Shetland Wool Week – Part 3

8th & 9th October 2014: Weave Shetland Tweed Workshop

Centre for the Creative Industries

Centre for the Creative Industries

The main reason I wanted to visit Shetland in the first place was because I had heard so much about Global Yell – The Centre for the Creative Industries. A generous donation of weaving equipment was made to the centre from the Ann Sutton Foundation and now the centre boasts some of the best weaving facilities I have come across.

Angharad McLaren and I were privileged to be asked by Andy Ross (who runs the centre) to teach a weaving workshop as part of the Shetland Wool Week programme.  Angharad had completed a six month weaving residency at the centre about 6 years ago and so she was also keen on a trip back to visit old friends.

On Thursday, after a long day on Wednesday setting up looms, we were ready for our “Weave Shetland Tweed” workshop. There is a long history of weaving in Shetland, using local wool spun from local fleece to create tweed.  We were inspired by this and so set up the looms ready to weave tweeds based on traditional patterns that we had sourced from the Shetland Museum and Archives Collection. We of course used 100% Shetland wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland, which (as I had discovered on my tour) is the last remaining weaving mill in Shetland. We structured the workshop as a round-robin so that each weaver had a chance to sample each tweed and each loom, varying from a 4 shaft table loom to a 24 shaft computerised loom.

Below are a selection of photos of our workshop, it was a fantastic day!

Busy Weavers

Busy Weavers

This one takes concentration!


There was a variety of looms to try out with a variety of levers.

Me working hard drinking tea.


Cutting off the samples.


Weaving drafts and samples ready to be taken home.

10th October 2014: Bayanne House

We had heard rumours of a Hattersley loom in a shed near by so we decided to investigate, it didn’t take us long to track it down at Bayanne House. Liz and Tony Gott allowed us into their shed for me to get over excited by their Hattersley loom and of course have a shot working the pedals. It was the most simple Hattersley loom I’ve seen with only the potential for one shuttle.  It turned out that this Hattersley was also a project in waiting, in fact it has never been a working loom and was rescued still in its original box – manual and all.

I found another Hattersley!

I found another Hattersley!

Hattersley Manual

Hattersley Manual

After all our hard work weaving, we were long due a relaxing walk and a dinner of fish and chips. It just so happens the award winning Frankie’s fish and chip shop was close by and I have to say they lived up to their reputation, yum. And so with full bellies we enjoyed our last night in Shetland before heading back to Lerwick the next day to catch our ferry back to Aberdeen.

Bess, cliff and Lighthouse.

Bess, cliff and Lighthouse.

Frankie's Fish & Chips

Frankie’s Fish & Chips

For those who have been following my weaving research blog I’d like to thank you all – as many of you I have met on my journey throughout Scotland. It was thanks to funding from the Glasgow Visual Art and Craft Award that I was able to complete this tour and it has exceeded my original project aims by a long way. Not only have I learnt so much about weaving in Scotland, I have met such wonderful people and I hope that they have benefitted too by me linking them together through this blog.

I’m very pleased to say this isn’t the end of my weaving adventures as I have been awarded a Professional Development Grant from The Textile Society to return to the Outer Hebrides next year to train on a Hattersley loom, I can’t wait!

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An they a’ need the wark o' the weavers.