Friday, 10 May 2013

Trowie Allover in Blues

A blog post is long overdue, but my days have been too full of spinning, weaving, and writing (other than my blog) - it has been fun.

Now it is time to catch up here.

One commission I had was to incorporate blues into my Trowie design. And why had I not thought of this before? Blue is my favourite colour and I have never used it in a design. But a customer asked and I was in heaven, knitting in blue.

The request was to change the black and moorit to blue, and the customer had good colour judgement as well as good taste. The colours were now 2 blues 2 greys and a light fawn. Fawns always go well with blue, but the 2 greys I knew would pick up colour from the blues and look beautiful. I dyed grey yarn with logwood for a dark blue to repace the black, and a lighter grey yarn dyed in indigo for the lighter blue to replace the moorit.

The result was, I think, stunning - but I would like anything is blue. You can decide for yourselves.

Monday, 18 February 2013


Sunsets never fail to impress me. Last night was no exception. Today has been a beautful , with warm spring sunshine, almost no clouds in the sky, and very light winds. Maybe tonight we will have a great sunset too.

But, here are last nights photos.....

 Starting with the western sky...

and moving a little towards the south west.......

now looking south west....

looking south........
and even in the eastern sky.
The north sky was a delicate shade of pink too, but too light to show up on my camera.

Next blog will be on textiles, I promise.

Monday, 28 January 2013


So have I used any of the madder yarn yet? Well, yes I have, but not very much. Following the success of the Merrie Lace instalation at Mareel, our new music and cinema venue in Lerwick, one of my daughters came up with this idea for lace lights.

and the same candle lights taken with less light.

2 light shades of madder yarn

2 in darker shades

and then with less light to see their reflection

I made a few as Christmas gifts and now have them for sale. At the moment they are all in madder reds and will all be in lace weight yarns, but more colours will be added as I have them.

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Madder Shawl

The Christmas and New Year holidays are over, even Auld Yule here in Shetland has passed and it is time to get back to normal. Christmas decoration have been taken down and put away for next year, and hopefully most of the pine needles, the tinsel and the dust has gone too.

So I thought it was time to let you see the shawl I made for a birthday present. The birthday was on the 30th of November so I could not mention it here before then just in case the birthday girl saw it and made a connection.

The Madder Shawl

The request was for a shawl in Madder oranges. Getting the right shade of madder can be difficult. Usually getting the orange/red colour is easy except when you get really good quality Madder, which is what happened. I did a test dye but on dying the handspun lace yarn it was just too red. The second try was luckily just right. It did take time though as some more yarn needed to be spun.

Yarns used in the shawl

There are 11 colours in the shawl, 7 dyed colours and 4 natural colours. The dying was done on white, 3 grey shades and 3 fawn shades. I included a touch of the 3 fawn shades that had been dyed and a Shetland black. The lace edge and the centre was in the mig grey from the first dye batch after I reduced the red by cooking it again in onion. It adding just a little bit of madder red to the mix.

And I still have a nice batch of handspun lace yarn in beautful madder reds to use.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Its December, what happened

Wow, its December, what happened. The last 2 months seem to have passed by so quickly. So, lets see, what did I do.

Ok, October started with getting ready for the next 2 months. Housework all needed to be done; there was a plumbing problem that needed sorted out; the house and Studio had to be ready for visitors and a few projects; the shed needed to be tidied up before winter and ready to take in the winter supply of hay for my 2 sheep; the garden needed a tidy up (and that didnt happen); orders to be finished and the next work items to be sorted. So, what was I getting ready for?

It started with Wool Week. The studio was open for a spinning clinic on Mon, Tues and Wed. So was I going to be busy or not? Luckily there was a nice steady steam of people through each day, not too many at any time, just nice and time to talk to everyone.

Then I had to miss the end of wool week to head off to the States - I was teaching a Fair Isle class at John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina the following week - bad planning. I love the Folk School though, I have taught there several times. The class went well, each student choosing colours and planning their design. Hats, gloves, and ipad covers were all knitted.

A hat nearly finished. This was a fairly new knitters first 2 colour knitting, first knitting in the round, first hat, and all designed - colour and pattern - by herself.

The 3 stages of designing Fair Isle - maybe - charting, knitting the sample, and scratching your head and needing more coffee when it looks as if it is going wrong - sorry, Mary Jane, both your designs worked beautifully.

An ipad cover nearly complete

A sample knitted as a wrist band.
Not my colours but my favourite design of the week. 

After a couple of days off to go to a craft fair in Ashville, do some Xmas shopping and repack the suitcase, I set off with Martha, a friend from North Carolina, for Seattle and then out to Whidbey Island to teach another Fair Isle class.

Visit  for a very good report on the class by one of the students.

That was the teaching over so it was holiday then with Martha and Wendy, except for the knitting we did round the fire in the evenings. We hired a log cabin overlooking the beach right out on the Olympic peninsular on the Pacific coast. Big beaches, big seas and big sky with huge trees as driftwood.

This was our beach. Can you spot the eagle - the big eagle? It gives you an idea of the size of the beach and the trees piled up on the top of the sand.

Cant see the eagle?

Try the next photo.

Can you see the eagle now?

Can you find it in the photo above now?

Big beach isnt it.

Check out the same eagle in the next photo.

Big eagle

Walking the beaches was great but then there are the forests, - and yes, you guessed it with big trees.....

Here is Wendy with the big Cyprus....amazing.

But then we were here in the fall and there are also rain forest here.

After a wonderful adventure, I took a flight from Seattle to Aberdeen, via Amsterdam, and with a couple of days to recover with family, I took the boat home with only 2 days to get ready for the Craft Fair in Lerwick.

I had visitors the next week to work on the warp-weighted loom so still no days off to settle in back home.

So now it is time for more housework, and I will forget the garden that did not get done, and work on more of those orders. It is also freezing outside and I have seen a few snowflakes this morning so inside is the best place to be.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Two of the allovers waistcoats I made this year were commissions.

I mostly work from a portfolio of designs, but these can be changed, the motifs can vary and the colours can change. These two allovers are from my current designs but with changes that the customer requested.


Njuggle dags in original colours

customers colour choice

The customer wanted changes to the colours used in the Njuggle design. There were 4 onion colours, 2 greens and 2 very soft orange/yellows which she liked and wanted to include in the allover. Then she spotted 4 lichen dyed colours which she liked as well. The lichen colours were 3 shades of rust, 1 rich rust and 2 lighter shades and 1 grey/green.

The dark onion green and light onion yellow were used for the ribs, and the dark green and rich rust used in the motifs. The remaining colours were used for background colours replacing the greys in the original colourway.

The result was a beautiful blend of colours.

SELKIE in greys

Selkie design in grey colourway

Original Selkie colourway

The request for a second commission was to change the colourway of the Selkie design from Fawns to Greys and include a madder red and an onion yellow. I used the dyed colours mostly on the ribs but using also them alternatively for the centre row of each pattern.

The result was a very striking garment. In these colours it is now not a 'Selkie' design. This colourway will be renamed and added to my portfolio, but perhaps not with the dyed colours, or with different dyed colours. 

I had thought that the changes to the Nuggle colours would be quite easy and changing the Selkie from fawns to greys would be more difficult to do. In fact the Selkie in greys was quite simple and introducing the dyed colours into the Nuggle design, was to begin with, very difficult.

Happily both customers were very pleased with the results.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Beautiful wild flowers

Coming home after visiting my daughters family was wonderful. Although I missed them all, Shetland looked beautiful, sunshine, vistas, blue seas, the rim of clouds on the horizon every pastel colour there is............and the wild flowers in full bloom were georgeous.

The hawkbit and sorrel were a carpet in this field. 

The hawkbits were electric yellow in the sunshine and danced in the wind. 

Red clover was everywhere and is always beautiful.

Buttercups, vetch and scabious were growing here with the clover.

My photos could be better, but really you had to be here to see the whole picture.

I then got involved with work and would forget to go take more photos.

The Agricultural Shows came and went. I was at one show .........  forgot the camera  ..........  but was so busy there would not have been time to take photos.

So we have had our first winter gales, early this year, but it has reminded me to get on to summer blogging. Ah well, next year.