Before I got Langsoond spun I had to decide what shades I wanted. Shetland sheep come in a variety of natural colours, white (that makes up the majority of the flocks at the moment), Shetland black (a very dark brown), moorit (mid brown), and various shades of grey. I started off with a mix of coloured and white fleeces and using the hand carders I mixed white with various quantities of coloured fleece to get the shades I was happy with. There were a few little packages that went back and forth between myself at the Natural Fibre Company until we decided what would work. We settled on four shades, the white being the only one that isn't blended with another colour. Instead of being inspired by things to help create the shade, I chose the shades and then named them after things that reminded me of them. All my shades are named with Shetland dialect words - if you have ever visited Shetland or have met a Shetlander, you will notice we have a strong accent or dialect.
The origin of the Shetland dialect, as any language is, is complicated and defined by the history of the place, its ownership, and the people living in and visiting the islands, amongst other things. The Shetland dialect is largely a mixture of English, Lowland Scots and Norn, which is a variation of Scandinavian languages. Norn is now extinct but used to be spoken in Shetland from around the 9th Century until it eventually was largely superseded by the Scots language in the 18th century and became no longer a distinct language.
The natural creamy white of this yarn reminded me of the flowers of hogweed (the Shetland dialect name for these plants is "keksie").- a plant that is commonly seen along roadsides during the the summer months in Shetland.
This pale grey yarn takes its name from the mist that lies in the valleys (dale or daala) and is often seen in the summer months - known in Shetland dialect as daala mist.
This name came to me when out running one day and I spotted little brown birds that reminded me of the yarn! The lintie is the Shetland dialect name for the twite, a small brown bird sometimes seen around crofts and stony walls. We have a saying in Shetland for someone someone who is going for it when singing, they are "singing lik a lintie!" You can see one in Richard Ashbee's photo here.
This shade is a slightly darker grey than the Daala Mist and is named after the grey heron - known in Shetland as a haigrie which comes from the Old Norse name hegri. You can see David Gifford's fantastic photo of a haigire here. We often see a one sitting on the rocks at the bottom of the croft looking over Langsound and I always love seeing it (I need a bigger lense on my camera though to get a good photo!).
The four shades of Langsoond will go on sale on Saturday 30th September at the Maker's Market at Isleburgh Community Centre from 11AM-5PM priced at £18 for a 100g skein.