Fire Festival KAL inspiration

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Sometimes choosing colours for a Knit-a-Long can be quite daunting, but after quite a number of years of choosing shades for the Colourbox Challenges with the Country Shows in Shetland and a couple for our online KAL’s we are always pleased and surprised with the colour and pattern combinations people come up with. The Fire Festival KAL, inspired by Shetland’s Up Helly Aa festivals has been running for a little while now and more projects are beginning to emerge so I thought it was time to take a look at some of the knitting..

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clockwise from top right: one, two, three
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clockwise from top left: one, two, three, four

I always find it very inspiring to see how people have put colours together, and how to colours change when put next to others – it’s my favourite part of the KAL! it runs until the 20th of March so there is still plenty of time to get involved and knit yourself (or someone else a firey inspired garment or accessory) We have already had the first of Shetlands Up Helly Aa’s for 2017 with the Scalloway Fire Festival on the 13th of January, you can see some great pictures here. Lerwick Up Helly Aa is on Tuesday 31st of January and it is a public Holiday in the town on the day after (some of us need time to recover..) so we will be closed Wednesday 1st of February opening as normal on Thursday. If you would like to watch any of the live broadcast of Lerwick UHA on Tuesday you can do so here.

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I hope this has inspired you if you were thinking to join the KAL, you can find the shades here on the website, there has been some confusion about adding in other colours but to be entered in the KAL you can only use the 8 shades chosen and you must use at least 5 of them. Your project must also include some Fair Isle/stranded colourwork, don’t forget to share your projects in our Ravelry group and on Instagram with #firefestivalkal

Happy Knitting!

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New Year, New Skills!

Hello everybody! We hope you’ve had a lovely festive season and are feeling refreshed and ready for 2017, the New Year is a great time to plan for those skills you want to improve in the next 12 months – although sometimes it’s hard to know where to start!

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One skill close to our hearts at J&S is Fair Isle knitting and its what many people use our yarns for (especially 2ply Jumper Weight!) but we know it can be quite daunting to some people, luckily there are lots of different ways you can get help with the trickier aspects!

One way is to watch someone doing and explaining these things! Hazel Tindalls DVD ‘The Fine Art of Fair Isle Knitting‘ is an excellent resource for those of us who learn by watching – I am definitely one of those people!

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The DVD takes you through all aspects of traditional Shetland knitting and demystifies things like knitting belts, jumper boards, long DPN’s and steeks to name a few.

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It’s one of those things you will refer back to often and although the DVD is about knitting a garment (in this case a cardigan) the skills you learn can be carried over into all your knitting. You can view the trailer and buy the download if a DVD isn’t for you here

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Another great way to gain confidence in your skills is to use a kit, by following a pattern in the colours provided all stress is taken away, I know choosing colours can be quite scary! And sometimes a smaller item like a hat, socks or hot water bottle cover can seem a lot more manageable than a Jumper!

Saudade and Fishermans Kep
Saudade and Fishermans Kep
Toatie Hottie and Yuglet Socks
Toatie Hottie and Yuglet Socks
First Footing and Antarctica
First Footing and Antarctica

For those of you that want a bit of a colour challenge our Fire Festival KAL is a great way to play with a group of colours already chosen for you, there are lots of projects appearing in our ravelry group so there’s a place to support, advise each other and chat about how you’re putting the shades together! The knit a long runs until March so there’s still plenty of time to join in.

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I hope this has given you some ideas about Fair Isle you’d like to try, especially now that Christmas and gift knitting is by with – some selfish knitting may be in order!

Speak soon 🙂

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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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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Wool Week at J&S

Hello! I’m so sorry we haven’t been able to update you this week of all the happenings at J&S for Shetland Wool Week, I’m afraid it has just been so busy!!! A great problem to have of course, We have just about managed to get some snaps here and there during the week so this post is all about what we had going on in the shop

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fair isle knitting with Hazel
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lace with Elizabeth Johnston

On Monday we had a Fair Isle Class with Hazel Tindall in the Morning and Shetland Lace with Elizabeth in the Afternoon, we always have these classes and they are always some of the first to sell out, Hazel and Elizabeths years of experience make them excellent teachers!

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Drop Spindling with Deborah

On Tuesday Morning we had a Drop Spindle class with Deborah Gray, I always think this looks like a really fun class to do!

Tuesday night we had a trunk show for Monique Boonstra, Monique is a fabulous lace knitter and she had samples of her lovely patterns and knittingtuesmon

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Haps with Gudrun

Wednesday led to more lace knitting, Haps with Gudrun in the Morning and more lace with Elizabeth in the afternoon. Gudruns Hap class is always very popular and she has the students make a mini version of her Hansel hap, it’s very manageable for the length of time of the class and gives everyone a taste of all the elements of this traditional Shetland garment.

img_9798This is the only photo I got on Wednesday of Elizabeths second lace class but it looks like they are learning a lot! Elizabeth is always great to have at Wool Week and she teaches lots of classes in Hoswick also.

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Of course, we have spent the week spotting crofthoose hats too! It’s great to see all the different colours people have chosen.thurshaz

Thursday morning had Hazels second Fair Isle class, she had the ladies knit in the round and then steek! Everyone seemed to have a great time and I loved the samples at the end.

Friday morning we had no classes so we got caught up on our post and then in the afternoon Monique Boonstra was back with a class using 1ply Shetland Suprememonfri

Oliver has been doing his tour this week too, and yesterday was the last day of that, he has it down to a fine art and we always get lots of people coming for the tour.

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photo by Scott Goudie

Today is the Makers Market and Flock Book and tomorrow is the fabulous Sunday Teas hosted by the Guild so I’ll be back next week with a few photos from that. It’s been a great week and as always we are so proud to be involved in Shetland Wool Week!Save

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Shetland Wool Week Mitts-a-Long

Hello everybody, specifically those of you who can’t make it to Shetland Wool Week but would like to be involved…

The wonderful Felicity Ford AKA Knitsonik has been busy working away on an idea just for you:  Introducing the Knitsonik Mitts-a-Long for Shetland Wool Week! ‘Yay’ I hear you cry, well Yay indeed, read on for the details.

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The idea is to design your own stranded colourwork using ‘Fingerless Mitts’ as the base for your explorations. There are two kit options for you to choose from, each one has been carefully thought out by Felicity and includes the pattern along with the corresponding 8 balls of our lovely 2ply Jumper Weight (a 4ply weight yarn).

The first theme is the Crofthouse Museum, situated in Dunrossness in the South Mainland of Shetland. It is set up as it would have been in the 1870s so you can get a real feel of what it was like to live in a typical Shetland home at that time.

The second theme is taken from knitting sheaths in the Shetland Museum & Archives. These were in use before knitting belts and were made with feathers to grip and hold a needle in place while working.

The Knitsonik Mitts-A-Long 2016 coincides with Shetland Wool Week 2016 starting on the 24th September. It will continue until the 24th October with lots of places to share and discuss your progress online – you can find other participants by following the hashtag #knitsonikmittsalong on Instagram and Twitter, and on the Knitsonik Ravelry forum.

We have a limited amount of kits in stock so if you would like to knit your Shetland inspired mitts with wool all packed up by us in Shetland, this is your chance!

Waas Show

Hello! last Saturday dawned a bit damper as me (Ella) and Sandra headed out to Waas for the Walls Show.

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Spirits were not dampended however and we soon got to work (after a cup of tea and a bacon roll!) judging the colourbox. This is our first year having the colourbox at Walls so there wasn’t too many entries but next year I’m sure there will be more!

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As with all shows in Shetland there were plenty of animals to be seen..

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and lovely knitwear..

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We weren’t able to stay until everything was fully set up but I’m glad we got a few pictures! Thankfully it dried up and the rest of the day was much better than the morning.  We were amazed on the way back to town how lovely the heather is at the moment in Shetland..

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You can see why we have so many heathery shades in our Jumper Weight range (FC55, FC56. FC14, 87, 133 to name a few!) FC11 and FC12 are good matches for the grass too!

There are a few more shows still to come (Yell and Unst) but we probably won’t make it to those so I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip around the mainland Shetland Shows!

Happy Knitting 🙂 xx