Shetland Hand Weaving

My friend, Christina Smith from Shetland Hand Weaving, is hand weaving me a beautiful rug so I went to see how it was getting on and to experience the traditional craft of hand weaving.  She lives very nearby and I spent a superb morning watching, learning and becoming very interested.

(Christine is really writing this – I just adpated it for the blog)

“This one had a little sheep rug on a Finnish Varpapuu countermarch loom, built from Finnish birch wood. It has a weaving width of 61”. The loom is fitted it with a custom built sectional warp beam and then built the Shaft Switching Device (The rug weaving technique of Shaft Switching was invented by the late Peter Collingwood OBE) to fit this particular loom.

Shaft Switching Devices are not available to buy in the UK so any rug weaver wishing to explore the technique has to essentially build their own and custom fit it to their own loom’s exact dimension.

That is why the device on the Varpapuu loom looks so different and works slightly differently to the device which I built for the George Maxwell Old English Countermarch loom that has your Unicorn rug on. “


This is Christina’s beautiful view. over Seli Voe.

The rugs can be used on both sides and 100% cotton warp (hand dyed in case of small sheep rug) with locally spun Jamiesons Shetland Wool Yarn.

So I sat myself down on the loom bench, received very good and comprehensive instruction, instantly forgot most of it because I have the brain of a hen, and off I wove.. (or whatever the correct terminology is).

It was excellent fun and most interesting. I learned a lot and off we moved to the next room where the mother of all looms was situated ……

More tomorrow and you will get to see my Unicorn Rug!  Yes, you did hear right – MY UNICORN RUG. I WILL HAVE A UNICORN RUG!

Just sayin’

Here are links to Christina’s shop – Shetland Handweavers and Etsy Page.  She also gives tuition and runs courses – more details tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “Shetland Hand Weaving

  1. Margaret Robinson

    You go Girlfriend! This is a fabulous art form and I’m sure that once you master it, there will be many lovely things coming off the loom (no matter which one you use). How interesting to watch and look at what is made.

    Good luck!!!!!!

  2. Sam

    Given the fact that the definition of a unicorn is magical, unique beast – you fit and deserve a Unicorn Rug. And you wove on the loom. (Trying to have the brain power to learn Navajo weaving)

  3. Mo Hall

    How exciting and fascinating. I am just starting a weaving shed and have a 12 shaft loom from Megan – have I introduced you to Megan yet? She has just bought a house on Shetland so I guess she is staying which means I get to buy her loom/s. I will send her a link to your blog.

  4. Linda Loba

    Just beautiful! I did some weaving back in the day (presently a knitting-aholic), and even though I gave it up, it still give me a thrill to see looms, and people weaving.
    I just bet you could fit a small loom in your she-shed!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *