The Sanday difference shows
We sell Ashford Spinning and Weaving equipment at very competitive prices, and postage and packing on Ashford wheels and looms is free of charge to all UK purchasers. There will always be some really exceptional Special Offers available, particularly our discounts on combination purchases. Please take a look at these before buying.
We are proud to sell a range of locally sourced hand-made items, including hand-turned spinning tools made by Jim Towrie – our Sanday Niddy Noddy is our most popular sale.
If you do not already spin, we can teach you how — why not book an Introduction to Spinning course. Courses offer individual attention and are tailored to your needs. Beginner spinners can benefit from our new Learn to Spin kit. If you buy one of these kits, we’ll knock a little extra off the […]
Spinners, we have a small quantity of whole raw fleeces from Gill’s own Hillside flock of rare breed sheep, raised here on Sanday. Gill keeps Shetland, Hebridean and Jacob sheep and some cross-breeds.
The Sanday Spinners are following a long line of Orcadian and Sanday textile tradition; spinning selected local fleeces with care. We handspin raw fleece on spinning wheels and make the resulting yarns into attractive and useful items, through knitting, weaving, and felting.
The Census of 1841 records that eight Sanday women gave their industry as “Spinner.” In 2012 Sanday’s weekly Spinning Group meeting typically hosts between 8 and 20 spinners. We have no formal notion of membership. There are between 20 and 30 spinners of all degrees of experience who come and go as they are able. We welcome anyone with an interest in the craft; we hope that each spinner will in time have a shop window here if they wish to.
The Sanday Spinning Group started from modest beginnings in 2007, when Gill passed on her practically lifelong spinning skills to a couple of novices (Beth and Fenella). News of the small spinning group soon spread by word of mouth and we shortly found some spinning friends. We were joined by further experienced and new spinners as the weeks and months passed.
Several of the Spinning Group keep and breed their own sheep. Several rare and unusual breeds are included. We have goat-keepers too, and some of the spinners produce mohair yarns from their own herd. Although none of us keep alpaca (yet!) we do have access to alpaca fleece locally and do spin alpaca when we have the opportunity.
The group meets weekly for sharing knowledge, fleece, laughter – and cake. The cake is very important! We usually share progress and admire each others’ work. There is much chatter, and we share plans and learn from each other constantly. The group is an encouragement to each of us to stretch our skills and to try something new whenever possible. Beth’s passion for knitting is proving to be contagious and we shall soon have a number of able lace knitters amongst the group. Some of us like to get our hands wet and practise felting, and several members of the group also now weave. There has been a quantity of hand-dyeing going on recently too.
Sanday Spinners is an offshoot of this community group. In early 2008 Gill and Beth applied to be Ashford agents and have been selling spinning wheels and other Ashford products locally since then. The aim was to provide the Spinning Group with affordable equipment – and this enabling aspect is our driving motivation. The business is developing now from this small start to a wider commercial enterprise so that you may now own a share in this continuity of traditional crafting.
The Sanday Spinners work from home, in traditional cottage industry style within sight of the sea, and in rhythm with the tides and the seasons. Every item that we make — each skein, and every knitted stitch, is crafted with love, tradition – and with just a little sea air included.
I’ve just had one of those “moments” that one really does wish would simply never happen. The A Hap for Harriet is off the needles, needing to be blocked, and I am short of a ferry project for tomorrow. I cast on a pair of traditional Finnish stranded colour work mittens on Monday but the […]
With the A Hap for Harriet completed, I looked around for the next project and what I came up with was the mitten kit that I bought ages ago. I decided that they were just the thing to take to spinning group and I got busy winding the yarn. The plan is to knit the […]
The Rivington Cowl that I mentioned the other day has been fixed. It has also been soaked and pinned out. Pinning out a cowl is a little of a logistical challenge but I think I had a bright idea… And here is the matinée jacket, all but finished – it needs only a couple of […]