Lúb|Loop – Deirdre Nelson

Lùb|Loop by Deirdre Nelson celebrated socks, culture, people and the communities producing wool in present day Skye. Sock knitting has long been a part of the textile history and economy in Skye. In the past much of the wool in Skye was spun and developed into thread for weaving with a small amount kept for knitting. The wool used for making socks often came from the left over scraps at the fanks after shearing.  Knitting socks was common, and these were sold or sent on to companies outside Skye.

For this project, Nelson visited crofters from a range of stock clubs across Skye and Raasay, gaining an insight to the nuances of each flock and the way they are reared. Along the journey of Lúb|Loop crofters donated a fleece to be spun by a Skye spinner, which will then be knitted into socks by Nelson – creating a LOOP. Highlighting the skills embedded in crofting, crafting and all the aspects of wool production and use, Nelson sought to celebrate the collaborative skills of the people involved showing the thread that binds them together whilst also celebrating the value and potential uses of locally sourced wool.

Commenting on the project and the processes she hoped to uncover, Nelson comments:


 “I have been interested in the process from sheep to wool to yarn and in developing work to complete the LOOP back to the land the sheep roam. In order to complete the LOOP the socks will be gifted to the crofters who donated fleeces to the project. This process references practice in the past where a fleece was sent off to the mill and returned as spun wool or a blanket. The first fleece has been spun and links a crofter in Trotternish with a spinner in Glendale through a beautifully spun Jacob fleece that is now ready for knitting. It is hoped the project will map the spinning and crofting on Skye through those involved.

I am back on Skye meeting spinners and groups who wish to get involved and am learning a lot from each spinner I meet about spinning and fibers. We hope to spin all types of fleeces donated and challenge preconceptions about some of the wools considered coarse such as Herdwick and Blackface.”

Documenting her journey on the island and the interactions she had with crofters and wool producers and users, Nelson kept a blog which can be found here.