Dark Fawn Shetland Heritage

Hello everyone, we have been having some lovely weather in Shetland the past couple of weeks. Not quite the heatwave which the rest of the UK has been having but we are used to that!

You will know that we are lucky to have a number of yarn ranges which use the Coloured Shetland Wool – from the Combed Tops to Shetland Supreme 1 and 2 ply Lace, Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight and our most recent yarn – Shetland Heritage Naturals which we launched in 2016.

The tricky part about working with Natural shades is that of course they are different every time depending on the amount and colours of a Shade we take in the Woolstore. I thought the below picture sums it up quite well – I found this fleece in the woolstore and you can see the 4 different colours which are all found in it!

l-r: light grey, grey, dark fawn and fawn

We try to keep the shades as similar as we can but Nature is as Nature does so they can be quite different so for a limited time we are welcoming Dark Fawn into the Heritage Naturals range – it bridges the gap between Fawn and Moorit so well we have decided to get it on ball as well as on cone. It also has a grey undertone so works well with the grey shades too – the coloured Shetland Wool is so precious we couldn’t let this colour go to waste!

You can see here it alongside Fawn and together with the other shades:

This means they are more blending possibilities within the Shetland Heritage Naturals range and we cant wait to see what people do with it! The possibilities for lace and fair isle are endless when you add it in with our Dyed Heritage range…

You can find it on our website here

Happy Knitting!

 

Shetland College Vision 18

On Saturday after closing the shop I headed to the Shetland College to see this years end of year show titled Vision 18. This was a display of all the Textile and Fine Art students work over this year and as always it was an inspiring visit! As well as the Degree courses they also offer Vocational Pathway courses to students at high school and Eric Gray classes to students with disabilities and life long conditions. This makes for a very wide ranging and varied display.

We are big supporters of the College, two of us who work at J&S (Ella and Kharis) both studied textiles there and we have projects with them most years, so I thought I’d share some pictures of the displays.

This years project we were involved in was with some of the fine art students to create an artwork which could be used to promote J&S, you might have seen our picture on Instagram of one of the students work – which was the portrait of Oliver you can see below

There were two students graduating from the Contemporary Textiles BA Hons Degree so their work was in a room on its own, Rhea Kay (the first two pictures) and Megan Smith’s (the last two pictures) work was very different but its was so interesting how they were both inspired by growing up in Shetland and how this has inspired their final collections.

I think you can agree the quality and quantity of talented people in Shetland is quite amazing considering our small population. If you want more information about studying at Shetland College see the website here and you can follow the Textile department on instagram here

Shetland and Shetland Type

Hello everyone, today we are going to touch on something which comes up every now and again – the issue and differences between Shetland and Shetland Type wool. Sometimes it can be quite confusing but this post is just to alert you to the fact some yarns you see called ‘Shetland’ may be that in name only.

According to the British Trading Standards, the current usage of the word Shetland in Wool is: ‘A yarn spun on the Woollen system of 100% Virgin Wool.. such yarn being capable of imparting to a fabric the qualities of crispness and/or smoothness and soft handling attributed to the products formerly made exclusively from the Shetland breed of Sheep’  This is interesting as it shows you that a yarn could be named ‘Shetland’ but not include much or any Shetland Wool, but by imitating the spinning style or feel of whats attributed to Shetland Wool you can give it that name regardless of where the wool comes from or the breed used. Another point in the trading standards information is this: ‘where the term is qualified by the adjectives ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or any similar description, or quantified by the terms ‘100%’ or ‘all’, this implies the wool actually originated in Shetland.’ You will see we always talk about our wool as Real Shetland Wool, or 100% Shetland Wool etc – this is us working on this basis – to show you the wool originated here in the Shetland Islands from Shetland Sheep!

We know for a fact that there are many more products out there called Shetland than there is wool available. We annually take in over 260,000 kilos of local wool from the Shetland Islands (which equals well over 80% of the Wool clip) and what doesn’t come back to us in yarn and finished product is sold on through our parent company Curtis Wool Direct for many other wool products. There are of course other Shetland Wool producers and ones on the mainland but you will find in their description of the yarns they will explain this – the ones which should ring alarms bells are those who have ‘Shetland’ in the name of the yarn range but no other mention of Shetland or Shetland Sheep in the description.

We have a very interesting piece of text in our archives which comes from Alistair MacDonald who was a long-term staff member at Hunters of Brora, where we used to have our yarns spun before they went out of business in the early 2000’s. The folder contains Alistair’s findings and remarks on lots of different aspects of the yarn and knitwear industry and he has some interesting comments on the Shetland/Shetland Type argument, some of which we noted in our book: ‘When I think of the Shetland yarn on offer I am reminded of the bizarre situation with Cheddar Cheese.. the name Cheddar now describes a type of cheese not a cheese from the Cheddar Valley. Just as cheddar is now ubiquitous to the super market so now Shetland is ubiquitous in the textile market place.’

Our aim with this post is to highlight that ‘Shetland Type’ yarns are appropriating the reputation that Shetland Wool has earned over hundreds of years through our climate, culture, history and sheep. We are rightly extremely proud of our wool and if this is something which is important to you also, we urge you to ask questions about the origins of the Shetland Wool you are buying.

Happy knitting!

All photos on this post have been taken by us either in the Woolstore at J&S or at local Agricultural Shows and the top image was taken at one of our crofters farms in Bressay.

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 🙂

New Colours KAL 2018

Hello everyone! things have been very busy here over January as we get back into the way of things but today we announce our KAL for the next few months – the New Colours Kal!

from left to right: 90, 16, FC21, 32 and 1282

We are constantly updating and changing the colours we have in 2ply Jumper Weight and we are lucky that we have a huge back catalogue of shades which if we need to we can take from and bring back. In recent years we did that with FC11 and FC7 which has really added to the palette and although this means saying goodbye to some shades its proof that it doesn’t always mean forever!

This KAL is a bit different than others we’ve done before in that you can use as many shades of 2ply Jumper Weight as you want but you must use at least 3 of the new shades. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun! As in the Fire Festival Kal at the end we will have a public vote so its always worth putting something in – you might win!

So the KAL: what we want you to do is –

  • Knit a garment or accessory using J&S 2ply jumper weight only.
  • at least 3 shades must be from our newly brought back colours: 90, 16, FC21, 32 and 1282.
  • As many other shades can be used as you want.
  • the item must use Fair Isle knitting/ stranded colourwork.

That’s it! The KAL begins on February the 2nd and runs until until the 2nd of May.

Now the new/old colours:

16 is a lovely bright blue

32 is a bright bronze

90 is a peachy orange

FC21 is a lovely marled lavender

And 1282 is a marled mid green.

All the new colours are now on the online shop and if you would like to take part there will be chat and discussion in our Ravelry group, if you share any progress photos on instagram use the #nckal

We’ll be back with some colour combo inspirations soon but until then happy knitting and planning!

Shetland Wool Week 2017 at J&S

Hello everyone! thank you for your response to our last post, we are so pleased with how many of you are picking up the book, the digital PDF version is now online too.

Today i’m back with some photos from Shetland Wool Week, every year that it gets bigger I get less photos but I still got a good selection from what was happening in the shop.. We had classes every weekday alongside some free drop in events and it worked really well. We always have an excellent response to Hazels Fair Isle class..

Fair Isle with Hazel Tindall
knitting, cutting and steek relief!

And Felicity Ford was back again with her inspirational Mitts-a-long, this year everyone left with a full 8 balls of Jumper weight to finish their project started in the class inspired by a group of photos and a colour palette picked by Felix

Mittsalong Class with Felicity Ford (and a fetching neepheid!)
more nice knitwear in Felix’s’ class – a Cruden and Laebrack

We tried to fight the losing battle of keeping shelves filled up (if anyone can do it, its Sandra!) And we had more classes like Drop Spindling..

Drop Spindling with Deborah Gray

And a great evening event which was a trunk show for Jen and Jim Arnal Cullifords new book – A Year of Techniques which features a couple of projects in J&S yarns. It was great to see them again and celebrate the new book!

A Year of Techniques Trunk Show

We loved this hat which features the motif’s from the Baable Hat, Crofthoose and Bousta Beanie!

Felicity and Sandra say cheers to J&S!

We also had a launch event for our new book, and had all the designs on display. It was so good to finally have all the projects out and the book available. yippee!

Friday Morning was a bit quieter which was good as we had a lace class with Elizabeth Johnston, something which needs a bit of concentration I reckon!

Shetland Lace with Elizabeth Johnston
Felicity’s amazing wedding bunting!

Oliver’s last tour of Wool Week

But Friday afternoon was so busy! We had Oliver’s last tour of the week and a trunk show for Felicity’s next book, and everyone seemed to come for a look.. I don’t know how I had time to get the above pictures!

The Hub

After work on Friday I crawled to the museum to visit the Hub and admire the knitwear on display and the merchandise, I love the sweatshirts! (I bought one, of course!)

On Saturday Me, Kharis and Sandra were at the shop but i nipped over to Gremista farm where we were holding an event together with Eric at the farm and Vispring. Unfortuantely the Flock Book event fell outside Wool Week so we decided to have an event with sheep, food and farmers which went down really well and we are already thinking about how to make next year better!

Aah, all in all another successful Wool Week. There is such an amazing range of events on all week and this is just a small slice of what happened at J&S, happy knitting!

Walls Show 2017

Hello everyone, happy Friday! I’m back with the final installment of our trips to the Shows – this time the Walls Show – there are others which we wont make it to but these are the three which have the Colourbox in it so we always go! Last Saturday was not too bad a day weatherwise, there were a couple of showers while we were there (you can see some offending clouds above!) so me and Sandra had a fine drive out to Waas.

Me and Sandra judged the Colourbox and the most of the knitwear at the show, this is only the second year we have done the Colourbox at Waas so it is still small but growing so we were pleased to see the entries, there was a good amount of entries in the other knitting so we had our work cut out for us.

There were lots of amazing Fair Isle and Lace to be seen..

Again once we had done our judging thing we went for a look around at all the animals and other entries..

This was a very friendly kitten in the pets section..i think Sandra would have taken it home if she could!

And then we also made friends with the Goats (there is another version of this photo in the Shetland Times today – just know I set it up and the photographer swooped in!!)

I really enjoying going to the different shows and seeing whats similar but also different about them all. We were quite lucky with the weather this year but for our judging we are always inside so its fine for us! I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from the shows, we have already chosen the colours for next years Colourbox and people have been buying them already so it bodes well for next years entries. Happy Knitting!

PS>> Have you started your Bousta Beanie yet? We are 5 days in our KAL and lots are on the needles on Ravelry already!