The Wool Ride

During Wool Week there are many things happening all over the UK, of course we will be busy with Shetland Wool Week but in London the Campaign for Wool will be hosting their Wool Ride!

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from the Campaign for Wool website: Starting and finishing at Potters Fields on Sunday 5th October, the bicycle ride will journey through some of the streets made famous by London’s most prominent wool supporters, including the archetypal Jermyn Street. Participants will also be able to take in some of London’s key sights and hotspots, passing through iconic scenery such as; London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Knightsbridge, Park Lane and Regent Street. Commencing at 9am and running through till 2pm, this 13.4 mile ride, estimated to take around 1 hour 38 minutes, takes riders along a meandering route with time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sights of the capital at a leisurely pace.

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in celebration of the Wool Ride, Sandra has designed two free patterns which you can download and make yourself. The Rastoorie and the Bikers Hat. Both are designed to fit over a cycling helmet but of course if you use smaller needles or block the hat over a smaller plate (Sandra used a large dinner plate) it will fit a lot less slouchy. Although if you like that look, go for it!

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The Rastoorie uses lots of small amounts of Jumper Weight so its great for using up odds and ends and the bikers hat features a fun bike motif ‘cycling’ around the hat!

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for more information and to download the free patterns, click  here

Its been a very busy summer at J&S so we haven’t had much time to blog, but with visits from Kate Davies, Deb Robson, Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnson thankfully they have blogged about visiting us! of course the usual tourist season filled with cruise ships and holiday goers has meant for a busy shop.

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We are now beginning to get organised for Wool Week, and we cant wait!

Speak soon!

Posted in 2ply Jumper Weight, Campaign for Wool, Curtis Wool Direct, free pattterns, Jamieson and Smith, Knitting Patterns, Real Shetland Wool | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Natures Natural Colours

The Wool season is now in full swing at Jamieson & Smith, a recent spell of fine weather has meant that wool producers have had a dry early start for clipping.

a Shetland crofter clipping his sheep. Photo by Oliver Henry

a Shetland crofter clipping his sheep. Photo by Oliver Henry

As the wool store fills up, grading the clips is under way and our first shipment left us last week on its way down to our parent company Curtis Wool direct, to be processed and spun into our yarns.

the woolstore last week

the woolstore last week

While Derek and Jan who work full time in the woolstore and Robert, who has joined us for the summer season, get to work on the white fleeces Oliver has been in what we call the Middle Store sorting some of the coloured fleeces.

Oliver in the middle store

Oliver in the middle store

Since Oliver has been to see some of the coloured sheep on their home turf  recently we thought you might like to see some of his photos and hear a bit more about the coloured Shetland Sheep.

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Jim Lindsays Coloured Sheep, photo by Oliver

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some of the Robertson family’s coloured Sheep, photo by Oliver

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Two Flecket sheep, photo by Oliver

 Shetland Sheep can have a huge variety of colours and markings, in the past the natural colours were used for all types of knitting and for blending in Fair Isle. When man made fibres became widely available and the market for wool declined coloured sheep became a lot less desirable and crofters began to move solely into the white fleeced sheep which they knew the fleeces would be sold. At one point people were just throwing away the coloured fleeces as it wasn’t worth taking them to be sold.

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Jan’s Dad Alistair clipping, photo by Oliver

Thankfully now there is a good market for the coloured sheep, and some Shetlanders are actively trying to revive the strength of the different shades.  There are 11 main Shades with over 30 different markings currently recognised.

Keiva clipping a moorit sheep

Jan’s neice Keiva clipping a moorit sheep, photo by Oliver

Oliver went to see Jan and her family doing some of their clipping last week, and Jan’s niece’s were showing their clipping skills.

Jan's nieces Keiva and Arianna with Sally the dog and some coloured Shetland fleeces

Jan’s nieces Keiva and Arianna with Sally the dog and some coloured Shetland fleeces, photo by Oliver

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some of the coloured fleeces in the Middle Store

Once the coloured ‘oo has been dropped off to us it is then hand graded and hand sorted into its various shades and qualities.

Oliver hand grading a black fleece

Oliver hand grading a black fleece

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the different marks and colours can mean a difference in the fineness of the fleece

 As the quality of different shades can vary within the fleece, (Shetland black can be coarser than other shades, and dark grey is very course) each fleece is handled and dissected by Oliver and separated into grades.

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Thanks to  Kate Davies designs like the Rams and Yowes blanket, Sheepheid and Sheep Carousel  which all use the 2ply Supreme Jumper Weight the popularity for the natural colours is still going strong.

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The natural colours go into all our undyed yarns like Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, which comes in 9 shades

Moorit 2ply Supreme Lace Weight

Moorit 2ply Supreme Lace Weight

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And all the Shetland Supreme Lace weight  available in 5 shades as well as the Combed Tops and finished products like the Woven Blankets and Cushions and Jumpers. So we need as much as we can get!

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A Moorit Ram and Sheepdog having a stand off, photo by Oliver

Having a wide range of products made from the natural colours ensures there is a steady demand for this type of wool, meaning we can secure the future of the coloured wool.

Happy Knitting!

xxx

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British Knitting Awards 2014

We have some exciting news, we recently found out we have been nominated in the British Knitting Awards 2014 in the Best Brand for British Yarn category. The nominees for these awards are made up of the readers of Lets Knit and Lets Get Crafting – Knitting and Crochet Magazines.

Brit Knit Awrds 2014There are 25 catogories covering a wide range of Knitterly things, from Best Sock Yarn Brand to Best Designer  as well as best Shops in different areas of Britian. We’re so pleased to be nominated alongside some of our stockists: This Is Knit in Dublin and Purl City in Manchester as well as one of our favourite designers and friend of Jamieson & Smith: Kate Davies

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photo by felicity ford

This is the first year that they have had a catogory for Best Brand for British yarn, this demontrates the popularity and high quality of British produced yarns, something we have always strived to highlight and promote! Shetland Wool has so many good features and its great to be recognised as a favourite British Brand.

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photo by felicity ford

Voting has begun now and is open until the 14th of September, if you appreciate what we do for the British Wool industry we would love it if you would vote for us!

voteforus-page-001Thank you to the readers of Lets Knit and Lets Get Crafting for nominating us, we cant wait to see the results!

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A Visit to Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

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On a grey but bright Thursday Me (Ella) Oliver and Sophie who’s with us this week at J&S for Work Experience took a trip down to the very tip of the mainland of Shetland to Sumburgh Head. The reason for our visit was to see in place the carpets we have supplied the brand new Sumburgh Head Lighthouse Visitor Centre.  As well as seeing the carpets we got a great tour of the whole place from Angela Hunt, the Operations Manager.

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The Sumburgh Head Lighthouse was designed by world famous lighthouse designer and engineer Robert Stevenson, the lighthouse was constructed in 1821. Over 150 years Stevenson and his descendants designed most of Scotland’s Lighthouses, 7 in total in Shetland. in fact the Fair Isle South Lighthouse, designed by the Stevensons was only automated in 1998, the last  Scottish lighthouse to be manned.

Over the past two years the Lighthouse has undergone a £5.4 million revamp by the Shetland Amenity Trust and we are so proud to provide the 100% Shetland Wool carpets and mats for the brand new Education Room and in the accommodation within the Lighthouse.

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We began our tour in the Education Room which provides a panoramic view of the South End of Shetland. When we arrived they were setting up for a school visit and it was great to see.

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The Education will host School Groups and Tourist in the Summer months and Angela told us about plans for different classes to be held in the room in off peak season, and how it can be hired for private functions. Imagine the sunsets!

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The carpet looked really great. We worked with our Carpet Layer Robin of Nort Trow flooring and he made a really fantastic job. Derek who usually can be found in the Woolstore went down to give Robin a hand in laying them.

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We then moved onto the accommodation, which can be let by anyone. You can find more information about staying in lighthouses in Shetland here.

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The buildings have been carefully restored and sensitively decorated. Our carpets were featured again in the impressive staircase

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We hand-finished a lot of mats for the sides of beds, these were made from the off cuts of the carpets. Nothing is wasted! The building is floored in beautiful stone floors and having a wool mat at the side of the bed really warms up the room (and your toes!)

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We also have a number of our 3 Sheep Logo mats, a few of which were hand finished by Jan who works in the Woolstore

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And there is one lovely large 3 Sheep Mat in the Living Room which really makes a great centrepiece.

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A really lovely place to stay!

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We then went through all aspects of the visitors centre, which covers everything from being a lighthouse keeper to the nature all around Sumburgh Head.

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One of the most interesting areas to me was the Radar Hut which highlights the role of Shetland and Sumburgh Head during World War Two. They have recreated how the hut would have looked in the War

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The engine room has been carefully updated and gives you a timeline of the history of the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

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Of course we had to climb the steps around the freshly painted Fog Horn and see the view..

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And we had our eye out for Sumburgh’s most famous residents..

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puff2Lovely Puffins! Luckily Oliver had his big fancy lens so we got some great photos!

It was so brilliant to see the Visitors Centre open and see how many Tourists were around, we are so proud and happy to have a small part in it.

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Thank you to Angela for showing us around, we had a great morning!

Speak soon and happy knitting,

xx

Posted in Jamieson and Smith, Lighthouse, Real Shetland Wool, Shetland Wool, Shetland Wool Brokers, Shetland Wool Carpet, Sumburgh Head, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Shetland College Projects

As we reach the Summer in Shetland that also means the end of the student year at the Shetland College, carrying on from our earlier project with the second year students of the Contemporary Textiles course they have produced some brilliant garments in their final project. They will be on display at Shetland Wool Week in October but anyone who has visited the Shetland College during the past few weeks will have had a sneak peak at their end of year show. The project brief was to show off the versatility and quality of J&S wool and they didn’t disappoint!

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rebecca3Rebecca Sinclair’s fun design uses lots of different weights and colours of Jamieson & Smith yarns. Her inspirations from classic Fair Isle can be seen, and the use of different yarns and colours is really inspiring!

malin4Malin roberts was inspired by her Scandinavian background and 1950s menswear shapes in her project. She created a lapel shaped scarf using Wool fleece and Shetland Heritage using a carpet making technique

malin3She created a great 3D pattern on her other garment and she was inspired by weaving, which I think you can really see on the sleeves here where she has used the inside as the outside and cut the floats in the knitting.

malin2Lynn McCormacks sculptural shapeed neckpiece and top used a brilliant technique i’ve never seen before

lyn3Lace tubes stuffed with Combed Tops make a brilliant addition to the lacey top she created by using one thread of 1ply Shetland Supreme with one thread of 2ply Shetland Supreme. The effect is really striking, Lyn is more interested in texture than pattern which i think comes across in a brilliant way in her work and I love the addition of the blue stripes on the neckpiece.

lyn5Izabella Delnickas work used very clever shaping and pattern to demontrate the smooth and springy aspect of the Shetland Heritage. Her top knitted with negative ease hugs the body and looks very sleek.

izabella1Her top can be worn with the caped neck  downover the shoulders or up as a snood, multi style garments like this are so tricky to plan and Izabela has done a fantastic job.

izabella4I love how vivid the Heritage colours are, they work really well in machine knitting.

izabella3Kara McKay has used the colleges industrial Shima Seiki knitting machines to develop a modern take on the knitted swimsuit, her piece knitted in Shetland Heritage Coll Black has been embellished with 2ply Jumper Weight motif’s added on afterwards.

kara2The effect is really striking, and the finishing on the piece is to a really high standard, you could jump in the pool now!

Dorothy Fraser has expanded on the techniques used in the previous project we did with the College

dorothy3She has continued developing mixing hand knit lace in Shetland Heritage with felted machine knitting, the combination of textures makes for really interesting garments.

dorothy1Joyce Leask, chose to develop scarves using felting and embellishment techniques which she also started in her previous work with us.

joyce3Joyce deceided to explore mixing traditional patterns with contemporary techniques and styles, she chose scarves as they are a popular accesory which can complete an outfit and she really wanted to develop some new finishing techniques

joyce2Its always really great to see what the students are creating at the College and as an ex student I love to see what new techniques and styles they have come up with. The exhibition is on at the College until the 25th of June but it will be on show again at Wool Week,

Happy Knitting!

Ella x

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Peerie Flooers Kits!

At this time of year the flowers are starting to bloom and summer is approaching. In places like Shetland though this doesnt mean you should forgo your knitwear. Although the sun is out it can still be pretty chilly so whats better than a hat representing the spring and summertime.

IMG_1847_medium2Peerie Flooers is one of Kate Davies most knitted designs with over 600 projects on Ravelry. We recently reknitted it in J&S 2ply Jumper Weight, and Kate has reformatted the pattern. We now have kits available in the shop so you can make your own Peerie Flooers!

image_medium2This happy and bright hat is a great introduction to knitting Fair Isle. The chart is easy to memorise and the bright corrugated ribbing gives you a taster of each of the colours you’ll be using in the rest of the hat.

IMG_1850_medium2The kit contains the yarn and the pattern to knit peerie flooers, which you can buy here

Happy Knitting!

x

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Shwook Hats

The plans for Shetland Wool Week are well underway, the programme is available to view online here and the printed copies will be available on Monday, which you can request from the Wool Week website here.

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Another fun first we have this year is a specially designed pattern for the event, Hazel Tindall who is this years patron has designed a lovely hat just for the occasion.

250x250-2014-hat-image.d78The Shwook hat pattern is available for free from the Wool Week website here and we have put together kits for the different J&S colourways in the pattern. This is a great opportunity for anyone coming to Wool Week to make the hat but also for those who cant make it to be with us in spirit and to have your own bit of Shetland Wool Week!

We cant wait to see some finished hats!

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