Shetland Lace Shawls

Spinning Shetland

I have been raising Shetland Sheep for almost 15 years and with a plethora of fleeces in my barn, I decided that I needed to learn how to spin Shetland  to match commercial yarn so that I could use it with commercial patterns. This class is the result of the techniques I used to duplicate the commercial yarns that I found. The class covers spinning of 2- or 3-ply Fair Isle yarns, and spinning yarns for Shetland Lace. The spinning portion includes selection and preparation of fleece for spinning.  The knitting portion includes discussion and practice of knitting techniques for Fair Isle or lace.

This class can be taught in various combinations. For spinners,  Fair Isle and Lace spinning techniques can be taught together as a one-day class or separately as 2 half-day classes. For spinners who are also knitters, a one-day class includes both spinning techniques and knitting techniques for either the Fair Isle or Lace yarns. Both sections can be taught together as a 2 or 3-day class, with the extra day providing time for more in-depth exploration of either of the techniques, including additional spinning samples, additional knitted swatches and guidelines for designing your own patterns.

Sample Classes

General Shetland Information in each class: Shetland sheep are a primitive breed and their fleeces retain a large variety of colors and type. Each class will include a discussion of the Shetland breed, samples of the various fleece types (single- and double-coated) and description of how to sort a fleece to select the appropriate fiber for each type of yarn.

Fair Isle Spinning and Knitting: In this class you will learn to spin to match commercial Shetland yarns in order to create the perfect yarn for knitting a Shetland Fair-Isle sweater or hap shawl. We will spin 2-ply jumper weight yarn, 3-ply sport weight yarn, and a worsted weight yarn. We will look at knitted samples of Fair Isle to understand how the yarns behave. Techniques for Fair Isle knitting will be discussed and you will knit Fair Isle swatches using the yarns that you have spun.

Spinning and Knitting Shetland Yarns for Lace: Shetland is well known for its hap shawls (worn for warmth) and its wedding ring shawls, knit from very fine spun Shetland yarn. This class will include a discussion of the Shetland breed, and the history of lace making in Shetland.   We will look at commercial samples of Shetland lace-weight yarn and knitted samples of hap shawls and cobweb lace to understand how the yarns behave and how to reproduce them. In this class you will learn to spin a 2-ply lace-weight yarn and a singles cobweb yarn, suitable for knitting a fine lace shawl. You will knit a small lace sample using Shetland techniques.