Fire Festival KAL Winners

Hello everyone, so last week I asked you to vote on your favourites for the winners of the Fire Festival KAL and you didn’t disappoint, 736 of you voted in the two category’s and the winners were:

So congratulations DottyBev and Hedwychs, I have contacted you by Ravelry message, they have both won a gift voucher to spend at J&S, thank you again to everyone who took part – we have really enjoyed seeing the different ways people put the colours together!

We will be having a little break but we were thinking to have a KAL for the Shetland Wool Week pattern – the Bousta Beanie – probably beginning in June so keep an eye out for that.

Happy knitting!

Outi Kits

Hello and happy Monday! here at J&S we love to support local designers and we’ve just got in a delivery of some new to us patterns from Outi Kater, Outi is originally from Finland but has lived in Shetland for over 10 years, she takes her inspirations from her Nordic upbringing but is also inspired by Shetland and we think her patterns make a perfect blend of those two inspirations. I don’t know about where you are in the world but in Shetland things are still a bit chilly so these patterns are calling out to me!

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Arhippa Mittens
Finnish Midwinter Ski Hat
Finnish Midwinter Ski Hat
Thrift Hat
Thrift Hat
Sandsound Sweater
Sandsound Sweater
Thrift Gloves
Thrift Gloves
Xylitol Mittens
Xylitol Mittens
Finnish Midwinter Mittens
Finnish Midwinter Mittens

Outi is extremely good at putting complex colour combinations together but her graphic 2 colour designs are equally as successful as you can see from the pictures above. We have received 7 new patterns printed by Outi, and if you order a kit it will include a copy of the printed pattern and all the yarn to knit your chosen design. You can see more of Outi’s designs on her Ravelry page and you can see all her designs which we offer as a kit here which includes her two kits we already sold.

Happy Knitting!

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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Annes Sheelagh Shawl

A few weeks ago I spotted on Ravelry a beautiful version of the Sheelagh Shawl, knit by Anne for her wedding. It sparked a memory in me of an email inquiring about receiving the kit in the Shetland Supreme Yarn, we get (of course) lots of emails every day but its always so nice to see a finished item you helped someone get the yarn for. The Sheelagh is a classic Gladys Amedro pattern which begins with the border before picking up stitches (in this case 960 of them!) and knitting it in towards the middle decreasing as you go.

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I asked Anne if I could share some photos of her beautiful shawl from her wedding to her Husband Johannes and she gracefully agreed as well as telling me a bit about her knitting of the Shawl:

‘I have been a ravelry member since 2011, for the last 2 or 3 years I am online almost every day, browsing patterns, putting them into my favourites, queue, etc. … I don’t remember when, but I came across the Princess shawl from Sharon Miller. I think I discovered the Jamieson & Smith yarns there in the projects (or maybe also through admiring fair isle knitting, which came up around the same time 😉 ).

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When my now-husband asked if I’d like to be his wife last year in October, I knew I would like to have a shawl to wear on my wedding. In fact I knew this already before and was admiring all the nice lace shawls on ravelry,  I started a meant-to-be wedding shawl in a nice off-white Tussah silk from my LYS. I was already done when I realised, this would be way too heavy to wear on a summer wedding. I somehow was afraid of this fact already before, but just did not listen to my inner voice. I still was browsing patterns and yarn shops online almost every day, also the J & S page. I found the Sheelagh shawl kit there and fell in love. It was just the right thing. Not too simple, yet not super complicated (I would also have liked to knit the Princess shawl, but this was out of question at this time point, but I will do it someday…).

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It was already April and I am a slow knitter. By far I wasn’t sure, if I could ever complete this until end of august. The pattern called for the 1 ply cobweb lace yarn, but there wasn’t an off white available (I already bought my dress which is ivory), so I asked at J&S, if I could also get the kit but replace the yarn with the 1 ply supreme lace. Off course this was possible!

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The yarn arrived middle of April and I started knitting madly. I literally used every free minute I could get: before I went to work, at work I could only think of when I get home to knit, knitted every weekend. In May I was off sick for a week, I knitted all the day! In the middle of June I finished the last stitch. One day more, it would have been 3 month… In this time I changed my mind constantly from ‘Oh gosh, I will never finish this in time’ to ‘Seems to be manageable, right?!’ and back. But I still could finish the other silk shawl, right? Just parts of the borders were missing. And then not wear it, because it’s just too hot… At least I had a plan B.

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I ordered some blocking wires in the US and again was afraid, they would not get here in time. They came, and the shawl blocked from 87 cm to 127 cm each side. I sat next to our guest bed, where it was pinned on, knitting another project and proudly patting the shawl every now and then. I took it to the bridal shop, when I tried my dress to get it fitted and put it on my shoulders there to see if it fits. It was just perfect!

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The wedding took place on August 27th, it was 30 °C and super sunny. I wore the shawl during the ceremony, the champagne reception and our first photo shoot in the park next to the castle where the ceremony was. I was glad to have the Sheelagh shawl instead off the other heavier one. It did not add any heat in the afternoon as it is super light and late in the night when we spend some time outside with the last guests it kept my shoulders warm. I still admire my shawl every now and then and I think I will wear it again in the winter, because in my opinion it should be used and not sit on a shelf waiting for the next wedding in our family, which might be still years away…’

Thank you Anne for sharing with us the beautiful pictures of your lovely shawl! You can see more pictures of the knitting process on here ravelry project page here. Many people see these types of Shawls as strictly for a Christening but I think this shows you can make it look very classic yet modern as a Wedding shawl.

Seeing this has got me going to sort out the Sheelagh Shawl page on the website and you can now order the kit in cobweb but also in all six of the 1ply Shetland Supreme shades here. Happy Knitting!