Can you believe it? Shetland Wool Week 2016 began today!!!
Shelves have been filled and the shops as tidy as it will be for the next week!
We are hoping orders and email disruptions will be kept to a minimum but we might be a bit delayed in getting back to you, just know we are working as hard as we can to keep getting orders out as fast as we can.
This is our busiest week of the year and we love seeing all the people who have come to Shetland for the event. We have classes every day and three tours on so lots to do!
We will be blogging throughout the week so keep an eye out for out posts about Shetland Wool Week at J&S.
Hello! last Saturday dawned a bit damper as me (Ella) and Sandra headed out to Waas for the Walls Show.
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!
As with all shows in Shetland there were plenty of animals to be seen..
and lovely knitwear..
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..
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
Our tour of the Shows continued this week and we headed to Cunningsburgh on Wednesday. It was a lovely day, the only one of the week so it was great to be out!
Again I was judging the Colourbox Competition and Oliver the Wool so we headed to our respective huts to get judging..
After I’d done my bit I went to see how Oliver was getting on with the raw wool
As it was such a nice day we had a good wander round and looked at some of the Sheep..
and I was amazed at the amount of dogs..
Before heading back to the Knitwear to see the finished displays, as always the skill and amount of Knitwear entered was brilliant and it was very hard to judge the Colourbox, I did a few of the other category’s too but the I’m sure the other knitwear judges would agree the standard was very high!
As we had a tour in the afternoon we headed back to town so we didn’t get a look at everything but just like the Voe Show there were Cows, Poultry, Horses, Vegetables.. lots of things to see!
The Walls Show is this weekend so after that Ill have another post to round up the J&S tour of the Country Shows!
On Saturday I (Ella) had the task of heading up to the Voe Show to Judge the Colourbox Competition. We have mentioned it many times before but in case you’re not sure what it is – every year we choose a selection of 8 shades of yarn and people have to use at least 5 of the shades in a Fair Isle garment or accessory. They then enter it into the Voe, Cunningsburgh or for the first time this year the Walls show. There are a number of these shows which go on all over Shetland in the Summer, filled with livestock, animals, vegetables, flowers, baking and our favourite of course – knitting!!
This years shades were 2ply Jumper Weight – 71, 118, 80, fc39, 82, fc22. 9097 and 9144 and as always I was amazed at the finished items! I wish I had got more pictures but I was busy judging and when I came back later the knitwear was full of folk so I couldn’t get near!
Voe always has an excellent amount of entries in the Colourbox and this year was no exception even though I would say the colour’s were a bit trickier than years before – but it is meant to be a challenge and to push people out of their comfort zones.
Apart from the colourbox, there were some amazing examples in the other knitting categories, everything is covered from 1ply lace to yokes and cardigans, mittens, gloves, scarves, machine knit and hand knit. Basically, every kind of Shetland knitting you can imagine!
Oliver was judging the fleece so I had a quick look in the tent to see what he had thought of the entries.
I thought I’d leave off with some more pictures from around the show, if you ever get the chance to come to a Shetland Agricultural show I would definitely take it as it gives you a great overview of Shetland Culture and it’s a great day out!
hello! Today I thought we take a closer look at the new addition to our Heritage Range – Shetland Heritage Naturals! Its only been available for a few weeks but its been flying off the shelves..
When we got our sample cones I (Ella) rushed some home to do some swatches on my machine to see how the yarn would knit up, its spun to the same thickness as our Shetland Heritage but the natural yarns always behave a little bit differently than the dyed ones and I wasn’t disappointed! The yarn smells lovely and sheepy in the ball so the yarn feels a bit thinner until its washed, it fluff’s up and fills the gaps between the stitches beautifully.
The heritage range has a beautiful soft handle thanks to being worsted spun, (see more info here) I knitted it on my machine at tension 9 for a quite drapey fabric but you can knit it with lots of needles sizes to get a different finish. Heritage yarn bridges the gap perfectly between 2ply Lace and 2ply Jumper weight and most resembles the traditional Hap weight yarn we used to produce, its a versatile yarn as it works for lace knitting but also is perfect for colourwork. You can see more about the story of the Shetland Heritage yarn from our yarn series post last year.
Here is a side to side with the yarn and swatch of each of the six shades:
Light Grey (a first in our undyed worsted ranges)
The Shetland Heritage Naturals are available here and cost £3.20 per 25g ball, we will shortly be getting in some cones so keep an eye on the website for that, we are so pleased with our newest yarn and hope you are too! The coloured Shetland Wool was at one time such a unwanted fibre (people used to dump it rather than sell it as it was worth so little) that we are so proud to give it value and we now have a 1ply/2ply lace weight worsted spun, light 4ply worsted spun and a woollen spun 4ply yarn all using this precious fibre. By using it in yarns and products it makes it worthwhile for crofters and farmers to keep coloured Sheep and that’s always a good thing!
A few of you may have heard whisperings over the last few months about something exciting on the way from Jamieson & Smith.
We are so happy to finally let you all in on the secret and launch our Shetland Heritage Naturals…
These undyed shades are an extension to our Shetland Heritage range which is an incredibly smooth and strong worsted spun 100% Real Shetland yarn!
The Shetland Heritage Naturals are a lovely variation to our woollen spun 2ply Jumper Weight for use in Fair Isle or other colourwork. Due to the worsted spinning process they are slightly lighter in weight meaning they are also suitable for lace knitting.
Similar to our Supreme Lace yarns the Heritage Naturals show off beautifully the natural tones of our islands’ native sheep.
25g, 110m/120yds, 2.8nm worsted
Tension: 30 sts and 32 rows = 10cm/4in over Fair Isle pattern using 3mm needles
You can read more about our original Shetland Heritage range here and about the idea behind developing the Heritage yarn here.
You can see it on our online shop here!
a shetland knitter working on a V-bed machine, photo by Tom Kidd
Historically Shetlander’s have always had to have a few things on the go, originally we were crofters and fishermen and this meant there was always quiet times, be it bad weather, dark nights or rough seas you had to find something to do. In the height of Shetland knitwear fame many homes were equipped with large v-bed knitting machines like the one you see in the picture above for people to combine machine and hand knitting and to earn a bit of extra money. Prior to the Oil Boom of the late 1970s/early 1980’s many homes echoed to the sound of the knitting machine.
‘by the mid 1960’s, when the local press reported that knitting was beginning to become more profitable than crofting, many Shetland families were encouraged to purchase Passap or Knitmaster machines specifically to turn out sweater bodies, as well as yokes in their own home’
An excerpt from Kate Davies ‘Yokes’
Working in one of the many Knitwear factories. Photo: Unknown
With the introduction of oil and all its job opportunities and wealth it was no surprise that locals packed away their knitting machines and took advantage of the Oil Boom and all its rewards. The skills of these cottage industries saw a deep decline, luckily there were still people in Shetland who had these skills and we are lucky to be able to work with some of them.
We have designed a range of traditional Yoke cardigans using both our 2 ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Heritage yarns, we have partnered up with a selection of Shetland knitters to help us produce them – The body and sleeves are hand frame knitted for us by a maker in Whalsay, one of the outlying Islands and then we have a number of local knitters who put in the yokes and finish the garments in their own homes.
The continuation of the Shetland Textile industry is always very important to us, that’s why we are ensuring to pay our knitters a good price for doing the work, we understand and appreciate the skills the knitters have and want to pay them rightly for these skills. We have the initial stock available on the website here but we will be adding to it as colours come back from the knitters.
We are very excited about our new range of garments, and we hope you are too! If you don’t fancy buying a ready made yoke the pattern is taken from Sandras’ Hairst Yoke pattern which is available as a kit.