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Friday, April 19, 2024

From Sheep to Shop: Knit Yourself a Woolly Scarf in Time for Christmas

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Embark on a special eight-week fortnightly evening course hosted by High Life Highland’s Heritage Ranger, and learn how to make your very own woollen product from cleaning raw sheep fleece to weaving by hand.

Starting on Wednesday 6th September, each two-hour session will take participants through a traditional journey of learning how to go from ‘lamb to loom’, ending just in time to have made a wonderful woolly product for Christmas.

Michelle Melville, High Life Highland’s Heritage Ranger, shared:

“Ever wondered what happens to wool between leaving the sheep and the finished product in a shop?

“This course holds the answer – and you can find out.

“Throughout each session, participants can expect to learn how to clean raw fleece, dye it with easily found natural dyes, spin it on a drop spindle – with a chance to try a Scottish Dealgan spindle – and finally weave it on a hand loom. 

“Inspiration on what to make includes a shoulder bag, scarf, or woollen art picture to take home, all of which can be created at the foot of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak with the most wonderful scenery that participants can watch change with the seasons.

“This is a relaxed, hands-on course that is focused on trying different techniques with the aim being to create the final piece almost entirely from items we have found and worked on during each session.

“I encourage participants with a particular vision for their finished piece to bring in any additional materials or items to be added to their design.

“Tea, coffee, and biscuits will be provided for everyone participating.

“We expect it to be an informative and social experience that will be booked out quick – so please ensure to secure your spot if you’re looking to come along and join in!”

This entry-level course costs £120 in total, coming in at £15 per session.

All  materials will be provided. To book your place, please use the following link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-sheep-to-shop-beginners-dyeing-spinning-and-weaving-course-tickets-689356482797

For those who hold highlife memberships, a 15% discount can be applied to this course when booking via High Life Highland’s dedicated portal using the booking number ACT001021: https://booking.highlifehighland.com/

Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, concluded:

“High Life Highland is delighted to be able to offer such unique courses to members of the public through our Heritage Ranger, of which ‘Sheep to shop’ will no doubt prove popular given its rich cultural interest and stunning Ben Nevis backdrop.

“I hope highlife holders will take advantage of the 15% discount offered for the experience, and that those wishing to participate book their place before it fills up.”

The sessions run once a fortnight with a total of eight sessions from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

The Ranger hut is located at the base of the UK’s highest mountain to the rear of the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre (BNVC), where inspiration is all around.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

Free parking in the BNVC car park for those on the course.

Please see below for all eight dates and what each session covers:

Wednesday 6th September (Week 1): Preparing the raw fleece, removing debris, and washing

Wednesday 20th September (Week 2): Card washed and dried fleece to remove further debris and start to spin

Wednesday 4th October (Week 3): Spinning and spinning wheel demonstration – mordant fleece. Prepare to dye

Wednesday 18th October (Week 4): Mordant fleece and create dye baths and add fleece, further spinning

Wednesday 1st November (Week 5): Further spinning and dyeing as needed, set up eco-dye experiment on material and hand loom demonstration

Wednesday 15th November (Week 6): Weaving finished piece

Wednesday 29th November (Week 7): Weaving finished piece

Wednesday 6th December (Week 8): Weaving finished piece

For more information, please reach out to Michelle Melville via the following email address: michelle.melville@highlifehighland.com

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