JC08 Shetland Sheep: A Story in Wool
with Deb Robson
The stuff of lace shawls that can be drawn through a wedding ring and of Fair Isle colorwork and more, Shetland wool represents the story of humans in relationship with sheep through thousands of years. Shetland wool has been variously described as “a wool of uncommon softness and fineness” and as “scratchy,” and has been classified as an exceptionally fine wool; a double-coated representative of primitive wools, a “Down wool,” and more. Might it be all of these? If that’s the case what do the various Shetlands have in common and how do we determine how to find and use the wool to produce results that please us? With samples of fleeces in our hands, we’ll begin to untangle the variety and contradictions of this most amazing and versatile breed. Skill Level: Ability to independently spin singles and make a two-ply yarn and ability to do Andean plying. Participants should bring: Spinning wheel or spindle; nostepinne or ability to do Andean plying; combs, carders, flicker or any other fiber-prep tools of choice; note taking materials; tape; hole-punch to manage samples and although we usually run out of time, you may want some quick sampling tools such as knitting needles, crochet hooks or Weave-it.
About the instructor: Deb Robson has been studying fibers, with an emphasis on the varieties of wool for almost forty years. While other interests have come and gone, this one has only intensified. During her many years the editor of Spin-Off magazine she initiated and coordinated the Save the Sheep project and Handspun Treasure from Rare Wools. More recent projects include The Field Guide to Fleece (Storey 2013) Handspinning Rare Wools (Interweave DVD, 2011) and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More than 200 Fibers from Animal to Spun Yarn (Storey Publishing, May 2011). She taught at SOAR 2011, Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011-2013, Convergence 2012 and elsewhere in the U.S. and the U.K.