Woolfest 2018

photo from woolfest.co.uk

Hello everyone! we hope your enjoying your Monday, just a quick post today to remind you about Woolfest! we have had lots of lovely weather the past couple of weeks here in Shetland but we have started organising all the lovely Shetland Wool we will be taking down with us to Cockermouth.

Ella and Kharis on our stall last year

We will of course have all our ranges of yarn – from 1ply up to Chunky including the full palette of 2ply Jumper Weight and a small selection of kits for things like the Merrie Dancers Toorie. If there is anything in particular you think we should take with us please leave it in the comments below and we will try to make room in the van.

So you can find us on stall J210 and J211, for more information about the event have a look at the show website here

We had a great time last year so we are looking forward to our trip again and seeing lots of you in Cumbria in a couple of weeks!

NKCAL 2018 Winners!

hello everyone! its time to share the winners of the NCKAL, there were nearly 600 votes so thank you to everyone that took the time to vote for their favourite. It was all very close in the results but..

The winner in the Garment Category is Alix:

And the winner in the Accessory Category is Eva:

So Congratulations Alix and Eva, I will be in touch by Ravelry message about your prize, thank you to all that took part and either entered or voted. We will think up another Knit A Long soon!

Happy Knitting x

New Colours KAL 2018 – the entries

Hello everyone!

We are back today with the final items made for the New Colours KAL, there is a good mix or garments and accessories. The rules for the KAL was the item had to use at least 3 of our newly brought back colours of 2ply Jumper Weight (16, 32, 90, 1282 and FC21) along with as many other shades of Jumper Weight you wanted. If you want to see more pictures please click on the link on each picture – that will take you to the ravelry project page.

We have spilt the poll into garments and accessories so once you’ve had a look over please vote for your favourite!

Garments

Wild Flowers by Auchnagaoith
Yoke 2 by MaureeninFargo
NCKal Clover Cape by Rubyshasha
Man Vest by bessie4dogs
Never Smile at a Crocodile by Alix Pearson

Accessories

Merrie Dancers Toorie by Fabclaire
New Colours KAL 2018 by Anniejay
Babyblanket by Eval8
Decennium by ginny8
Color Challange by Jelibet
J&S New Colors KAL by HootersHall
Never Smile at a Crocodile Hat by AlixPearson

The polls will close Next Wednesday 16th May and we will announce the winners and contact them to send a prize, Thank you to everyone who took part, we love doing our colour themed knit-a-longs and we are glad you do too.

Happy Knitting!

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 🙂

Oliver’s Ewan Sweater

Hello everyone! Just a quick post today to show you the jumper Sandra has made for Oliver using our Croft – Shetland Tweed yarn which we launched last year together with West Yorkshire Spinners..

Sandra made Ollie the Ewan Sweater from the Croft – Shetland Tweed pattern book, it contains 14 designs by Sarah Hatton all to be made using the Croft Yarn. The Ewan Sweater is one of two patterns for Mens jumpers in the book and there is a nice selection of other jumpers and cardigans for Women as well as some accessories. Oliver decided on the Boddam colourway for his jumper and I think it looks great!

Sometimes with a very flecked or speckled yarn its hard to imagine how the wool will knit up but this shows how the speckles really work well with the texture and cables in the pattern. Sandra likes to knit in the round as much as she can but she chose to follow the pattern and knit Oliver’s jumper in pieces, the Croft yarn has a good drape and can grow a bit when its washed so a big project like this is best worked in pieces for stabilitly.

I think Oliver is pleased with his Jumper!

You can see the Croft Shetland Tweed yarn on our website here and the pattern book here, you can also see more of the patterns in the book here. I would suggest looking through the projects made with the yarn on Ravelry too, there are some great ones!

Happy Knitting!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018

Hello everyone, happy Friday! Just a peerie post today reminding you that we will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival next weekend, the marketplace takes place on the 15th-17th and is located at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. We have been busy organising all our stuff to bring and we will be heading on the boat on Monday night.

Of course we will have our entire range of 2ply Jumper Weight, as well as a selection of all our other ranges from cobweb up to chunky. We are also taking lots of books, knitting belts, patterns etc etc.. basically everything a lover of Shetland Wool would need!

We will have samples of all the projects from Jamieson & Smith: A Shetland Story which we released at Wool Week last year so this is the perfect time to see the samples and choose your project. If there is something we don’t have with us at the show we can take orders there and we will post it to you for free when we get back to Shetland.

Also EYF is where this years Shetland Wool Week patron and pattern will be announced so once you have picked up your pattern you can come over to us and pick up your yarn! I (Ella) have been to EYF the past two years but this is our first time exhibiting so me and Kharis are really looking forward to it, so if you are going come and see us at stand K8 (you can download a map here) So wish us a calm sailing on the boat on Monday night and we will see any of you who are coming in Edinburgh!

Happy knitting 🙂