Sunday Lecture: Textiles and the Warp Weighted Loom – from the Bronze-Age to the Present with Elizabeth Johnston

Sunday, May 6, 11 a.m to 12 p.m., 4-H Hall

We have been weaving cloth since we stopped wearing skins – that says just how old and how important weaving is. One of the oldest looms is the Warp-Weighted loom; it is as old as sheep herding. This ancient loom was used by women to weave every type of cloth a family needed: fabrics for the household, the workplace, for trade, to pay taxes, even to make ship sails. Hear the story of this loom, and gain an understanding of the importance of weaving, the wool trade, and listen as the culture surrounding the loom emerges.
Class Fee: $5, payable at the door on a first come, first served basis.

Elizabeth Johnston is a spinner, weaver and knitter from Scotland’s Shetland Islands. She learned to knit before she learned to read and write, from her mother, her aunt and grandmother, who were all production knitters selling their work to local shops. But she learned to purl from her father! She learned spinning slowly, initially observing it as a child, and finally learning her spinning skills from the older women in the community. Using these age-old spinning and knitting skills, handed down through generations, she turns Shetland fleece into beautiful soft yarns, and knitted Fair Isle and lace items. Elizabeth makes her living by demonstrating, teaching, spinning, knitting and selling her work through her business: “Shetland Handspun” ( She is a tutor and program co-coordinator for “Hoswick Wool Week”, part of the internationally popular event – “Shetland Wool Week”, a 9-day event throughout Shetland annually in late September. Interest in the long history of Shetland textiles led to research into historic fabrics and the warp-weighted loom, learning how to weave on this ancient loom in the process. She is the author of two chapters in Shetland Textiles 800 BC to the Present, and coauthored The Warp Weighted Loom with friends from Iceland and Norway.

2018 Catalog Cover Art Competition Winner

Congratulations to Sally Drew of Olney, MD for her winning entry in the 2018 Cover Art Competition.

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