Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shetland - day 4 - Tuesday October 9

It's Saturday, it's rainy, we had a busy few weeks again, and more busy weeks to come... so what is a more perfect passtime - while eating some still warm oatmeal cookies - than write another blog post about Shetland! The pictures on my laptop background and screensaver keep picking me up whenever I'm down, so I bet a few nice pictures here will do the same to you!

Tuesday was Voe day! We had booked this trip in advance, and only on the Monday night did we realize we didn't even know where the bus to Voe would leave from... But, after a few phone calls, we found out the right pick-up location, so after an early-ish breakfast, we drove to Lerwick and got on the bus.

Local guild ladies Winnie behind the wheel and Pearl knitting like the wind.

Fair isle specialist and fastest knitter in the world, Hazel Tindall, admires Susan's sweater design
A knit shawl on the stretching board. Barbara explained how this works...
... by taking off the shawl. So simple!
A cute kid's jumper in Fair Isle. Plenty of ideas here to knit my own for Batman!
After an introduction about the history of knitting in Voe, a demonstration of how drying/stretching boards were used and lots of chatting with the other guild ladies, we also had some time to look around...

The view out the window...
Just looking out of the window... Amazing! If you drive past Voe, you see the village lying down in the valley. It's very sheltered here, and we actually saw some of the very few trees on Shetland grow here. Quite a weird experience, as trees as so rare.

We'll be going there in Thursday!
After a quick lunch, we drove back to Lerwick, where Monique was dropped off at Jamieson & Smith for a workshop. I had a walk through town again, picking up some more supplies (of course), and taking the time to look at a few more things in the museum. Discovering more about the Gunnister man, getting a bit of an insight into early life on the island...


And the beginning of crafts...

Yes, a loom... 
And then before I knew it, it was time for the lecture by dr. Christiansen about tovacuddies - felting woven fabric in the sea, something which the Shetlanders used to do of old. I had been looking forward to this, as I - mistakenly - thought there would be some actual tocacuddying taking place ;) Silly me... But, what an amazing story! You could just imagine how hard the Shetlanders of several centuries ago had to work to get the required yardage of fabric rooed, spun, woven and then felted in time to pay their dues to the landlord. Dr. Christiansen explained that during their experiments, at various locations that they had identified along the coast, they actually lost some of the woven fabric. Image what that would have meant in those days! Eviction, most likely!
Dr. Christiansen had brough fabric in various stages of sea felting. Quite rough to the touch, to be honest. No wonder that traders decided that they preferred the Norse fabric... The Shetlanders were using the best fleeces for knitting! And that is how the custom of tovacuddies was abandoned...


Afterwards, I had a quick look again at the Gunnister man. See: woven and sea-felted fabric ;)


And after some more roaming the streets of Lerwick, I picked up Monique for a quick bite to eat and then it was time for the Ravelry meet-up! This had also been organized in advanced, by the lovely and funny Elizabeth Lovick from Northern Lace. She had organized goodie bags and everything!

Liz showing a hat and telling jokes at the same time ;)
So for today, this was my newly acquired and gifted stash... See that card with knitting on it? Look above, it's Liz's jumper!



When we came home, we found out that some of the pictures that were taken at Voe, actually made the Visit Shetland website:


How cool is that! And yes, I'm on it too :D

More on tomorrow, Wednesday - the trip to Sandness - soon!

3 comments:

Nicole said...

What a cool experience! I enjoy reading about it :)

MoniqueB. said...

Ah, the tovacuddies. Very interesting. Didn't know that.

Do you have plans to make a tovacuddie yourself?

Jeannette said...

Ooooh... Wat een geweldig verslag en foto's weer Ammerins.... -diepe zucht...-
Dank je wel! voor het een beetje meebeleven van jullie geweldige ervaringen!