Sunday, December 1, 2013

Shetland Lace Knitting

Ever since I started my flock of Shetland sheep, I been in love with the traditional Shetland lace knitting.  Along with FairIsle knitting, lace knitting is distinctly Shetland.  Lace weight yarn, or cob web yarn, is so fine, it could easily be mistaken for crochet thread.  One source I read said the strand of yarn should be no more than six fibers thick.  Six fibers!  A single wool fiber is roughly equivalent to a human hair.  The real pinnacle of this art comes in the form of the traditional Wedding Shawl, a shawl so delicate, it can be pulled entirely through a wedding ring.  Spinning and knitting such a piece is on my bucket list.

Abner, my wether, has a gorgeous fleece.  It is a natural white with almost no heathering.  He would be perfect for this project!  Admittedly, I have a long way to go to spin something this fine.  My "comfort zone" weight is worsted, or sweater weight for you non-knitters.  Spinning a mere six fibers will require patience...and bifocals.
detail on the shawl above
So perhaps this winter, I'll get the wheel spinning and start on this project.  As much as I like deadlines for getting things done, I won't do that this time.  If I spin and knit (did I mention that I'm a very slow knitter?) a Wedding Shawl before my flock dies from old age, I'll count it a success.  This won't be a "good enough" project like I'm apt to do with my dressmaking.  This will be a years in the making, only doing it once, pass it down to the grandchildren (and it better be under glass) sort of project.  I'll keep you posted.


  1. Oh my gosh, that is gorgeous! I am a huge fan of lace--knit or crocheted, but I think knit is a little more delicate. That wrap looks like it could just float away. So, so pretty!

  2. I have many long term projects like that. All the more special.
    Back in September, I had the pleasure of taking a lace workshop from Gundrun Johnson of the Shetland Trader. She is hosting a week long knitting tourism workshop in her hometown area in Shetland next summer. Start saving your pennies!

  3. beautiful project! i wish you luck and patience! and mothballs :-)

  4. i picked up a tiny amount of wool this summer at the state fair so I could try my hand at the drop spindle & really enjoy spinning but I can't imagine trying to get it only 6 strands thick. wow!

  5. It's so lovely...I can just see a bride wearing this for a winter wedding. -Mary


Thanks for your thoughts! Come back to visit again soon!