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Wovember 2012

It is already half way through Wovember 2012 and we have realised that all has gone quiet on the J&S blog front recently. So to contribute our little bit to this magnificent month we thought we would give you a little sneaky peek behind the scenes here to show you where all your wonderful wool comes from.

We start off in the wool-store, which could be described as the hub of Shetland’s wool industry with more than 700 local crofters delivering their wool – ranging from bundles of a few kilos to trucks full with a few tonnes in some cases – through our big green doors.

We then sort through the bags, fleece by fleece, to separate them into the different grades and natural colours with the finest being used to make fine lace and the toughest for durable wool carpets. The wool is then squashed into bales by our trusty old baler ready to be shipped and scoured, carded, combed, spun and dyed into the cushion filling, combed tops and lace and yarn that we send off to you. Some of it comes back to us transformed into beautiful rugs, carpets, duvets and even the life-changing Vi-Spring beds.

We sent off our last load of wool for 2012 yesterday which has left room in the main store to clear out the coloured wool-store and sort each coloured fleece into the different grades, ready to be sent away in the final load of this year’s wool season – usually in April – and processed into all of our natural, undyed products. This  final 12th shipment will bring this year’s total to over 240 tonnes of wool: a total which is usually greeted with a look of amazement from anyone who hears it.

When the products finally arrive back here after their long transformation they take pride of place in our shop that is joined onto the wool stores where they first became part of J&S as raw wool. The shop was expanded in 2010 to make it three times its original size and give all of our treasured woolly products room to show off. It is now much-loved by knitters who can rummage around, comparing and contrasting colours to create their very own Shetland Wool knitwear.

The shop also doubles up as the mail-room where we make up, package and send out orders from all over the world. This makes it a very busy place every morning until our postie comes just after 12 to take away the parcels. However, we love making up the little woolly bundles so thank you to each and every one of you who has ordered from us and helped support Shetland’s wool industry.

I just thought I’d end with an image of what makes this all possible. The humble Shetland Sheep with its world-beating wool in its wild, exposed habitat that makes it all so magical.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amanda #

    The shop is tree times bigger – huh? So it’s YOUR fault that I bought three times as much wool as I meant to! (Actually, that’s not true, I think it was more like five times…..)
    No regrets!
    Amanda x

    November 15, 2012
  2. Reblogged this on Hasret Nakişlari und kommentierte:
    Ein schöner Blick hinter die Kulissen von Jamieson & Smith.

    November 16, 2012
  3. Lovely – takes me back to my visit last year, and makes me wish I was there right now. Oh well….

    November 16, 2012
  4. Wow! I’d love to visit some day. I bet it smells amazing – love that sheepy smell!

    Does all the wool come only from Shetland?

    November 18, 2012
  5. hawthorn-livelovecraft #

    I would love to visit – will have to put on my bucket list of all places remotely woolly I would like to see 🙂

    November 20, 2012
  6. We’re glad that any of you who have made it here enjoyed your visit, we love having people here for a look around! Hope that you enjoy using our yarn (even if you did accidentally-on-purpose buy more than you meant to!)
    All of our wool comes from hundreds of various crofts around Shetland and is hand sorted in our two wool stores in Lerwick before being shipped off. Only the best Real Shetland wool comes back to us as all out woolly products.
    (Apologies for the late reply but its been a bit hectic around here this Wovember!)

    November 23, 2012
  7. Thank for the reply. Keep up the excellent work. It’s always very reassuring to know exactly where wool is coming from – a rare privilage. 🙂

    November 23, 2012

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