Wool Season

Hello everybody, sorry it has been quite quiet on the blog this summer, we have been so busy which of course is a great problem to have. We are now in the heart of the Shetland Wool season and thanks to a pretty good summer so far the clipping has been happening in earnest so the woolstore is filling up as fast as they can empty it! Even with roadworks happening outside our door (we can still be reached from the bottom of North Road) we are averaging 2-3 tonnes through the doors everyday.

I took the chance on Saturday after the woolstore ones had gone home to take a few photos of the organised chaos, I find the Woolstore extremly photogenic and the sheer volume of wool in there never ceases to amaze me. We have shipped two loads so far and they are well into load 3 so you can see we are bursting (at the seams you can see above!)

These pictures sum up just a fraction of the wool we see from over 80% of Shetlands Crofters and Farmers in a year, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this peerie peek. One more thing thats happened this summer is Oliver has reach 50 years at J&S! I posted a few photos through the years on Instagram which you can see here but I took this one last week which just about sums it up…

Happy Knitting!

Sletts Shawl L252 Re-imagined

As our yarn range grows and changes sometimes its fun to take a look back at one of our older patterns and try it in a newer range. This is what Sandra did recently with the catchily named ‘My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl L252’ – originally released in the 1980’s and designed by Gladys Amedro.

Originally knit in the Woollen Spun 2ply Lace Sandra remade this version in the undyed White shade of Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace – worsted spun and somewhat finer this has resulted in a very soft and drapey shawl.

I was surprised how modern and wearable it seemed when we were rephotographing it, it would still make a perfect Hap for a baby or a christening but wrapped around your neck and shoulders its lovely and quite stylish! The Shetland Supreme 2ply is quite lightweight but also substantial due to the two plys, the worsted yarn of course is fine for next to skin and I can imagine it would look lovely in all the natural 2ply Shades.

Construction wise the shawl is made as indicated by my quick drawing above – you initially knit the edging first, the stitches are all picked up and the four borders worked at the same time in the round. The centre is then knitted from one of these borders and knit whilst attaching to the other two sides and grafted onto the last border.

We decided to rename this pattern the Sletts Shawl, which is where we took the photographs, its a bay in the town and made the perfect backdrop for the shawl. We have also updated the pattern with charts and updated all the abbreviations to the modern ones, so you can see on the product page there are now two choices for the kit – one is the original patttern and knit in L1 Woollen Spun Lace and the new pattern which is both written and charted in the Shetland Supreme. We hope this means there is something for everyone depending on how you like your lace patterns!

We hope your enjoying your summer, we have been been having some nice summery weather in Shetland so long may it continue, Happy Knitting!

J&S at Woolfest

Hello everyone! We are back from Woolfest, and had a great time. We really enjoyed seeing everyone who came to the J&S stall and sold lots of lovely Shetland Wool!

sheep at Lockerbie – one of our stops on the long drive!

We left Shetland a week ago yesterday and went on the boat to Aberdeen then drove down to Cockermouth, we stopped off a few places on the way to break up the drive including Lockerbie which had some great Sheep statues as you can see above.

We stayed not far at all from the Mitchell’s Marts which is where Woolfest is held, and once we had our stall set up (which took a few hours!) we were really pleased with how it looked. We took some of everything including every colour of Jumper weight and that was a great seller, people loved to see all the colours and choose the shades for their project. If you have ever been in the J&S shop in Lerwick you will know we have big cubbyholes for every colour and this was the impact we were trying to make – i think it worked great!! we also took a lots of things specific to Shetland knitting like Jumper Boards, Glove boards and Knitting Belts which was good as people could have a right look at them.

We were so busy that we we didn’t get many chances to look around or take a lot of pictures but we had a great weekend and the show was organised so well, there were lots of livestock too which was possible because we were in a marts so it worked great!

So thank you to everyone who visited our stand, me (Ella) and Kharis had a great time, I made a video of our trip, I posted it to instagram but it can only be a minute long so I had to cut it down – but here’s the extended version for you – Shetland to Cockermouth and back in 2 and a half minutes!

Happy Knitting!

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Woolfest 2017

Hello everyone, happy Friday! So we are getting organised and packing together what we will be bringing down to Woolfest next week!

We are taking a wide range of our yarns – including every shade of 2ply Jumper Weight and a selection of books, kits and we will also be able to take orders for anything else people would like that we dont have with us – any orders placed at the show we have free postage, So on Tuesday night me (Ella) and Kharis will be heading on the boat and making the drive down!  Woolfest is an award winning event which takes place in a auction mart in Cockermouth in Cumbria, its a big celebration of Wool and the event also includes animals and fleece sales so we are looking forward to seeing that.

Its is open Friday 23rd (10am – 6pm) Saturday 24th (10am – 5pm) and the tickets are £10 each day or £15 for a two day ticket, you can find us on stand J197 and 242. So if you are coming we look forward to seeing you and we will do a blog once we are back all about our trip.

Happy Knitting!

Wool Awareness Event

Hello everyone! So this past Saturday we hosted something a bit different at J&S, a Wool Awareness event. This was for our crofters and wool producers and focused on the ways to present the wool so as to get the best price. Jan, Oliver and Derek were all on hand to advise and talk through with the visitors about what was on show.

The woolstore was laid out brilliantly with examples of all the different grades we take in as well as what we don’t want and how it can lower the price the crofter receives, this was great I thought (as a non-crofter!) because it was well described as to why this lowers the value and I could see what was wrong with it compared to the other examples.

We also had fancys!

And fleece-rolling demonstrations!

We had as well a display of all the yarns and products we make so you could also see the finished product – a number of the visitors came into the shop afterwards and all the feedback I had was really good, so I hope those that came enjoyed it.

Its extremely important to us to support the crofters as much as we can, after all we wouldn’t get very far without them! I made a quick video on Saturday too which you can see below, Happy Knitting!

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British Knitting Awards 2017

Yippeee! We have been nominated again (for the 4th year running!!) in the Best Brand For British Yarn category in the British Knitting Awards! When you think about how small Shetland is geographically we are always extremely pleased to be nominated in this category, and we are in great company – We would love it if you would vote for us, so if you would like you you can do so here (by entering you also get entered into a competition to win lots of prizes!!)

So thank you again for nominating us! it really means a lot, happy knitting!

 

Shetland College Project 2017

Hello everyone, Happy weekend! On Wednesday myself (Ella) and Oliver headed to the Shetland College, every year for the past few years we have worked with the College on a project using our yarns. The students are given a brief to produce a garment or home interiors product using the Worsted Spun and Heritage yarns (Shetland Supreme Lace 1 and 2ply, Shetland Heritage Natural and Dyed, Shetland Aran Worsted and Shetland Chunky). This year also had two woven products which was very exciting!

We were there to see the final items and hear the presentations from 3 students, Rhea Kay who’s Jumper we saw last year was also included in this module so if you want more information about her garment see last years post here. Andrea who was included with Rhea last year has moved onto another college on the Mainland so her poncho isn’t included but you can see more information about it too in that post. Rhea’s garment looked as good as we remembered it – it will be on display at the Whalsay Heritage Centre after the term ends at the college so keep an eye out for it there if you are visiting!

First up was Julia Nairn who covered a footstool in fabric made using the Shetland Heritage Natural yarns, she was inspired by the Houll Loch in Whalsay and took lots of photos of the scene. She finds it to be a timeless landscape and she was particularly inspired by the ripples in the water and the almost symmetry seen her her photos which she took through to her finished item. She used an undulating twill structure for her weaving and her main focus was to take the landscape into the home which is why she made a homeware product.

We loved the way the resulting fabric came out and found the footstool to be very effective, the heritage yarn is soft yet robust making it very suited to weaving.

Alicja Tyburska also used weaving in her project but decided to make a garment, in this case, a large wrap. She is a weaver but also extremely interested in History and Archaeology, in particular, Shetlands Natural Landscape and its features, and she took the inspiration from Brochs and other stone features in Shetland – mainly how they are seen from above in drone photography.

This gave her the inspiration for her weave structure and she combined different weights of yarns – the Shetland Aran, Heritage and Chunky together to give beautiful texture to her finished item. We loved the professional finish and texture of the wrap, and the chunky tassels just finished it off perfectly.

Marcia Galvin used knit in her project and made this lovely wrap cardigan in the Shetland Heritage yarn, she was inspired by the word ‘Heritage’ and what it means to her, although not a Shetlander she has been here for many years and was interested in how certain areas have changed architecturally in Lerwick in particular Hays Dock. The Shetland Museum and Archives and Mareel are examples of modern architecture that Marcia looked at and took inspiration from, she looked up the briefs the architects of these building had and looked at the lines and shapes of the buildings.

You can see in her finished garment how elements of these buildings came out in her motif and texture. The cardigan is oversized but can be closed a number of different ways and with a belt. We though the use of colour and inspiration were very successful.

The winner of the unit will be announced at the Degree Show in a few weeks but we think all the students did extremely well, it’s really important to us to support the local College – me and Kharis are both graduates of the Contemporary Textiles course and it gives students the skills to be able to work in the industry in Shetland, something which is quite difficult and we, as an industry, must be supportive of these students.

Happy Knitting!

PS. remember the Shetland Wool Week programme comes out on Tuesday the 16th of May, there are lots of things happening again at J&S and it looks to be another fabulous year!

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