Hello everyone, happy Friday! It’s hard to believe that Shetland Wool Week 2019 ended over a month ago, we had such a busy time but the dust has settled so we thought we’d share some pictures from throughout the week:
Lots of great memories and friends made as always, for more information about Shetland Wool Week see here, it will soon be here again, Happy Knitting!
photos: Adam Curtis, Ella Gordon and one from Sara Granqvist (thanks Sara!)
During Wool Week there are many things happening all over the UK, of course we will be busy with Shetland Wool Week but in London the Campaign for Wool will be hosting their Wool Ride!
from the Campaign for Wool website: Starting and finishing at Potters Fields on Sunday 5th October, the bicycle ride will journey through some of the streets made famous by London’s most prominent wool supporters, including the archetypal Jermyn Street. Participants will also be able to take in some of London’s key sights and hotspots, passing through iconic scenery such as; London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Knightsbridge, Park Lane and Regent Street. Commencing at 9am and running through till 2pm, this 13.4 mile ride, estimated to take around 1 hour 38 minutes, takes riders along a meandering route with time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sights of the capital at a leisurely pace.
in celebration of the Wool Ride, Sandra has designed two free patterns which you can download and make yourself. The Rastoorie and the Bikers Hat. Both are designed to fit over a cycling helmet but of course if you use smaller needles or block the hat over a smaller plate (Sandra used a large dinner plate) it will fit a lot less slouchy. Although if you like that look, go for it!
The Rastoorie uses lots of small amounts of Jumper Weight so its great for using up odds and ends and the bikers hat features a fun bike motif ‘cycling’ around the hat!
for more information and to download the free patterns, click here
Its been a very busy summer at J&S so we haven’t had much time to blog, but with visits from Kate Davies, Deb Robson, Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnson thankfully they have blogged about visiting us! of course the usual tourist season filled with cruise ships and holiday goers has meant for a busy shop.
We are now beginning to get organised for Wool Week, and we cant wait!
Sandra has arrived back to J&S safe and sound after her busy little trip to Wool House over the past weekend. Not only did she get to look around the fantastic woolly exhibition but she was also a star attraction herself, giving Masterclasses on Fair Isle and Shetland Lace knitting which proved to be extremely popular with even more participants than we were expecting!
Sandra had made up a little exercise for each class that the participating knitters could try out, some attempting Fair Isle and Shetland Lace for the first time. She was really impressed by how quickly everyone got into it and really enjoyed both classes. Judging by the comments we have had back the participants very much enjoyed it as well. Some have sent photos of their finished articles which we love! It is great to hear that everyone enjoyed their day out.
Another little treat for those who attended the classes was a sneak preview of some new patterns designed by Sandra that we are working on. They seemed to go down really well, particularly a lovely yoke cardigan in sage green, so we can’t wait to get them out to you soon.
Tom of Holland, who many of you may know, also popped along to the class to meet up with Sandra. Tom is a self-taught knitter who prefers to use wool – particularly from British breeds – in his projects and specialises in the mending of garments and promoting this as a more sensible alternative for our throw-away society. We are excited that Tom will be working with us on a few things in the near future as we have shared opinions, many of which are integral to J&S and Shetland knitwear as a whole. You can read more about Tom on his blog here.
Wool House is billed by the Campaign for Wool as ‘the world’s biggest ever celebration of Wool’ where ‘all aspects of our favourite natural fibre will be explored’ and judging by the following images Sandra took as she looked around the exhibition in Somerset House it is quite spectacular. There really is a huge range of applications for this beautiful fibre and we at J&S are lucky to work with the softest and bounciest one of the lot: Real Shetland Wool!
The Campaign for Wool’s Wool House runs until 24th March so you still have a chance to pop along and experience it for yourself if you can. Read more about it here.
J&S are coming to London! Or rather our Sandra is. She will be down for the the Campaign for Wool’s Wool House event taking place in Somerset House from the 13th – 24th March. She will be in the Events Room giving two very special masterclasses: one on Shetland Lace from 2pm till 3.30pm on Saturday 16th; and another on Fair Isle knitting from 10.30am till 12pm on Sunday 17th.
Similar to most extremely talented, yet humble, Shetland knitters Sandra would never class herself as an expert, but having knitted all her life with a great passion for it, she knows more than most. She can whip up a beautifully intricate Shetland Lace shawl in a few days and can create new patterns out of her head almost without thinking so that completely new jumpers, mittens and cushions flow from her needles perfectly formed. She will be giving a sneak-peek of some of these new designs over her weekend at Wool house, so get along for a look if you get the chance. These will be released by us over the coming months so keep an eye out for them.
Wool House is billed by the Campaign for Wool as ‘the world’s biggest ever celebration of Wool’. It is curated by renowned designer Arabella McNie and will be a 12 day showcase of wool, the greatest of all natural fibers, and its abundant range of uses, including crafts, fashion and home-ware. Leading designers will be there to showcase the use of wool in their work and explain how you could make use of this beautiful material yourself. There will also be specially commissioned artworks in place to display its striking beauty. In all, it is sure to be an unmissable event, so make sure to get along to it if you are lucky enough to be around London from 13th – 24th March.
You can find more information about Wool House, including an events calendar, here.
So we’re a month into the wool season, which officially started in June. However, bad weather has meant that it’s only just starting to kick off – until now our crofters and farmers haven’t been able to get their sheep clipped because of wet, cold, windy days. This isn’t terribly unusual, because most folk do only start clipping in July (starting with gimmers – year old lambs – which are usually nearer the house and aren’t busy feeding lambs).
Despite the slow start to the season, we put over 2o tonnes of wool (known at J&S as ‘Load 1’) off to the scourers on Friday afternoon. We’ll then spin this wool into our J&S yarns, or sell it on directly to our partners like Vi-Spring and The Real Shetland Company. This is the earliest that Load 1 has ever gone out in at least the last five years (we’ll need to go and dig in our archived black books to see further back). We’re hoping this means that there are more sheep around, and therefore more wool.
It will be towards the end of the year, when the season is well and truly over and Load 12 (making the total around 240 tonnes) has left us, that we’ll know more about exactly how much wool we’ve taken in. Fingers crossed. Until then, thanks to you all for your continued support of Real Shetland Wool.
Image: Bales of Real Shetland Wool piled to the beams of our wool store on Friday afternoon. Each bale shows weights, grades and identity numbers for traceability of each supplier’s clip.