Fire Festival KAL 2016-2017

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Hello! Many of you have asked if we would be doing another Knit A Long this winter and the answer is yes!

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This year we have decided to take inspiration from something unique to Shetland and that is Up Helly Aa, there are a number of these fire-festivals all over Shetland from the Scalloway one in the second week of January up to the Delting Up Helly Aa in March.

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Without going into too much detail Up Helly Aa is held all over Shetland throughout the beginning of the year and they all feature a Guizer Jarl (chief Viking) and their Jarls Squad, a number of Squads dressed up, a torchlight procession and the burning of a Galley. It is something which cheers up and brightens many Shetlanders during the darkest time of the year here and I have always found the colours inspiring!

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So you can see from the shades chosen we have mainly been inspired by Fire! we have chosen a number of fiery shades (91, FC38, 125 and 9113) but also some darker shades to represent the dark winter skies (36, 81, 54) we have thrown in the bright blue shade 132 as when I was looking through photos for inspirations I kept seeing a brighter blue either in the sky or shadows like the photo above.

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Although we have taken our inspirations from the Vikings this Knit A Long is totally open to your interpretation of the colours, all you have to do is knit something (garment, accessory, whatever you feel!) using at least 5 of the 8 shades and it must feature some Fair Isle knitting (two colours in a row)

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Fire Festival Knit A Long Shades: 132, 54, 9113, 81, 36, 125, FC38 and 91

You can put together your own patterns or use a pattern that’s already out and work with putting the colours into it, we know there is still a lot of Christmas knitting going on so to coincide with the last Up Helly Aa we will have the Knit A Long running From now until 20th March 2017

I have put together a mood board of pictures on Pinterest so feel free to have a look and enjoy the Knit A Long, you can see the colours here on the online shop. If you take part and would like to Share pictures please post in our Ravelry Group and tag your pictures on instagram with #firefestivalkal

Happy Knitting!Save

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J&S Weekend in Harrogate

Sandra and I arrived back home to Shetland on Monday afternoon after a great four days at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate. You can read my round up of our first two days here. The weekend was just as successful so again I’d like to share a bit about the people we met over Saturday and Sunday.

Just across from us was 3 Bags Wool, based in Aberlour, who had a stunning display of thrum hanks which are a by-product from Scottish weaving mills. They can be used in lots of ways including sewing and knitting. The colour combinations were so nice!

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Also available on the stand were giant wooden knitting needles which, as well as being perfect for the thrums, were great for knitting with our combed tops (knitted sample courtesy of 3 Bags Wool – thank you!)

We had a number of customers buying tops for this purpose and also for arm-knitting – we were told that about 2kg of tops was enough for a blanket. We’d love to see some examples so if anyone would like to share and tag us on Twitter or Facebook that would be great!

Over the other side of the hall was Woolaballoo. Lovely people and lovely yarns! I really liked these handmade yarn bowls and I always love a good Herdy mug🙂 You can find Woolaballoo in Langley Park, Durham.

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One of the really fun things about being at the Knitting & Stitching Show was meeting so many amazing people, chatting with them, hearing all their stories about making with wool and seeing their wonderful knitwear! This is Brian and Margaret who I had to grab for a photo with their super pattern and colour combinations. We chatted quite a bit with Margaret, she was brilliant! The grey/orange Fair Isle jumper she’s wearing is an old Jaeger design.

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Of course there were some beautiful yarns (other than our inimitable J&S Shetland!) which were very tempting … and yes I did buy some…

A stand overflowing with the most amazing array of colour was The Knitting Goddess. Here is just a small selection of her hand-dyed yarns. A couple of gradient mini-skein bundles came home with me. So excited to get knitting with them over the winter!

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Now, I’ve been looking for the perfect pattern since last winter to replace a very old cabled jumper of mine but nothing I came across was quite right. Until… Purl Alpaca Designs ‘Mayan Jumper’ found me! Bear in mind that this was Sunday, the last day of the show, and I was VERY tired when taking photos so unfortunately forgot to take one of my perfect jumper but you can see it here.

I did buy the pattern and yarn which made me happy, yay!

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Finally, we get to the Latvian mittens! They’re knit on tiny needles, around 1.5mm. Hobby Wool have a wonderful selection of patterned kits to choose from, not just mittens but socks too. They were traditionally given as special gifts and the symbols mostly derive from deities and gods. They had a beautiful book too – Mittens of Latvia which was incredibly inspiring, I can’t wait to have a proper look through my copy!

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Ok, I’ll finish there, possibly rather abruptly I know. Apologies if my writing is not the best in this post, I’m really in need of a proper sleep! We’ve had a super time and would like to thank everyone at the show – visitors, fellow exhibitors, the fudge guy (can’t remember the name of his stand, sorry) and the sweetie man aka Henleys, all the porters, oh yeah the lady who came around with the tea trolley and brilliant cakes on the day we were setting up! She had perfect timing! Aaah, everybody, thanks!

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The Knitting & Stitching Show – Harrogate

We’re halfway into the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show so I thought this would be a good time to share with you how it’s going.

As you may know, this is the first show we’ve attended for quite a few years. We weren’t sure exactly how it would go or what people would be looking for so we took a mixture of kits with samples, combed tops, jumper boards, glove boards… a lot of different items!

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It’s been great so far, many beautiful stands and we’ve met some wonderful people. Here are a few visitors who stopped by to see us and a small selection of exhibitors we love (more in next post!).

Knitwear designer and tutor, Graeme Knowles-Miller, brought along some of his designs made using our 2ply Jumper Weight. It was so lovely chatting with him! You can see beautiful images of his work on his website.

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While Helen (AntyHelenInspires on Ravelry) was looking at yarn I couldn’t help but notice a wonderfully coloured something peeping out of her bag… she was happy to show us her handspun(!) Stephen West Mistery Building Blocks Shawl.

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Amazing colours!

Another customer had a beautiful shawl she’d knitted several years ago using our 1ply Cobweb Yarn. Wow!

Catherine (africandaffodil on Ravelry) was wearing a really lovely crescent-shaped shawl which I just had to ask about as I loved the colours! It turned out to be her own design – The Sheperdess. I didn’t get a photo at the time but here’s one of Catherine’s own images.

 

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The Sheperdess – image Copyright Catherine Holmes

 

Next up are two of my favourite exhibitors. Both will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017 so keep a look out for them.

Beyond Measure is Grace Whowell who has the most beautiful collection of textile-making accessories and notions. Love!

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The last wonderful person I’ll mention today is Sue Stratford of The Knitting Hut. She’s an author of some seriously cute knitting books! At the show she also had knitting kits for different birds, my favourites were the Chunky Blackbird and Chunky Robin!

I’ve still not made it all the way around the whole show, a lot more to see. I’d like to get some photos of a couple of stands I’ve already seen so I’ll tell you about them in the next post.

If you’re yet to make it along to the show at the Harrogate International Centre it’s on today and tomorrow from 10am until 5pm. We have some limited edition coloured combed tops as well as all our natural shades, lots of kits which could be perfect Christmas presents, we have special prices on our Knit Real Shetland and Gladys Amedro Vintage Lace books, and also free postage on any orders placed at the show.

For those of you who can’t make the show I’ll be writing up another post after Sunday x

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book

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You have probably seen this book if like us you love anything related to Fair Isle, Knitting and Shetland! Published by The Shetland Times and compiled by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book in Colour is a bright and inspiring book – perfect for this dark and dreary time of year. It was released just in time for Wool Week this year and since then it has been selling like hot cakes, everytime I went to do a blog it would be sold out!

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As things calm down though its a lovely book to look through. It is filled with hand coloured motif’s for Fair Isle knitting, the originals of the notebooks belonged to Bill Henry who ran the Hosiery side of Anderson & Co in the mid 20th century. They were most likely used by knitters to put together pattern to put on items to sell.

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The idea of the notebooks themselves is not unusual, Shetland knitters have many self drafted pattern books but what makes this one unusual is the coloured aspect, it is very common to see the black and white dotted kind you see in many Fair Isle books like Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor, Alice Starmores Book of Fair Isle Knitting and Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary MacGregor. Those kind of graph books are invaluable also because they help you to put together patterns without being distracted by the colours but this book is a feast for the eyes if you like Fair Isle and Stranded knitting.

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It’s very tempting to gather up colours and try to match them up…

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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 77, 1403, 66, 1, fc15 and 34
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greens: 34 and FC11, blue: FC15 and FC47, cream: 1 and 202, yellow: 66 and 121, reds: 1403 and FC55, black: 77 and 81.

The yarn on the right-hand side is the same kind of shades as the ones on the left for the pattern in the previous picture but it would give you a more subtle version of the pattern. That’s another fun part of putting colours together, you can adapt it until it is more your kind of shades.

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Shetland Heritage Naturals l-r: white, fawn, light grey, moorit and black
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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 1403, 23, 21, FC15 and 202

We have the book in stock just now and it costs £20.00. It would make a great present for anyone interested in Shetland Knitting, the historical aspect is just as interesting as the colour inspirations!

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Annes Sheelagh Shawl

A few weeks ago I spotted on Ravelry a beautiful version of the Sheelagh Shawl, knit by Anne for her wedding. It sparked a memory in me of an email inquiring about receiving the kit in the Shetland Supreme Yarn, we get (of course) lots of emails every day but its always so nice to see a finished item you helped someone get the yarn for. The Sheelagh is a classic Gladys Amedro pattern which begins with the border before picking up stitches (in this case 960 of them!) and knitting it in towards the middle decreasing as you go.

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I asked Anne if I could share some photos of her beautiful shawl from her wedding to her Husband Johannes and she gracefully agreed as well as telling me a bit about her knitting of the Shawl:

‘I have been a ravelry member since 2011, for the last 2 or 3 years I am online almost every day, browsing patterns, putting them into my favourites, queue, etc. … I don’t remember when, but I came across the Princess shawl from Sharon Miller. I think I discovered the Jamieson & Smith yarns there in the projects (or maybe also through admiring fair isle knitting, which came up around the same time😉 ).

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When my now-husband asked if I’d like to be his wife last year in October, I knew I would like to have a shawl to wear on my wedding. In fact I knew this already before and was admiring all the nice lace shawls on ravelry,  I started a meant-to-be wedding shawl in a nice off-white Tussah silk from my LYS. I was already done when I realised, this would be way too heavy to wear on a summer wedding. I somehow was afraid of this fact already before, but just did not listen to my inner voice. I still was browsing patterns and yarn shops online almost every day, also the J & S page. I found the Sheelagh shawl kit there and fell in love. It was just the right thing. Not too simple, yet not super complicated (I would also have liked to knit the Princess shawl, but this was out of question at this time point, but I will do it someday…).

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It was already April and I am a slow knitter. By far I wasn’t sure, if I could ever complete this until end of august. The pattern called for the 1 ply cobweb lace yarn, but there wasn’t an off white available (I already bought my dress which is ivory), so I asked at J&S, if I could also get the kit but replace the yarn with the 1 ply supreme lace. Off course this was possible!

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The yarn arrived middle of April and I started knitting madly. I literally used every free minute I could get: before I went to work, at work I could only think of when I get home to knit, knitted every weekend. In May I was off sick for a week, I knitted all the day! In the middle of June I finished the last stitch. One day more, it would have been 3 month… In this time I changed my mind constantly from ‘Oh gosh, I will never finish this in time’ to ‘Seems to be manageable, right?!’ and back. But I still could finish the other silk shawl, right? Just parts of the borders were missing. And then not wear it, because it’s just too hot… At least I had a plan B.

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I ordered some blocking wires in the US and again was afraid, they would not get here in time. They came, and the shawl blocked from 87 cm to 127 cm each side. I sat next to our guest bed, where it was pinned on, knitting another project and proudly patting the shawl every now and then. I took it to the bridal shop, when I tried my dress to get it fitted and put it on my shoulders there to see if it fits. It was just perfect!

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The wedding took place on August 27th, it was 30 °C and super sunny. I wore the shawl during the ceremony, the champagne reception and our first photo shoot in the park next to the castle where the ceremony was. I was glad to have the Sheelagh shawl instead off the other heavier one. It did not add any heat in the afternoon as it is super light and late in the night when we spend some time outside with the last guests it kept my shoulders warm. I still admire my shawl every now and then and I think I will wear it again in the winter, because in my opinion it should be used and not sit on a shelf waiting for the next wedding in our family, which might be still years away…’

Thank you Anne for sharing with us the beautiful pictures of your lovely shawl! You can see more pictures of the knitting process on here ravelry project page here. Many people see these types of Shawls as strictly for a Christening but I think this shows you can make it look very classic yet modern as a Wedding shawl.

Seeing this has got me going to sort out the Sheelagh Shawl page on the website and you can now order the kit in cobweb but also in all six of the 1ply Shetland Supreme shades here. Happy Knitting!

Deepdale Shawl Colourways

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Every now and again we come into work at the shop and find there are a lots of orders for the same thing without knowing what its for! a few months ago that happened and we noticed there were a number of orders for 2ply Lace in shades L54, L203, L3 and L202. I thought they looked lovely together and then when I went on Ravelry later on I realised Gudrun Johnston had chosen to use those shades for one of her colourways in her MKAL pattern.

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For the past couple of years Gudrun has run a mystery knit along where each week new clues are revealed and you don’t know what the final project will look like! this shawl was this years effort and the final pattern is now available itself: Deepdale

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It gave me an idea to put together a few colourways using the 2ply Lace, it’s a sometimes overlooked yarn but it makes for lovely lightweight but warm projects.

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the original colourway: L54, L203, L202 and L3
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warm browns: L5, L4, L78 and L202
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greys: L77, L54, L27 and L203
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blues: L21, L63, L15 and L16
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pinks: L43, L68, L136 and L101

A number of people also ordered the Shetland Heritage Naturals for this project and they would work beautifully, the Heritage is a little bit thicker than the two ply lace but that only makes for an even more snuggly finished shawl!

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grey, light grey, moorit and fawn

The above colourways is very similar to the original, but the two below will give you more of a brown finished shawl or a grey one – I love the greys!

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shetland black, moorit, fawn and white
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shetland black, grey, light grey and white

I hope this has given you some ideas for colours for a Deepdale Shawl, if you make one using J&S yarns remember to tag us on Instagram, our username is thewoolbrokers and we love to see in progress pictures.🙂

Happy Knitting!

Harrogate – The Knitting & Stitching Show

We’re beginning to get back to normal after Wool Week which was amazing as ever!

However, there’s no slowing down in the shop as we’re beginning to pack up for going to The Knitting & Stitching Show (24-27 November). If you’ve read the earlier post I wrote then you’ll be familiar with the type of products we’re planning to have on the stand.

Living and working in Shetland means travel and delivery of all the items we want to take to the show takes a bit of figuring out! Flights (two of these and pretty much a whole day to get us down to Harrogate) and accommodation for Sandra and myself were booked a couple of months ago so that leaves all the lovely Jamieson & Smith things for the stand.

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Just a taster of the kit selection we’ll have available! You’ll have the option of adding in one of our beautiful new gift boxes…

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Our ‘Every Week is Wool Week’ printed canvas bag has been so popular over the past year that we’ve added a new design which we really love! We’ll also have our two books – Knit Real Shetland which has patterns using a range of our yarns, and Gladys Amedro Vintage Lace Collection 1. For anyone who makes cushions or similar items then our Peerie Project Bags full of Shetland Wool stuffing are perfect!

All of the above will be available to buy at the show but if there’s anything else you’d like then you can place an order with us. We will have examples of all our yarn types and colours, like a giant shade card! We think this is important so you can really get a feel of the different yarns and see the true colour.

That’s about all for now, got to get back to packing up all those kits! You can find out more about our stand in the show Exhibitor List. I’ll be back again soon to let you know of offers and special products so watch this space!