Shetland Wool Week 2014 / Wool Week: The yarn of your dreams

Niela Nell 'spinning from your heart' - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

IT IS lunch break at the Hoswick Visitor centre. In among the spinning wheels, participants at Niela Nell’s Spin from your heart workshop are laying down giant woolly explosions of colour and making their way towards what looks like a most delicious lunch.

The giant woolly explosions, Niela informs me, are batts and will later on be spun into yarn.


“Today is about using all your senses to design the yarn of your dreams” Niela says, taking a richly coloured batt in her hand and pointing out its vivid colours and rich textures.

“It’s a bit like making a pizza – where you splat a bit here and put a bit on there – and then you wait and see what will happen. We’re using emotion as a starting point and looking at how we can use colour, shape, texture and form in an expressive way.”

Niela Nell shop in Hoswick: 'using emotion as a starting point' - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

Aileen Wilby has travelled from the Ross-shire village Strathpeffer to visit Wool Week and participate in one of Niela’s workshops for the second year in a row.

This time she has brought four friends with her to enjoy the “breath of fresh air” which she finds the Shetland wool scene to be.


Not only does Aileen appreciate Niela’s “open minded” qualities, she also enjoys the way in which these workshops “help you think out of the box” and “take people out of their comfort zone”.

She adds: “The folk in this class are not embarrassed to go the whole hog and Niela will help you on your way with that.”

However, it is not just the creativity and energy of Niela’s classes which participants appreciate.

“It’s real move up from your average spinning class. For one thing, it’s an opportunity to try different equipment.

“Because Niela has a business she has all the gear that we could never dream of buying – such as an electric carder, for example. It’s great to have the chance to experiment with things like that.”
The Hoswick based designer has just launched a new website which can be found at www.nielanell.com

Genevieve White