Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters Vol. 1

In March the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers released their latest book of patterns – Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters Vol 1. The book contains 15 original patterns by designers and knitters in the Guild and based at the time of writing in Shetland. It’s an inspiring group of patterns ranging from small items up to garments and features a good range of adult and children’s items:

Seaness Phone Cover by Irene Copperwheat, Quarwall Triangular Shawl by Lauretta Robertson and Quarry Hat and Mitten Set by Alice Pottinger
Clover Brimmed Hat by Ina Irvine, Jemina Hot Water Bottle/Ipad cover by Wilma Couper and Kae Waistcoat by Susan Johnson

When you think of Shetland knitting the most common weight of yarn used is what we call Jumper Weight – a woollen spun 4ply weight yarn available in lots of colours which make the shading of colourwork pop, these patterns in the book either use our 2ply Jumper Weight or Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight:

Sandison Yoked Jumper by Hazel Tindall and Pole Star Mittens by Joan Poleson
Meenie Wristwarmers by Barbara Cheyne and Hvarfi Gloves by Pearl Johnson
Snow in Kergord Mittens by Outi Kater

There are also three patterns in the book which use our Shetland Heritage yarn, both dyed and natural. The Shetland Heritage is slightly lighter weight than Jumper Weight. As it is Worsted Spun the yarn has a softness and drape which makes it perfect for people who find Shetland Wool slightly itchy – the Vailima Cardigan and Frances Frilly Pixie are both for children which the heritage is great for. The Tangwick Tank top in the Natural Heritage is a lovely lightweight top perfect for warmer days but also for layering in the colder months (more often than not in Shetland!)

Vailima Cardigan by Ruby Williamson
Tangwick Tank Top by Sara Leith
Frances Frilly Pixie Hat by Linda Shearer

Congratulations to the Guild on the publication of the new book, you can purchase it here on our website and we look forward to seeing Volume 2!

Happy Knitting!

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 🙂

Jamieson & Smith: A Shetland Story

Hello everyone, we have survived another Shetland Wool Week! I will be doing a post later in the week about what we got up to (spoiler alert: we sold a lot of wool) but for now I have something exciting to share – our newest book, Jamieson and Smith: A Shetland Story is available now!! Its been quite the labour of love and we are all very proud of it.

The book contains the history of the company by Oliver which goes from its beginnings at Berry Farm to where we are today – no mean feat, but we have done it in the most concise way we could and it contains lots of photographs from over the years which haven’t been seen before. It gives you a great insight into what we do here and where we come from, the green doors have been a fixture of North Road for decades so it was only right they graced the cover.

And alongside the history we have a range of patterns beautifully photographed by Liam Henderson and modelled by May Graham and Tim Matthews..

Olivers Hat by Sandra Manson knit in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
Tussacks Shawl by Gudrun Johnston knit in Shetland Heritage
Noostigarth Cowl by Kharis Leggate knit in Shetland Chunky
Uyea Legwarmers by Ella Gordon knit in Shetland Aran Worsted
Vatn jumper by Mary Henderson knit in Shetland Aran Worsted
Houss Socks by Lesley Smith knit in Shetland Heritage
Glebe Jumper by Sandra Manson knit in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
Vaara Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone knit in Shetland Heritage
Hevdadale Tam and Scarf by Mary Handerson knit in Shetland Heritage
The Silwick Vest by Sandra Manson knit in 2ply Jumper Weight

There is more information about yarn quantities etc on the Ravelry pages for the patterns, see here and if you would like a copy of the new book you can purchase it here. In time there will be a PDF version but for the moment it is only available in paperback, we hope you love it as much as we do! Happy knitting x

Shetland Wool Week at J&S 2017

Yippee! Shetland Wool Week 2017 has begun! We have been a bit quiet here over the last peerie while but we have been busy getting organised for this week. The shop has been so busy and we are so excited to see everyone! We have classes on at J&S this week but we also have a few free events which we have just finalised this past couple of weeks so if you are in Shetland this week please come along..

A Year of Techniques Trunk Show

The first event is with our friends Jen and Jim Arnall Culliford and it is a trunk show of their Year of Techniques book, this book has just been released in paperback and features 12 projects all using different techniques to improve your knitting. There are a number of the designs which are worked in J&S yarns and Jen and Jim will be in the shop with all the samples and ready and willing to chat about the book. We will have copies for sale and the event is:

Tuesday 26th September: 6pm – 8pm

J&S Trunk Show

You may have seen this week on Instagram and Ravelry that we have been sharing pictures from our newest book. Jamieson & Smith: A Shetland Story gives you the history of J&S and a collection of hand knitting patterns by a group of some of our favourite designers(and a couple of J&S staff members!). We will be hosting an event in the shop where you can see all the items from the book and plan which to knit first.. This event is on:

Thursday 28th September

PS.. on the online shop there is a page for the book and as soon as it is available you can purchase it from there!

Felicity Ford Trunk Show

Another event is with Felicity Ford who has just announced her next book and to celebrate is also hosting a trunk show at J&S with samples from her new book The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Playbook. Felix’s first book is one of our favourites and we cannot wait to see the new work all knit using 2ply Jumper Weight. This event is:

Friday 29th September 2.30pm-4.30pm

Wool and Grading Demonstration 

Not forgetting one of our busiest events – Olivers sorting and grading demonstrations have become a must-see event at wool week and this free drop-in event takes place on:

Monday 25th, Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th Septmeber at 2pm

Phewf! Its set to be a busy old week so I don’t think I will get blogged every day but we will be back after Wool Week with a roundup of Shetland Wool Week. If you are here for it we hope you enjoy it, happy knitting!

PS. we will be trying our best to keep up with online orders and emails but there may be a delay in us responding and getting out parcels, please accept our apologies! xx

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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The Book of Haps

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Hooray! The Book of Haps has arrived! Our good friend Kate Davies has done it again and her latest book has just landed at J&S, ever since we heard about this book we have been so excited to see it and the patterns don’t disappoint!

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clockwise from top left: Hapisk by Helene Magnusson, Moder Dy by Kate Davies, Harewood by Bristol Ivy, Happenstance by Romi Hill
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Clockwise from top left: Theme and Variation by Veera Valimaki, Montbretia by Carol Feller and Hexa Hap by Tom van Deijnen,
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Clockwise from left: Nut-Hap by Jen Arnall-Culliford, Uncia by Lucy Hague and Shore Hap by Martina Behm,

As always the essays are well researched and full of wonderful photos, Kate goes into depth about all aspects of a Hap, what it means, what it represents and its historical importance to places like Shetland. We are so happy that three of the beautiful designs have been made in our yarns..

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Lang Ayre by Gudrun Johnston, knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
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Hamegaet Wrap by Hazel Tindall knit in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
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Houlland by Donna Smith knit in Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace

We love how all the patterns are so different but all encompass the elements of a Hap updated with design features like lace, intarsia, steeks.. and many more. Each design has something new and different to learn which is well explained. Kate has worked closely with Technical Editor Jen Arnall Culliford and all the patterns are detailed and clear with lots of extra tips..

You can order your copy here and see more information about each pattern here. There are lots of fun ways to get involved with this new book: Jen Arnall Culliford is hosting a Knit-a-Long in her Ravelry group for the book which you can see here and Louise Scollay of Knit British is also hosting one which you can see here.

Hap-py Knitting!

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Kate and her wonderful Moder Dy design, one knit in Buachaille and one in 2ply Jumper Weight.

some knitting books at christmas time..

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Im so sorry for the bit gaps in posting but I thought I’d begin with our lovely Christmas tree! We have recovered from the brilliant Shetland Wool Week and since then things have been very busy at Jamieson & Smith, of course our usual day to day is busy as we have lots of customers coming into the shop.. Wool is readily bought all year round in Shetland but in the Autumn and Winter even more so! Of course things are busy on the online shop as we gear up to Christmas time! Knitters can be quite tricky to buy for (speaking from experience) but one thing that cant be beat is a good book. Tying in nicely to this is the fact that over the past couple of months some great knitting books have come out written by some of our lovely knitterly friends, all using J&S yarns !

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YOKES by Kate Davies

I thought I’d begin with the most recent, so recent in fact we haven’t got our copies in stock yet but soon we will and until then you can buy the book from Kate’s online shop here. This book follows the story and cultural variations in the classic Yoke patterning in knitwear and is followed by 11 beautiful patterns, a number of which are made from J&S – including the yoke on the cover!

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This book is a MUST for anyone interested in stranded knitting, although Yokes also includes patterns using beading and cabling. Kate’s knowledge on knitting shines through and makes this the perfect gift.

IMG_4146The Shetland Trader: Book Two by Gudrun Johnston

Next up is the newest publication from American based, Shetland born designer Gudrun Johnston. This book was launched in Shetland at Shetland Wool Week, and we sold out in one night! So luckily we have the books back in stock again.

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I (Ella) may be biased as I am one of the models in the book but the landscape and imagery is all very inspiring, and there are 9 patterns to choose from. From hats,scarves to sweaters and cardigans, there is something for everyone. Available from us here 

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Unst Heritage Lace by the Unst Heritage Centre

This is a smaller book, but would make a great stocking filler for the Lace knitter! Unst is famous for its fine lace knitting techniques and this year the Unst Heritage Centre have launched this book with some patterns and history about its strong heritage.

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This book makes a great edition to the shelves of anyone interested in Shetland Lace knitting. The fact its written and put together by the Unst Heritage Centre makes it all the more interesting. Available from us here

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The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford

You will have seen some of our posts following the progress and completion of Felicity’s brilliant book on designing your own colourwork on the blog (see here and here) but this book makes a brilliant gift for someone who is experienced in stranded knitting but ready to take it to the next level!

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Felicity guides you through all the stages of designing your own colour work motifs,charts and projects. We have copies for sale in the shop but if your not in Shetland you can buy the book from Felicity here

I thought i’d finish this post with a couple of lovely Japanese books we have received recently. We send a huge amount of yarn to Japan and their books are truly some of the most beautiful around.

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Shetland Lace by Toshiyuki Shimada

Toshi is an amazing Japanese knitwear designer, we have worked with him for years and this new book on Shetland Lace is absolutely beautiful. The patterns, photography and layout is so inspiring

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the sense of style and remaking of traditional motifs in a contemporary way (like the cockleshell seen above in a hooded wrap) makes this a great gift for anyone interested in Shetland lace. The book is in Japanese and all the patterns are charted but I have found this great helpful sheet for knitting Japanese patterns. You can buy this book here

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Mariko’s Knitting Tour by Mariko Mikuni

We met Mariko early this year when she visited us for this book, we recently received it and it is a lovely little book, full of pictures from Mariko’s tour of the UK.

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Again this book is all in Japanese but the layout and pictures makes it an inspiring read. She visited Shetland, Fair Isle, Edinburgh and Mainland Scotland (She included a visit to Kate Davies too) and many more

IMG_4142The book contains a number of patterns also, and it can be purchased here

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to find all these books under your tree this Christmas?

Happy Knitting!