Jonathan & Denise: Earlier this year we announced a new week-long Eriskay Gansey Knitting tuition, to be held first in February 2017. Within days we’d received enough expressions of interest to reassure us we weren’t delusional, and just a few weeks ago we’d received enough firm bookings for the course to go ahead.
Since then, however, Denise has been in hospital for surgery … and now what previously seemed a natural progression and broadening of what we do as The Hebridean Woolshed seems instead to be an ambition we’ll struggle to achieve.
So, for now, and very regretfully, we’ve decided we have to cancel the planned course. Those who have paid deposits have by now already received their refunds, aplogies – and a wee gift! It’s possible that, in time, we may revive this course: if so, it’ll be announced here.
We’re also suspending our long-standing and very successful two-hour spinning and dyeing tuition. However this is not a question of time or energy – it’s more about re-thinking who the courses are for. It’s likely that these courses will be re-introduced during 2017 – but in a slightly different form.
Denise: I first started spinning in about 1982, when we lived in Kendal. What few others know is that Jonathan too has been spinning all that time. In fact, I seem to recall, as it was he that had assembled our first spinning wheel (an Ashford Traditional), it was him too that got to spin first! (We taught ourselves, from books.) Until 2003, when I started spinning wool for sale (in our own Hebridean Woolshed), we both spun wool about the same. Over the past ten years and more, though, I’ve spun more and more, but J has had to give his full attention to his professional work. But he’s certainly not forgotten how to spin – very far from it. What he’s lost through lack of practice is just speed and consistency. So he’s a bit slow and occasionally wobbly – but nothing that can’t be improved on with a bit more regular spinning! Even without that, though, he really does know what he’s talking about: he’s very knowledgeable about the craft. He’s also got long experience of tutoring beginners (albeit in engineering, not spinning!). Now, since he ‘retired’ from civil engineering and construction, late last summer, we’ve been looking for how he could relieve me of some of my workload. Over the winter we agreed he’d take on tutoring of spinning workshops (perhaps not all, but at least half of them). Well, today was his first workshop. And it looks like he managed to get through. And if this photo of Charlotte – his first pupil – is anything to go by, he must have managed quite well, because she’s not only smiling for the camera, but is managing to keep spinning at the same time!