Such talent!

Beginning yesterday, we have had Judith McKenzie here teaching a workshop with our own local spinning and knitting maven, Kate Larson.

It is Sandy’s turn to take a class, but, last night, Judith gave a talk about judging and choosing fleeces and those who were not in the class were invited to join come to listen and learn.  Needless to say, I was there.


This is a sweet Jacob fleece that Judith loved and reviewed very thoroughly.  We got to think of Jacobs in a different light, that as lawn ornaments in English manor gardens where they liked having exotic animals grazing to add interest, and how hard it is to shear Jacob sheep, especially the ones with 4 or 6 horns.  I had never thought of having to be careful of those horns sticking out 3 feet and not getting impaled on them while shearing the animal.


This is a primitive Shetland fleece, incidentally one of my favorite types of fleeces.  The soft, downy undercoat can be worn next to the skin, and the wiry outer-coat weaves up into beautiful, long-wearing fabric.  The next time I get a dual-coated Shetland, I am going to separate the two coats and spin up the outer coat for something woven.


Like this.  This plaid was worsted spun and woven from naturally colored Shetland outer coat and was quite lovely to look at.  Personally, I would love a skirt and vest from this fabric.  I could wear it the rest of my life and pass it down to another generation when I was done with it.


One of the things we all love so much about Judith is her knowledge and enthusiasm for wool.  And she imparts that knowledge freely.  We learned about rueing lines on fleeces, copper deficiency and how it affects the fleece, scurs and how ugly that can get, and why some animals should be eaten and not used to produce wool.  Sandy and I know more on how to judge fleeces, although a lot of what we have been doing has been right, thank heavens.  The more we learn, though, the better we will be.  What I’d really like to do though is to take some kind of wool judging and classing workshops and classes so that I can learn even more.  And I’m pretty sure Sandy will be right there along side me learning as well.

Now, let’s talk about Kate Larson.  Several years ago, at the first spinning and knitting workshop I ever took with Judith McKenzie and Nancy Bush, Judith told me and a couple of other people to keep an eye on Kate; that Kate was destined to be on the the “great” spinners.  And Judith was right.  Not only does Kate spin beautiful yarn, she is an exquisite hand at knitting and designing knitwear.  As I show you the following pictures, you will recognize several items that you have seen in many magazines like Spin-Off and Interweave Knits.


This purse, for example was on the front of a recent issue of Spin-Off magazine.


Kate’s color sense is always spot-on.  She knows how to blend and match colors in ways I would never have thought – and it works!


And guess what!  She samples and makes swatches all the time.  I have seen her produce a swatch in an evening after classes (like at SOAR) and the next thing you know, that swatch, or one with a slight alteration in it to better fit her design, is a hat or a mitten or a sweater.


And speaking of sweaters!  I have seen her wear this one quite often and it amazes me every time.


Again, I am in awe of her talent and skill.

If you get the chance to take a class taught by Kate Larson, please take it.  I love teaching and am good at it, but Kate is better by far.  I have been lucky enough to learn from her myself and always come away with a better understanding of what it is I want to do.

3 Responses

  1. Cindy in FL Says:

    What a privilege to sit in on this class! We will be reaping the benefits of this for ages to come. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of these highlights!

  2. Cheryl Says:

    Oooh…so many wonderful things to look at. I especially love that mix of fiber at the top and the plaid woven fabric. Wow! Gorgeous! Looks like you had a lot of fun!

  3. thecrazysheeplady Says:

    You lucky dogs! 😀

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