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Choosing A Lace Yarn – Woollen or Worsted

Hello everyone, today we are going a bit more in-depth about something we get asked about all the time – what is the difference between the Supreme Lace and ‘non’ Supreme Ranges aka 1ply Cobweb and 2ply Lace, and why would you choose one over the other?

left: 1ply Cobweb right: 1ply Supreme Lace

There are some differences but the main one is the Supreme Lace 1 and 2ply are Worsted Spun whereas 1ply Cobweb and 2ply Lace are Woollen Spun.

Worsted Spun – all the fibre is combed before spinning, this results in a softer and stronger yarn because the fibres are all aligned and not poking out (this is what can make wool scratchy)

Woollen Spun – before spinning the fibre is carded which disrupts the fibres trapping air and making a lofty and warm yarn.

The Shetland Supreme Lace yarns were developed alongside research through Shetland Amenity Trust in 2010 as part of the Fine Lace Project to add and increase value to the coloured clip and to replicate yarns used in handspun and vintage Shetland Lace.

Shetland Supreme 1ply

1ply/single 25g ball 400m/436yds
100% Real Shetland Wool
Suggested Needle Size: 3mm

This yarn is available in Optic White (which is bright white) and Natural White, Fawn, Moorit, Light Grey, Dark Grey and Shetland Black

Shetland Supreme 2ply

2ply 25g ball 200m/219yds
100% Real Shetland Wool
Suggested Needle Size: 3mm

This Yarn is available in Natural White, Fawn, Light Grey, Dark Grey, Moorit and Shetland Black.

Sletts Shawl knit in 2ply Supreme Lace

The Woollen Spun lace yarns have been produced by us since the 60’s, Cobweb was the traditional weight most 1ply Shawls were made in and 2ply Lace was the classic choice for Lace Cardigans, ‘thicker’ shawls and lightweight garments.

left: Sheelagh Shawl in cobweb right: Grace Jumper in 2ply Lace

1ply Cobweb

1ply/single 25g Ball 350m/379 yds

50% lambswool 50% Real Shetland Wool

Suggested needle size: 3mm

This yarn is available in White and Dyed Black.

2ply Lace

2ply 25g ball 169m/185yds

50% lambswool 50% Real Shetland Wool

Suggested needle size: 3/3.25mm

This yarn is available in over 30 dyed Shades.

1ply Supreme Lace on the left and 1ply Cobweb on the Right

Why would you choose one over the other?

finish: items made in Worsted Spun yarn have more drape and a silky smoothness due to the spinning process, they have a ‘halo’. Our Woollen Spun lace yarns are crisper and have more stitch definition.

Left: 2ply Lace right: 2ply Supreme Lace

ease of knitting: due to the finish mentioned above the Cobweb and 2ply lace are easier to knit with because the yarn doesn’t ‘melt’ together in the same way the Supreme Lace does – the Supreme is much harder to take back if you make a mistake. However, the Cobweb and 2ply are our only mixed yarns in that they both contain 50% Lambswool which is a weaker fibre than Shetland so the Woollen Spun ranges are not as strong as the Supreme.

left: 2ply Supreme right: 2ply Lace

recipient: it’s worth considering if your item will be used as an ‘heirloom’ piece like a Christening Shawl you may want to use the Supreme as it has a very high-quality finish and is lovely and soft, similarly if its for a scarf to be worn around the neck the supreme would feel nicer and has a good drape. The Cobweb and 2ply Lace will result in excellent stitch definition so if the pattern and motif is the most important element to your design it might be a preferable choice.

Elizabeth Williamson Turvie Stole knit in 1ply Supreme

colour: In the 2ply Woollen Spun range there are 30 shades including a mix of dyed and dyed naturals, so there is obviously a lot of choice and options for more colourful lace. In Supreme only the 1ply Optic White is bleached all the other colours are 100% Natural and as they come off the sheep here in Shetland.

thickness: the 1 and 2ply Supreme are finer than the Woollen Spun counterparts, you can see in the 1ply the Cobweb is 350m per 25 ball and the Supreme 1ply is 400m per 25g ball – this means the yarn itself is the thinnest we produce. So if you are looking for some of the finest Lace yarn commercially available the Supreme 1ply could be it.

detail of a Rosemary Shawl knit in 1ply Supreme

In conclusion, we know it can be confusing that we have different ranges in the same thicknesses but we hope this makes it clearer and you can see they are both not only needed but necessary!

Let us know if you have any questions, happy knitting!

Shetland Aran Worsted Naturals

Hello everyone, long time no see! we have had a jam-packed summer in the shop and as you probably know last week was our first in-person Shetland Wool Week since before 2019! So to mark the occasion we launched a new yarn which is now available online, Shetland Worsted Aran in 5 natural shades:

Left to Right: Shetland Black, Dark Grey, Moorit, Light Grey and Fawn.

we already have this yarn in a range of 12 solid shades, but adding these undyed ones opens up a whole new world of possibilities! This yarn is spun in the same way as our Shetland Heritage range – in that they are worsted spun from combed tops. This spinning process removes a lot of the shorter fibres which can make Wool feel itchy to some (for more information see our blog post here) The resulting yarn then feels much softer than you would normally think for a Shetland Yarn.

We are currently working on reworking some of our older patterns to work with this new range but a couple of our patterns like Gremista Gansey and Aran Harpa already use the Worsted Aran range so would be ideal in the undyed colours, the yarn is a standard Aran thickness so any Aran pattern should work – including these two we have for the WYS ranges: Alana and Finlay.

black, dark grey, moorit, fawn, light grey and snaa white

We haven’t added a white in the undyed colours as we already have Snaa White and Optic White which work perfectly as you can see above. The natural colours of Shetland Wool are precious to us and we are happy to be able to use them in another range – this all helps at adding value to the coloured wool, something we are passionate about.

So you can find the new shades alongside the dyed ones on the online shop here, we look forward to seeing what you make with it!

a quick swatch worked up in Shetland Black and Light Grey
  • Shetland Aran Worsted: 50g ball 61m/66yds
  • 100% Real Shetland Wool
  • Suggested Needle Size: 4mm
  • Tension: 22 sts and 24 rows over 4 inches using 4mm needles over stocking stitch.
  • 22 sts and 20 rows over 4 inches using 4mm needles over Fair Isle.

Garment Patterns

Hello everyone, a few weeks ago we launched Sandra’s most recent garment pattern – the Joseph Slipover:

This tank top features traditional motifs and techniques but uses 10 zingy shades of 2ply Jumper Weight, we have the sample in the shop and everyone comments on just how bright it is! It’s knit completely in the round using steeks for the neck and armholes, you might recognise the motif and colours from the Parrots of the Rainforest Mitts, Sandra just wasn’t finished with it..

We thought we’d go through our other single garment patterns we have available at J&S, knitting a full garment can be intimidating – especially in fine yarn but we have a wide range of styles to make your entry (or re-entry) into garment knitting as easy as possible!

Our heritage and traditions here in Shetland are important to us and our main focus will always be Shetland/Fair Isle or inspired styles so we have a number of Allover garment designs which are as the name implies patterns featuring an all-over pattern:

Click here to see the patterns: Roadside Allover, Lynsey Sweater, Fair Isle V-Neck Jumper and Antarctica Allover

As well as the Joseph Slipover we also have the Cruden pattern, if sleeves are not something you fancy (unfortunately there are usually two of them..!)

Click here: Cruden

and another popular Shetland style – yokes!

Click here: Adenia, Eid, Moorie, Ola, Winter Yoke, Sandvoe and Hairst Yoke

Bairns patterns are something we also have a few of – this can be a great introduction to Shetland Garment knitting, all the main skills being used just on a smaller scale:

Click here: Natalia, Bairns Crofthoose, Peerie Lynsey, Gremista Gansey and Peerie Bairns Jumper

So that’s just some of the garment patterns we have available at J&S, unfortunately, our website doesn’t have the capabilities to have kits for all the different sizes but it means you can change colours, add extra balls or just purchase the pattern if that’s how you feel! We have the amounts and shades listed on the pattern pages so you can just make a list and add the colours to your basket.

Please note: many of these patterns are available digitally either from us on Ravelry or payhip or directly from the designer. If you are outside the UK you might find the p&p is expensive for just a pattern so we would encourage you to see first if it’s available digitally or add the pattern to an order. Happy knitting!

Elizabethan Cowl and 50g Jumper Weight

Hello everyone, you may seen our post on social media last week but we thought we’d share more detail about one of our new patterns and the perfect yarn pairing to go with it!

Sandra designed this cowl – The Elizabethan Cowl in 2ply Jumper weight to use two shades in a fully reversible design, the motif is inverted from one side to the other. It’s worked in the round – you cast on, work one side then switch the colours and work the other side. It’s then cast off and seamed together.

For the yarn, we had a balling mishap recently whereas 8 shades of 2ply Jumper Weight were balled into 50g instead of the normal 25g BUT our mistake is your gain and we are offering them at a discount individually here or in a full pack for a bigger discount here.

They ended up working perfectly for the Elizabethan Cowl because you only need one 50g ball (or two 25g balls) of two shades so you can find the paper pattern here, or the kit or if you already have the wool the pattern is available digitally on payhip and raverly.

So if you fancy any of these slightly bigger balls this is your chance to pick them up – we dont think they will last long.. Happy Knitting!

Our Raffle Winners!

2ply Jumper Weight in shades 132 and 23

Hello everyone, happy Friday! today we are announcing the names of the winners of our recent Raffle! 2 weeks ago today we decided (very last minute) to hold a raffle to raise money for the children caught up in the conflict in Ukraine, like all of you we have been so shocked and saddened and wanted to do something to help. So we selected a group of prizes and made a product for a raffle ticket and left it over the weekend, we were amazed at the response locally and around the world. Aptly that Saturday here in Shetland we attended a vigil held at the Market Cross in Lerwick, it really felt that in Shetland we were supporting people in Ukraine.

We decided to hold the raffle from Friday 5th – Tuesday 8th so that we could get our money raised donated as quickly as possible so it could help. Amazingly in those 4 day’s we sold over 2500 tickets, and with a £1000 donation from J&S as a company and our staff members contributions we managed to raise £6,040 and donated it directly to UNICEF on 11th March, we were so happy at what we managed to achieve and thank you to all that entered.

The raffle numbers were drawn by an independent party and we then matched it up to a spreadsheet where we had added everyone who bought a ticket, giving each entry a line, this was then randomised as the numbers and winners were matched as follows:

Skye Weavers Rug: Sara Allredge, USA

Sheelagh Shawl Kit: Karen Gunn, Scotland

Full set of Supreme Jumper Weight: Margaret Franco, USA

Fair Isle Cap Kit: Marlene Sim, Shetland

Sorcha Cabled Tunic Kit: Nancy Leher, USA

Antarctica Allover Kit: We are still waiting to hear from this winner, if your initials are DP please check your Junk Mail Folder, we have been trying to contact you!

the prizes!

So we have posted out 5 out of 6 prizes and hopefully this post will alert our final winner! We are really grateful for the support we received from our customers and how generous you were, thank you again! If you still want support UNICEF you can donate directly at this link.

Happy knitting x

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Hello everyone, a quick post today! We are setting up our newsletter so if you want to receive a monthly update from us at J&S can we ask that you either follow this link or update your account on the online shop to ensure you are signed up (just click ‘Update Contact Information and Preferences’ and tick the Subscribe to commercial newsletter.) If you are already signed up via the online shop you don’t need to use the form – that may result in you getting two newsletters!

Don’t worry – we will continue posting here but you can guarantee a monthly update (and maybe some offers!) if you sign up. We will be sending out our first Newsletter before we finish up for Christmas next week.

Happy Knitting!

Catch Up

Hello everyone, happy weekend! Sorry things have been a bit quiet here, we have had a really busy few months since our last post! Things are cooling down fast here in Shetland and we had our first snow last week – it’s all gone already of course but it will be back! We thought we’d do a quick catch up post of some of the things we’ve been enjoying lately:

Over the past few weeks we’ve been working on adding all our Yoke Cardigan and Jumpers to the Online Shop, we work with a number of local knitters on our yokes so each one is totally different – something we love about them but it means it takes us a while to get them all up! but for the moment the current stock is all online and available, you can see them here

A few weeks ago we got in stock of our 1 and 2ply Supreme Lace in a shade we’ve not had before – Light Grey! this is a truly beautiful undyed and completely natural Shade which we have in other ranges but have never had before in the Supreme Lace.

As its a natural shade we don’t know if we will have it again but we currently have it in both ball and cone in both weights, it really adds to the palette and offers another light shade, you can see it here alongside the other 2ply Shades:

We also added recently added some new patterns and kits, on our new online shop we can offer the paper patterns individually which means you can add them to your order or change colours and we are loving seeing how many of you are picking them up, you can see all the Patterns we have here

Some of the new kits we’ve added are the Radiant Star Mitts, Croft Cowl and Radiant Star Cowl by Ella Gordon and Jacks Jacket and Allium Hat and Mitts by Outi Kater. You can see all the kits we have available here

There have also been some great new books come out recently – the Shetland Wool Week 2021 Annual, Shetland Trader Book 3: Heritage, and Shetland Wool Adventures Journal Volume 3. They are all filled with beautiful patterns using Shetland Wool and the Journal and Annual both contain articles all about Shetland.

Finally, as things have been cooling down we’ve been keeping warm under our Skye Weavers rugs and are delighted by how many else of you are also enjoying them during this winter!

They are made for us by Skye Weavers using our Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, another of our completely undyed ranges, this week you might have seen our post about the Coloured Wool – we are currently working through these amazing shades in the Wool Store, and its amazing to see these natural shades come back to us as cozy blankets!

Oliver in the Woolstore working on the coloured wool.

So that’s some of the things we are enjoying just now, we are being kept busy with all your orders. We have had some poor weather here which does impact the boats and planes so its worth keeping in mind although we try our hardest to get everything out as quickly as possible there are some delays outwith our control, we hope you are enjoying your December and happy knitting!

Virtual Shetland Wool Week 2021

Hello everyone, this Saturday sees the beginning of our Virtual Shetland Wool Week! unfortunately the in-person events were cancelled this year thanks to Covid but everyone here is Shetland has been working hard to organise lots of online content for you all to enjoy.

Here at J&S we have decided again to have a range of videos available for free on our Youtube Channel, a video will go up every working day for the Week of Wool Week and here is a bit of information about each one to whet your appetite:

Read more

New Website

Hello everyone, just a quick post from us today. If you have been on our website over the past few days you will notice it looks a bit different:

Its taken us a long time but we have a new website which you will hopefully find easier to navigate and order from. Many things are the same as they were and a few things are new but it should altogether be a better experience for you.

Unfortunately we could not transfer over Account or Order details so you will need to make a new account which is easy to do:

Where it says ‘Sign In’ hover over that and click ‘create a new account’

Then enter your email under ‘New Customer’ click ‘register’

And create a new password and therefore a new account, Yippee!

Another new thing is we have added our final new shade on ball from our batch of new 2ply Jumper Weight colours: FC68 – a complex brown shade with flecks of red and yellow throughout.. we love it!

So you can find that also on our new website.. Happy knitting and ordering!

Wirsit Inspo – May/June/July

Hello everyone, Happy Saturday! We’re back today with another round up of our Wirsit Inspo (wool inspiration) posts that we post every week on our Social Media (facebook, instagram and twitter) as we come into summer there have been some brighter posts but July is proving to be very grey here unlike everywhere else in the UK! We have now been doing these posts for nearly a year and we love seeing how much you enjoy them.

If you are inspired by any of the colourways make sure to tag us or send pictures to us, we’d love to see!

Spring Flowers, Lerwick. 2ply Jumper Weight: FC24, 118, 52, 125, 1 and 91.
Red Granite Cliffs or Lang Ayre, 2ply Jumper Weight. 21, 1282, 122, 32, 1282 and 14.
More Summery Flowers, North Road, Lerwick. 2ply Jumper Weight: FC44, FC12, FC24, 91, 23 and 66.
Blue Inspiration, Hays Dock, Lerwick. 2ply Jumper Weight: 1, 2, 78, 75, FC34 and 132.
Mid Summer Hill, Northmavine. 2ply Jumper Weight: FC12, 122, 1285, 9097, 52 and 14
Vibrant Rock Pools, 2ply Jumper Weight: 81, 54, 2, FC12, 121 and 91.
Fading Sea Pinks, 2ply Jumper Weight: 2, 1281, FC22, 92 and 118.
Shetland Summer Sea, 2ply Jumper Weight: 132, FC34, 65, FC24, and FC44.
Lerwick Daisies, 2ply Jumepr Weight: 1, 23, FC11, FC12 and FC44.
South End of Lerwick, 2ply Jumper Weight: FC15, FC45, FC43, 2, 78 and 81.

So that takes us up to July, we will continue to share these round ups every few months but you can see the posts each week over on our social media, happy knitting!