True Highlands Blog
Jenny is our very talented Listed Member from the Isle of Eigg and we asked if she would give us a wee insight into life as a weaver on a small island.
You can see Jenny’s full range of exquisite creations on her website at www.anead-knitwear.co.uk
After the first storm of the year a couple of days ago, autumn is definitely here. This is definitely my favourite season with the lovely gentle light which makes the rich warm colours glow and provides me with endless inspiration for the colours I want to replicate in my lace.
The storm also made me realise how lucky I am to live in such a cosy home on this wonderful island and on top of that having the sort of work that fits perfectly with living here. With ferries being unpredictable at this time of year, I happily make no plans to leave home till the spring. Because I spin for each project, I always have some spinning work as well as some knitting going at the same time, so can vary my work. Then I can take my dog up the hills without getting too hot and it’s a rare day that I don’t come back having solved a problem or been inspired with an idea for the next project. That means my work never gets boring, cause I’m always looking forward to starting on the next one and waiting to see if the one I’m working on will turn out as I intended.
I first started to spin about 2 years ago because I wanted a wider range of colours and fleece types to work with and it’s made such a huge difference to my enjoyment of my work. I love the traditional cobweb lace, but wanted to give my work a wider appeal. I have recently started to dye some of my fleece using natural dye extracts which is great fun. I use a combination of the conventional and solar dyeing methods to make the process more environmentally friendly. Living on an island, means we only get Calor gas, so having to simmer dye pots for a long time would be expensive and have a bigger environmental impact and I am very lucky in that my house is south-facing and gets plenty of sunlight pouring in as soon as the sun is shining. Extending the procedure with solar dyeing gives lovely rich colours. It works well for me as I don’t need to dye large quantities of fleece at a time because I spin it very finely.
Living on an unspoilt island like Eigg encourages me to find the best solutions to be able to produce things that don’t use unnecessary resources or cause problems with pollution. I love the challenge that that sometimes throws up, and strive to keep my life in harmony with the world around me. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.Tags: A'nead Knitwear, cobweb lace, Isle of Eigg, Knitwear, solar dyeing, spinning, traditional