The Vintage Shetland Project

Hello everyone, today I thought I’d share some pictures and information about the above book ‘The Vintage Shetland Project’ by Susan Crawford which recently came out and uses J&S yarns for a number of the patterns. The book has been many years in the making:

‘The Vintage Shetland Project, is the culmination of eight years of hard work and personal determination. Inspired by the patterns and colours of Shetland knitting, the fashion historian, author, designer and publisher Susan Crawford began a journey into the rich heritage of Shetland knitwear, and in particular the pieces held in the Shetland Museum archive. With the help of Dr Carol Christiansen, the museum’s curator, Susan undertook the task of carefully selecting the most stunning and original designs from the 1920s to the 1950s, transcribed them stitch by stitch, and has here recreated them for the modern knitter, in stunning detail and a range of sizes for women and men. In combination with the collection of 27 comprehensive patterns for garments and accessories are carefully researched essays exploring the stories behind each piece and honouring their creators – some famous, some forgotten. Photographed by Susan on the island of Vaila, situated off the west coast of Shetland, this book also celebrates the untameable beauty of Shetland itself. Compiled with Susan’s trademark attention to detail, this book is a fabulous treasury of Shetland knitting design and a valuable insight into its textile traditions. It offers you the chance to delve into a fascinating era for knitwear design and to bring it to life in stitch-perfect vintage style.’

Sandra and Me (Ella) can remember helping Susan to match up colours at Wool Week in 2013 and its so exciting to see the final book, it is almost half and half history and essays to patterns. The essays focus on many different aspects of Shetland textiles but also focus on specific story’s, people and pieces of knitwear, it’s the kind of book you can dip in and out of but still feel you’ve learnt something! The patterns of course take up a large proportion of the book and focus on unusual or special items which the originals are housed in collections at the Shetland Museum and the Shetland Textile Museum.

left: Highland knit in Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace
right: Margaret knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
photos: Susan Crawford
Munro knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Petrie knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Ralph knit in 2ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford

Unfortunately in the time between the samples and the book being published one of the shades in the Ralph Jumper has been discontinued and finished, the shade is 61 but you could use shade 78 instead.

Suffragette and Twageos knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Yule knit in Shetland Heritage
Photos: Susan Crawford
left: Vaila knit in Shetland Heritage and Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace right: Peerie Clews knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford

And when the Vaila was knit we didn’t have Shetland Heritage in Natural shades so it uses Supreme 2ply Lace Held doubled in Moorit but you can use Shetland Heritage Naturals in Moorit instead.

Harriet knit in 2ply Jumper Weight Photos: Susan Crawford

We are so pleased that so many of the patterns can be knit using our yarns, we have been a yarn producer since the 1960’s and a Wool Broker since the 1930’s so some of the original items may have come from wool handled by J&S which is pretty cool!

There is a good range of patterns in the book including both Fair Isle and Lace and garments and accessories so there is something for everyone interested in Shetland Textiles. Of course the creators of the original garments never made them to be multi sized so the amount of work which has gone into sizing and grading the patterns is amazing.

Unfortunately due to the weight of the book we are not able to sell it on the online shop (its above our contract weight for a single parcel) but you can buy it in the UK from both Ysolda and Susan herself, we have it in the shop so if you are in Shetland or will be visiting you can pick up a copy in Lerwick.

To see more of the patterns in the book and more information visit Susans website, Congratulations Susan on the publication of the Vintage Shetland Project!

Happy Knitting 🙂

New Colours KAL update

Hi Guys, happy Monday! I thought I’d do a quick post to share some of the finished objects that are starting to come in for the New Colours KAL. You may remember from my initial post that to enter the KAL you have to knit something using at least 3 of the newly brought back shades..

1282, 16, FC21, 90 and 32

To make it a bit easier though you can also use as many other colours of Jumper Weight as you like! We are just under a month away from the end of the KAL so I am hoping to see a few more Finished Objects, we have had a lot of orders for the shades so I think thats a good sign. The ones that have come in so far though are fabulous!

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The ability to add other shades means each item can be so different but I love to see the common thread (pardon the pun) running through them.. So if you are knitting away on an entry I hope this encourages you to reach the end and if your still debating getting involved I would say there is plenty of time! If you are in the UK and you order it should arrive in 2/3 working days and if you are based outside the UK have a look at our stockists page, many of the Wholesalers have already purchased the new shades.

Remember to share your project on the Finished Objects thread for the KAL in our Ravelry group – Happy Knitting!

Eva Smith

We are saddened to announce that Jamieson & Smith former co-owner Eva Smith passed away this weekend, Eva and her brother the late Jim Smith took over the running of the family company in 1969 after the passing of the company’s founder, their father the late John ‘Sheepie’  Smith.

Brought up on Berry Farm Scalloway Eva had a great love and passion for all aspects of farm life both at Berry and their farm at Pitmeden, Dyce, and Aberdeenshire. Eva was well-known for her work with Aberdeen Angus cattle and her great love of Shetland Ponies. Berry stud book was renowned for its breeding of special miniature ponies,  Eva in particular was much sought after as a judge in this field and became the youngest judge of her era to judge the Royal Highland Show as seen in the photo above.

Combined with all her hard physical work on the land Eva was sent out by her father to purchase Shetland wool from Shetland crofters and farmers and take it back home to Berry Farm where it provided work for the farm labourer plus Jim & Eva in the winter months.

With the expansion of the wool handling business in 1952 and its move to Lerwick, Eva became more involved in the running of their company and along with their manager Gilbert Johnston was responsible in having the Shetland sorted wool they bought contract spun into knitting yarns at Hunters of Brora in the Scottish Highlands.

Eva was a keen and active knitter and like many Shetland ladies produced her own designs, her understanding helped greatly in the progress of the company moving forwards and establishing Jamieson & Smith as the leading suppliers of Real Shetland knitting yarns in its field built up on the Berry philosophy of trust, respect and humbleness.

At the age of 75 and Jim 81 they decided to retire from the textile trade and concentrate on running both their farms selling the company on to the main buyers of the Shetland wool clip: Curtis Wool Direct in 2005.

Eva was a very private person and resolute in achieving her aims in both her careers as a farmer and wool merchant and even up to her final days was giving out orders and advice as to how J&S should be run, still a passionate and caring person to the end.

We shall all miss her greatly.

Oliver Henry

Eva with her parents John and Florence
Eva and Prince Charles at the Millennium Show, Eva receiving the price for Supreme Champion.
Jim and Eva, photo by Elaine Tait
Eva and Major Walters from Hunters of Brora

Oliver’s Ewan Sweater

Hello everyone! Just a quick post today to show you the jumper Sandra has made for Oliver using our Croft – Shetland Tweed yarn which we launched last year together with West Yorkshire Spinners..

Sandra made Ollie the Ewan Sweater from the Croft – Shetland Tweed pattern book, it contains 14 designs by Sarah Hatton all to be made using the Croft Yarn. The Ewan Sweater is one of two patterns for Mens jumpers in the book and there is a nice selection of other jumpers and cardigans for Women as well as some accessories. Oliver decided on the Boddam colourway for his jumper and I think it looks great!

Sometimes with a very flecked or speckled yarn its hard to imagine how the wool will knit up but this shows how the speckles really work well with the texture and cables in the pattern. Sandra likes to knit in the round as much as she can but she chose to follow the pattern and knit Oliver’s jumper in pieces, the Croft yarn has a good drape and can grow a bit when its washed so a big project like this is best worked in pieces for stabilitly.

I think Oliver is pleased with his Jumper!

You can see the Croft Shetland Tweed yarn on our website here and the pattern book here, you can also see more of the patterns in the book here. I would suggest looking through the projects made with the yarn on Ravelry too, there are some great ones!

Happy Knitting!

EYF and Merrie Dancers

Hello everyone! We are back from a very successful and busy weekend away at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Me (Ella) and Kharis headed down to the capital last week and spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday selling all the Shetland wool to all the knitters!

I didnt get many photos because we we so busy – A great problem to have of course but it means not many pictures for you, we are so pleased with how it went so we hope any of you who bought from us enjoyed yourselves too! We have posted all the orders we took at the show today so if you placed an order its on its way to you now, EYF is now also the place where the Shetland Wool Week hat and patron is announced so this year Elizabeth Johnston of Shetland Handspun is this years patron and her Merrie Dancers pattern is this years hat, we have already seen lots of projects popping up on Ravelry and lots of people were buying the yarn for it at the show.

photo pinched from shetlandwooladventures

So if you would like to pick up a kit for the hat you can do so here, we will try and include a copy of the pattern if we can but you can download it here.

I put together a little video of our trip away, so you can see our journey to Edinburgh and get an idea of how busy it was on the J&S stand, we had a great time away 🙂 happy knitting!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018

Hello everyone, happy Friday! Just a peerie post today reminding you that we will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival next weekend, the marketplace takes place on the 15th-17th and is located at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. We have been busy organising all our stuff to bring and we will be heading on the boat on Monday night.

Of course we will have our entire range of 2ply Jumper Weight, as well as a selection of all our other ranges from cobweb up to chunky. We are also taking lots of books, knitting belts, patterns etc etc.. basically everything a lover of Shetland Wool would need!

We will have samples of all the projects from Jamieson & Smith: A Shetland Story which we released at Wool Week last year so this is the perfect time to see the samples and choose your project. If there is something we don’t have with us at the show we can take orders there and we will post it to you for free when we get back to Shetland.

Also EYF is where this years Shetland Wool Week patron and pattern will be announced so once you have picked up your pattern you can come over to us and pick up your yarn! I (Ella) have been to EYF the past two years but this is our first time exhibiting so me and Kharis are really looking forward to it, so if you are going come and see us at stand K8 (you can download a map here) So wish us a calm sailing on the boat on Monday night and we will see any of you who are coming in Edinburgh!

Happy knitting 🙂

New Colours KAL 2018

Hello everyone! things have been very busy here over January as we get back into the way of things but today we announce our KAL for the next few months – the New Colours Kal!

from left to right: 90, 16, FC21, 32 and 1282

We are constantly updating and changing the colours we have in 2ply Jumper Weight and we are lucky that we have a huge back catalogue of shades which if we need to we can take from and bring back. In recent years we did that with FC11 and FC7 which has really added to the palette and although this means saying goodbye to some shades its proof that it doesn’t always mean forever!

This KAL is a bit different than others we’ve done before in that you can use as many shades of 2ply Jumper Weight as you want but you must use at least 3 of the new shades. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun! As in the Fire Festival Kal at the end we will have a public vote so its always worth putting something in – you might win!

So the KAL: what we want you to do is –

  • Knit a garment or accessory using J&S 2ply jumper weight only.
  • at least 3 shades must be from our newly brought back colours: 90, 16, FC21, 32 and 1282.
  • As many other shades can be used as you want.
  • the item must use Fair Isle knitting/ stranded colourwork.

That’s it! The KAL begins on February the 2nd and runs until until the 2nd of May.

Now the new/old colours:

16 is a lovely bright blue

32 is a bright bronze

90 is a peachy orange

FC21 is a lovely marled lavender

And 1282 is a marled mid green.

All the new colours are now on the online shop and if you would like to take part there will be chat and discussion in our Ravelry group, if you share any progress photos on instagram use the #nckal

We’ll be back with some colour combo inspirations soon but until then happy knitting and planning!