peoples friend shawl

It was back in 1968 the Jamieson & Smith introduced knitting yarns to help add value to the Shetland Island clip, as mentioned in the last post the wool was graded and sorted by hand into its various quality’s before being sent away to be spun into whichever yarn we specified. Nearly 50 years later we still do the same.

PicMonkey Collage

Knitting in Shetland has been one of our main industries throughout the centuries* and we are lucky to have patterns passed down throughout peoples families but for those out with Shetland it was tricky to access these traditional patterns. Sandra Manson who works at J&S has been knitting since she was a child, the skill’s passed down to her from her Granny and Auntie.


Sandra is always on the lookout for vintage patterns and one she has recently reknit in our Shetland Heritage range is a Hap taken from the Traditional Shawls and Scarves book (which we have on our shop here) Some of these vintage patterns need a bit of work so Sandra has made a few changes to hopefully make it easier to knit and you can find the pattern in this weeks edition of The Peoples Friend.


Almost since we started doing yarns in the late 60’s we have had patterns in various magazines, before the days of Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter that was the main way we could reach our customers all over the world and for many people without access to the internet it is still a way for them to hear about Jamieson & Smith Yarns.


If you don’t have access to the Peoples Friend Magazine we will be releasing the kit ourselves in the upcoming months, but for this week it can be found in there. Happy Knitting!

*If you are interested there is a day all about Shetland Knitting being hosted at the Shetland Museum and Archives this Saturday (March 5th 2016) and it can be viewed on-line, for more information see here

wool week friday,saturday and sunday


On Friday we had another class with Felicity, this time the class were working from another set of inspiration pictures and different shades of 2 ply Jumper Weight.



Lots of brilliant swatches again! In the afternoon we had Deborah Gray in doing some drop spindling, we always try and offer at least one spinning class although it is tricky for the space, using the combed tops very quickly everyone was spinning away!




All through the week Oliver was also giving his sorting and grading demonstrations which was busy as always!



On Saturday morning Kharis and Amy held the fort at the shop and I went for a look at the Marts Flock Book sale






I then headed to the Wool Week Hub at Islesburgh Community Centre, where the Makers Market was being held



beautiful pouches by Julia


Traditional knitting by Patricia Doull


Scarves and Snoods by Fraser Knitwear

All through the week the Hub was the base for Wool Week and it worked brilliantly as there was plenty of space for people to sit and knit, spin or whatever!


This map shows all the far flung places people come from to go to Shetland Wool Week, its amazing!

Yesterday to finish off the week we attended the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers Sunday Teas at Tingwall


Sunday Tea’s is Shetland are a classic and they didn’t disappoint! As well as the cakes and fancy’s there was a great display of the Guild Member’s Work




So that wraps up the J&S coverage of Shetland Wool Week 2015, it is a crazy week for us but we always enjoy it and look forward already to next year!

Happy Knitting xx

Wool Week Opening Ceremony


So today saw the opening ceremony of this years Wool Week, it was held in Mareel and there were lots and lots of visitors around!

IMG_3556For something different this year different textile makers and yarn producers all had a table to show off our wares to all the visitors. It worked great and we got to speak to lots of people

IMG_3559It was hard to know what to bring so I just took a selection of the yarns and products we make. It was inspiring to see the other makers too, like Mati Ventrillon

IMG_3564Linda Shearer and Ina Irvine, mother and daughter super knitters from Whalsay

IMG_3566 IMG_3568

And Kathleen Anderson, a beautiful lace knitter


As well as lots of others. Of course like last year there was the fabulous Fair Isle Cake!


and lots of Shwook hats to be seen, the exclusive pattern designed by Hazel Tindall, patron of this years Wool Week

IMG_3574 IMG_3581

Oliver was one of the speakers who opened Wool Week, and as always it was interesting to hear from him the origins of Shetland Wool Week and amazing to see how far it has come!


Cheers to a great Wool Week!!

Sandra’s visit to Wool House

Sandra has arrived back to J&S safe and sound after her busy little trip to Wool House over the past weekend. Not only did she get to look around the fantastic woolly exhibition but she was also a star attraction herself, giving Masterclasses on Fair Isle and Shetland Lace knitting which proved to be extremely popular with even more participants than we were expecting!


One of Sandra's Masterclasses in the Events Room at Wool House

Sandra had made up a little exercise for each class that the participating knitters could try out, some attempting Fair Isle and Shetland Lace for the first time. She was really impressed by how quickly everyone got into it and really enjoyed both classes. Judging by the comments we have had back the participants very much enjoyed it as well. Some have sent photos of their finished articles which we love! It is great to hear that everyone enjoyed their day out.

Imke Himstedt's knitted pouch from the Fair Isle Masterclass

Imke Himstedt’s knitted pouch from the Fair Isle Masterclass

Joanne Clements' knitted pouch from the Fair Isle Masterclass

Joanne Clements’ knitted pouch from the Fair Isle Masterclass

Another little treat for those who attended the classes was a sneak preview of some new patterns designed by Sandra that we are working on. They seemed to go down really well, particularly a lovely yoke cardigan in sage green,  so we can’t wait to get them out to you soon. 

New Pattern Samples

Tom of Holland, who many of you may know, also popped along to the class to meet up with Sandra. Tom is a self-taught knitter who prefers to use wool – particularly from British breeds –  in his projects and specialises in the mending of garments and promoting this as a more sensible alternative for our throw-away society. We are excited that Tom will be working with us on a few things in the near future as we have shared opinions, many of which are integral to J&S and Shetland knitwear as a whole. You can read more about Tom on his blog here.

Tom and Sandra

Wool House is billed by the Campaign for Wool as ‘the world’s biggest ever celebration of Wool’ where ‘all aspects of our favourite natural fibre will be explored’ and judging by the following images Sandra took as she looked around the exhibition in Somerset House it is quite spectacular. There really is a huge range of applications for this beautiful fibre and we  at J&S are lucky to work with the softest and bounciest one of the lot: Real Shetland Wool!

Exhibition 1

Exhibition 2

Exhibition 3

Exhibition 4

Exhibition 5

Exhibition 6

Exhibition 7

Exhibition 8

Exhibition 9

Rooms 1

Rooms 2

Rooms 3

Rooms 4

Rooms 5

Rooms 6

Rooms 7

Rooms 8

The Campaign for Wool’s Wool House runs until 24th March so you still have a chance to pop along and experience it for yourself if you can. Read more about it here.

Campaign for Wool Logo

A Legacy of Shetland Lace

A Legacy of Shetland Lace is a new book released by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers.

A collection of 21 stunning projects designed by members of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. The book contains everything from scarves and stoles, to wraps and lace tops.

As well as the patterns the book has wonderful pictures and explanations of abbreviations, Shetland words to do with knitting, grafting and finishing. Each pattern is supported by a biography of the designer which charts their story with lace and knitting. There are patterns in this book from some of the best lace knitters in Shetland. Hazel Tindall, Mary Kay, Ina Irvine and Kathleen Anderson to name but a few..

The Legacy of Shetland Lace is a modern and contemporary book that encapsulates our lace knitting history in a group of well designed patterns.

photo courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives

Shetland ladies were (and still are) renowned world- wide for their superb knitting skills and their ability to produce designs from their environment and surroundings. Not only did they carry out most of the croft work they also were accomplished hand spinners and would spin a gossamer fine lace yarn which would be knitted into shawls or scarves. These works of art would be sold to the local merchant or knitwear shop and provide much needed income.

All the patterns in the book can be knitted with our Shetland Supreme 1 and 2 ply worsted yarns which come in a range of five natural colours, any patterns calling for 2ply can also use our 2ply Lace Weight Yarn which comes in twenty five shades. There is a lovely pattern by Hazel Tindall which calls for Chunky Shetland wool, in which our Shetland Aran BSS16 would be a perfect match!

We at J & S are proud to say that we have reproduced such a fine yarn as used to produce these unique garments all these years ago. In conjunction with our local museum we attempted to revive the art of Lace knitting which was becoming a thing of the past. Part of our inspiration was taken from reading in the local archives that Queen Victoria had stockings made in Shetland from Shetland wool. The yarn used was a combed worsted yarn and not a carded woollen spun yarn, the worsted spinning produces a smoother finer stronger thread which captures the unique characteristics of Shetland wool, especially the soft handle required to wear next to the skin.

We congratulate the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters,Weavers and Dyers on their superb publication A Legacy of Shetland Lace. Their efforts and skill carries on the distinct culture and heritage of some of the finest knitters in the world.

The book is available here for £23.99

Frankie Morello

This really made me smile. Let’s all stop casting off, and just leave the wires in! Good plan?
On a more serious note, the exaggerated chunkiness and depth of colour in this scarf by Frankie Morello is the perfect example of how simple hand-knits can really hold their own. This piece demands attention, without shouting. 
(I’m thinking… heavy but drapey oversize jumper achieved through multiple (three, maybe four) strands of Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight in Shetland Black.)
Hmmm, nice.
Frankie Morello A/W 2011. Source: Dazed Digital