Hooray! The Book of Haps has arrived! Our good friend Kate Davies has done it again and her latest book has just landed at J&S, ever since we heard about this book we have been so excited to see it and the patterns don’t disappoint!
As always the essays are well researched and full of wonderful photos, Kate goes into depth about all aspects of a Hap, what it means, what it represents and its historical importance to places like Shetland. We are so happy that three of the beautiful designs have been made in our yarns..
We love how all the patterns are so different but all encompass the elements of a Hap updated with design features like lace, intarsia, steeks.. and many more. Each design has something new and different to learn which is well explained. Kate has worked closely with Technical Editor Jen Arnall Culliford and all the patterns are detailed and clear with lots of extra tips..
You can order your copy here and see more information about each pattern here. There are lots of fun ways to get involved with this new book: Jen Arnall Culliford is hosting a Knit-a-Long in her Ravelry group for the book which you can see here and Louise Scollay of Knit British is also hosting one which you can see here.
Hello! we are back with another post in the yarn series, this time it is the turn of Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight – a totally undyed and natural 4ply Weight Yarn. This yarn is perhaps best known in recent years for its use in the designs by Kate Davies, however we have been singing the praises of this natural woollen spun yarn for many years.
Supreme Jumper Weight comes in a range of 9 completely undyed shades, ranging from Natural White (Shade 2001) to Yuglet (Shade 2009) The other shades are either as they are on the sheep or carefully blended from the natural wool to create a well-rounded palette.
Historically Coloured Shetland Wool was used by knitters in Fair Isle patterning and Lace knitting like Haps before the dyed wool was available. As time went on however the Coloured wool lost its value and it became almost worthless because white fleece was easy to dye and much more uniform in texture. Up until around 1997 almost all Shetland Yarns in ‘natural’ shades were dyed to create these tones, the reason being the dye house could make it a set shade each time. This differs from our supreme range in that each batch, for example Shetland Black (shade 2005) will not be the same each time as all sheep are not the same shade. So if you plan to use this yarn its best to get all the yarn at one time, it may be quite different in the next lot!
Another reason most of the mills have to dye or ‘add a touch of dye’ is that we at Jamieson & Smith buy roughly 80% of the entire Shetland wool clip , the majority of which is white with only a limited amount of natural coloured which we use for these our 9 shades. We need a substantial amount of natural coloured fleece in order to produce all the shades in the palette. This means we have to do a lot of hand sorting to separate the various fibre qualities and of course shades which can be found in one fleece. For more information about the Natural Wool and the Sorting process see our earlier posts here and here.
In 1997 we began a journey to further and strengthen the value of the coloured fleece. This came about as a joint venture between Jamieson & Smith and Yarns International, a now sadly closed down business in Maryland in the USA. Betty Lindsay, a partner in the company visited J&S and was saddened when we told her that the coloured wool had little to no value. Betty vowed to do something and true to her word we set up the totally dye free range which was named Shetland 2000. She employed Ron Schweitzer to design a range of patterns using the yarns, you can see some of his designs on his Ravelry designer page here. Since then lots of desingers have found how well all the natural colours blend together, you can subtely blend them or do some quite striking patterns.
At the beginning of the post I mentioned Kate’s Sheep designs, the Sheepheid and Rams and Yowes blanket. Both these patterns are extremely popular and use all 9 shades to maximum effect, they both feature motifs of Sheep and Rams which is obviously reflected in the yarns.
You can order kits for these patterns here on our online shop
Hopefully this post has helped you understand the work that goes into the Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight range. There a a number of crofters and farmers in Shetland who are very comitted to the coloured Shetland Sheep and we couldnt do this range without them! The coloured Shetland Wool would have been at a time one of the only ways to get different shades into your knitting, now we are extremly lucky to have so much different colours that we can use. Sometimes you cant go wrong using what nature provides us.
til next time, Happy Knitting!
PS. we are now on instagram! search thewoolbrokers to follow us.
Kate Davies’ Sixareen Kep and Sixareen Cape are now available on our online shop as kits! The patterns arrived this morning so we couldn’t wait to get them online. They’re the first patterns that Kate has designed in our Shetland Heritage range, which makes us even more excited about them. As with all Kate’s designs they have been very popular so far judging by the distinctive yarn combinations we have been posting out from J&S.
These two new kits add to a number of Kate’s other patterns that she has designed to suit the specific character – the unique softness, bounce and ‘halo’ – of our Real Shetland Wool yarns: the BMC in our 2ply Jumper Weight; the Sheep Heid, Rams & Yowes Blanket, Sheep Carousel and Toby’s Coat in our Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight; and the Warriston in our Shetland Aran; and that is even before we mention those designs in her book Colours of Shetland. Also to make it easier to find all these beautiful designs in one place we have added a Kate Davies section to the kits part of the online shop. I’m sure there will be more to come in the future!
You can find the Sixareen Kep here and the Sixareen Cape here on our online shop.
You can also find out more on Kate’s Blog about the Kep here and Cape here where you also get to see beautiful photography such as this. Amazing!
As some of you may have noticed Shetland has featured quite prominently in the media recently. First came the ‘Shetland Ponies in Cardigans‘ which made two locals the faces of Visit Scotland’s ‘Year of Natural Scotland’; then the Dance Pony Dance advert filmed up at Eshaness with ponies from Burra went a bit mad last week; and over the weekend our beautiful islands have featured not once but twice on the BBC with a little snippet of island life shown in ‘The Great British Winter’ on BBC2 on Saturday and finally the long anticipated ‘Shetland’ mini-series on BBC1 last night (Sunday).
‘Shetland’ is a 2-part murder-mystery drama based on Ann Cleeves’ novel ‘Red Bones’ and heavily features Shetland’s beautiful landscapes, culture (somewhat skewed for dramatic licence) and knitwear. We were quite excited to spot a few familiar pieces cropping up throughout it, including the Eid Top, Ireland pullover and something that looked remarkably like the Puffin Sweater by Kate Davies, but knitted in natural, undyed Shetland colours. Though it wasn’t the Puffin Sweater it was beautiful and gave us great ideas for producing one in our Supreme Jumper Weight… If you recognised any other pieces we would be love to hear about them from you! Also look out for more on the second part of the series shown at 9pm tonight.
One piece that featured prominently was the Peerie Flooers hat by Kate Davies. If you fancy making your own one Kate recommended shades from us that you could use, creating one that is truly Shetland made from Real Shetland Wool! You can purchase the pattern from Kate here and the shades she recommended are 202 and 14 for the background, and 29, 65, 131, 93, and 91 for the contrast colours.
Carrying on with the theme of natural colours from yesterdays post we have a new kit to show you today.
Last year Sandra knitted her peerie dog Toby a coat to keep him warm, She used the motif’s from the Rams and Yowes blanket. When Kate saw the coat on her one of her visits to Shetland last year, they chose to release it as a joint pattern between them, A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing is the result!
A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing (Tobys coat) uses all nine shades of Shetland Supreme 2ply Jumper Weight and includes the essential pattern features of the Rams and Yowes by Kate Davies.
This coat is made from the tail upwards, casting on stitches for the belly and using contrast yarn to create and ‘afterthought’ front leg openings to be made later. The body is worked back and forth in stocking stitch. The neck is shaped by decreasing, and a ribbed edging is added all around the sides.
if your peerie dog could use a coat just like Tobys you can buy the kit here and if you already have the wool you can download the pattern from Kate here
Christmas time has arrived at J&S so we have been happily decorating the shop in between serving customers and packaging up & sending off hundreds of little woolly parcels. Our new kit samples look so Christmassy that they are taking pride of place displayed opposite the Christmas tree. My mam has already finished the Annie Jumper for my baby nephew (with a few alterations, as knitters can do, to fit the little fellow) and is now moving on to the Peerie Bairns Jumper for my neice, so that’s some of their presents nearly finished!
We also have three new kits on-line to add a little bit more celebration to the occasion. The Fair Isle Cap, like the Fair Isle V-necked Jumper, is from the textile collection in the Shetland Museum and Archives and is made from our Shetland Heritage yarn. It is thought the original came from Fair Isle itself and would have been a fisherman’s cap made from local wool, hand spun and dyed. It has a plain lining made from the Peat Heritage Yarn and so it is doubly warm, keeping your head cosy and snug over a cold winter. It is also soft and beautiful and definitely something to treasure.
The second new kit is the Karelides Cardigan by Outi Kater, a beautiful, Finland-inspired Fair Isle cardigan which makes excellent use of the natural shades of Shetland Wool. Its design reflects the beautiful, subtle nature of this undyed Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight yarn.
Kate Davies’ Warriston is now available from us not just as a bundle of yarn but complete with beautiful pattern from Kate herself. It is a raglan smock knitted in Shetland Aran with inset pockets, cowl neck, and raglan shaping, perfect for this cold winter weather. This is just one of Kate’s stunning designs in our yarn and we hope they keep on coming as she is great to work with.
The Heritage Yarn, with its beautiful warm shades that fit so well into our shop’s Christmas decorations, has been a huge hit with knitters so far so we are planning on expanding the range of this worsted yarn. It would be great to hear all of your opinions on this and what colours you would like to see, including those discontinued shades of ours that you long to make a comeback. You can leave a message on here regarding this or email email@example.com with your thoughts. We would really appreciate your input.
We will be closing on Friday 21st December and won’t open again until Monday 7th January so any orders received during this time won’t be sent out until next year. But when we get back we will get them out to you as soon as possible.