Donna when we were in Shetland. Donna lives in a beautiful spot on the island of Burra. The house is on top of a hill with stunning views looking down over her family’s croft to the strip of water below called Langsoond. Donna shows us in New Releases her beautiful DK weight yarn in four natural shades and  3 new patterns she has design especially for her new yarn.

Donna Smith, with her Langsoond Yarn

Donna Smith, with her Langsoond Yarn

While we were there, Donna and Andrew put on boiler suits (because fleece is surprisingly oily) and Donna gave Andrew a quick fleece sorting demonstration.

Donna and Andrew, getting their hands on a good Shetland fleece

Donna and Andrew, getting their hands on a good Shetland fleece

Finding Donna Smith and Langsoond Yarn

Jamieson & Smith

Jamieson and Smith started the Shetland Wool Week back in 2010. It’s a snug little shop and the wooden floors and beams gives it a Scandinavian feel. They held classes here during the wool week, Fair Isle with Hazel Tindall, lace knitting with Elizabeth Johnston, a trunk show for Jen Arnall Culliford’s new book – A year of Techniques and Felicity Ford’s new book, Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Playbook.

The Jamieson & Smith store in Lerwick, Shetland

The Jamieson & Smith store in Lerwick, Shetland

Ella Gordon, last year’s patron took us through to the shed where the wool from the farmers comes in and gets sorted and stored. Oliver Henry also does his sorting and grading demonstration here.

Oliver Henry doing a wool sorting demonstration, a very popular event at Shetland Wool Week

Oliver Henry doing a wool sorting demonstration, a very popular event at Shetland Wool Week

This machine is a wool press, it packs the sorted fleece tightly into bales for storage and transportation.

This machine is a wool press, it packs the sorted fleece tightly into bales for storage and transportation.

Finding Jamieson & Smith

#Fruity Steeked Kal

Jenny at the Fair by Mary Jane Mucklestone

Mary Jane Mucklestone, wearing her design "Jenny at the Fair"

Mary Jane Mucklestone, wearing her design “Jenny at the Fair”

Patrons can get a 25 % discount on the steeked design Jenny at the Fair by Mary Jane Mucklestone until November 30th. This is a great first steeking project. Full details of the discount are available for Patrons at Patreon.

Under Construction

Andrew is working on a pair of socks, roughly based on a design by Susan B Anderson, but adapted by Andrea to fit her own tastes. Andrew’s next project is continuing the brioche and double knitting work on Paris’ Scarf by Nancy Marchant.

What a splendid sock.

What a splendid sock.

Andrea is working on Mother Åse’s Jacket by Sidsel Høivik. She gives us a short tutorial on how to insert the armhole steeks.

Armhole steeks in Åsemors Kofte by Sidsel Hoivik

Armhole steeks in Åsemors Kofte by Sidsel Hoivik

We were wearing

  • Andrew was wearing the Hiking Jacket, which Andrea designed and Andrew made. (Except for one sleeve which Madeleine knitted as a Christmas present.)
  • Andrea was wearing Amaryllis by Marie Wallin. Andrea talks about this cardigan in Episode 9.

Credits

 

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