woollen and worsted

You may notice when looking at our website we have quite a variety of different yarns in much the same weights but available in Worsted and Woollen spun variations. I thought today we’d go through and look at the differences of both and why you may choose one over the other depending on your project.

l-2ply Lace r-Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace

l-2ply Lace r-Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace

In relation to the fibre preparation before spinning – Woollen spun fibre is carded and this means the fibres are still overlapping having been carded back and forth over each other, this creates a very airy fibre which when spun is warm and springy.

Worsted spun however is combed so all the fibres are lying relatively parallel to each other which creates a smoother and stronger yarn, the combing process also removes many of the shorter fibres, one aspect which can be found itchy by the wearer.

our new Shetland Heritage Naturals are Worsted Spun

our new Shetland Heritage Naturals are Worsted Spun

I’ve made this very rudimentary illustration to show what I mean when these two methods are used in a finished yarn: (ignore the similarity to a hairy leg!)

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The image above also illustrates what it is people sometimes find itchy about wool, those fibres poking out are what irritates the skin and this is why worsted spun can be less itchy than woollen, although worsted spun can still have a visible ‘halo’ the location of the fibres are not actually poking out in the same way as woollen spun.

The reason we have similar weights available in both woollen and worsted is because both approach have pro’s and con’s and depending on your intended final finish it is always good to have a choice!

Woollen Spun Worsted Spun Equivalent
1ply Cobweb 1ply Shetland Supreme
2ply Lace 2ply Shetland Supreme
Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight Shetland Heritage Naturals (slightly thinner)
2ply Jumper Weight Shetland Heritage (slightly thinner)
Shetland Aran (discontinued) Shetland Aran Worsted

In relation to the thinner 1ply yarns Woollen Spun has a crisper feel, whereas the Worsted Spun has more drape and softness. In this photo below you can see the 1ply Supreme (worsted) on the left has more of a halo whereas the 1ply Cobweb (woollen) on the right has better stitch definition – it almost feels like cotton although it is 100% wool. For projects using 1ply you need to think what the finished item will be used for – a baby’s christening shawl which wont be used often may benefit from being knitted in the crisper 1ply Cobweb but a stole that will be worn close to the skin and often may be better in Shetland Supreme.1plyThe loftiness in the fibre of Woollen Spun yarn means air is trapped within the yarn making it warm to wear, it also is known all over the world for its use in Fair Isle knitting because of the way the fibres interact with each other. In the below image you can see the effect of the two different spinning processes in Fair Isle, worsted spun on the left and woollen on the right. Both successful and traditional in there own right, its only down to your preference. You can see the Shetland Heritage garment has a sheen and flatness whereas the Supreme Jumper Weight garment has a slightly fuzzy look due to the fibre preparation we mentioned earlier.jwAt the top of this post you can see an image of 2ply Lace and Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace next to each other, the loftiness of the Woollen Spun 2ply is evident to see in the thickness of the yarn and the smoothness of the 2ply Supreme Worsted spun is also clear to see. In finished garments these two aspects can still be seen, In the 2ply Lace the crispness works extremely well in traditional Lace patterns and similarly the drape of the Shetland Supreme 2ply also works well in Shetland Lace patterning.2ply laceDue to the fibres being combed and all the fibres aligning Worsted Spun yarns are very strong and quite hard to break, Woollen spun has the short and long fibres jumbled together so it is easier to pull apart, this is another thing to think about for your finished garment – Shetland Lace can need quite aggressive blocking so it may be worth looking into the Worsted Spun ranges if this is something that concerns you.

I hope this quick look into our worsted and woollen spun yarns has been informative and it might make a bit more sense why we have similar weights in both Woollen and Worsted spun!

Happy Knitting!

Crofthoose Hat Kits

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So this years Shetland Wool Week pattern has now been out for a month or so, we were out of stock of one of the shades but its now back in (yippee!) so if you would like to knit the J&S colourway of the Crofthoose Hat you can order a kit from our website here

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It uses 5 shades of Jumper Weight in the colours seen above, if you order a kit we will include a paper copy of the pattern but you can also download it via the Shetland Wool Week website here

If you would like to knit the hat but dont fancy these shades just leave us a note in the delivery comments box of the shades you would like and we will put them in for you, there are four different colourways in the pattern and lots of projects on Ravelry if you need inspiration!

if you do knit a Crofthoose Hat remember to tag your projects on instagram and ravelry with the #crofthoosehat

Happy Knitting!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Winter Woollies KAL – so far…

We are now less than a month away from the end of the Winter Woollies KAL, and we have been so pleased with the amount of orders going out all over the world!! I thought I’d share some of the finished projects so far..

To see some of the pieces people have already finished have a look at the finished objects thread in our Ravelry group here. Theres also lots of chat and discussion in the general Winter Woollies KAL thread and people are sharing some of their progress shots, you can see that here

Photos taken from the Winter Woollies KAL thread

Photos taken from the Winter Woollies KAL thread

The KAL runs until the 15th December, we are loving seeing all the things people are coming up with so keep it up! The weather has turned in Shetland and on Saturday we had our first bit of Snow, in true Shetland form it is windy and rainy today but it was nice while it lasted and we are beginning to get very thankful for our woollens at Jamieson & Smith, til next time,

Happy Knitting!

wool week friday,saturday and sunday

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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beautiful pouches by Julia

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Traditional knitting by Patricia Doull

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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!

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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

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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

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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 monday and tuesday

Hello! I cant believe we are already on Wednesday, things have been nice and busy in J&S so far for Shetland Wool Week! We have been blessed with lovely weather too which makes things feel even better.

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On Monday we only had one class in the afternoon, Elizabeth Johnston of Shetland Handspun was in doing her ever popular Shetland Lace class, Elizabeth is a brilliant and calm teacher so before long everyone was planning out and knitting their lace..

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On Tuesday morning we had another Fair Isle class with Hazel Tindall

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As always it was a great class and soon everyone was knitting their bookmarks

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In the afternoon we had a lace class with the brilliant designer Ysolda Teaque, Ysolda always come up to Wool Week so we were so happy to have her first class at J&S

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Ysolda shared some of her tips and tricks for planning lace motifs within knitting and everyone then charted out and knit some lace patterns.

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You can see from the photos we do all the classes at Wool Week in the shop so these kinds of classes are great. They give people a taste of Shetland style knitting and the chance to take classes with some brilliant designers but they are all about having fun and enjoying the atmosphere of Wool Week in Shetland.

Ill be back soon with more pictures from Jamieson & Smith at Wool Week!

Vintage Lace Collection Volume 1

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We often speak about Gladys Amedro here at Jamieson & Smith, the reason we do so is her patterns continue to be some of our best sellers since they were released over 20 years ago. Together with her we published many patterns in the best way there was at the time – in magazines! My Weekly, The Peoples Friend, Bella.. to name a few.

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A collection of Gladys’ patterns were sold in a book called Shetland Lace which was published by the Shetland Times for many years and went through a few reprints. The Shetland Times currently publishes a few lace books, The Unst Heritage Lace book and A Legacy of Shetland Lace so they have decided at present to not reprint Shetland Lace.

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As you may know we sell our kits with the patterns, and every day we have kits and yarn going out to knit one of Gladys designs. We have always had our patterns printed here in Shetland using the Shetland Times because we feel its important to support our local businesses so we decided that together with them we would put together smaller selections of Gladys Lace patterns into Volumes, so we present The Gladys Amedro Vintage Lace Collection Volume 1!

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This first Volume contains the patterns for The Gibbie Shawl, Lace Christening Robe, Fine Lace Stole and Scarf and My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl.

We have reproduced the patterns as they were in the Magazines so they are written out line by line, rather than charted. All the patterns are written for either 1ply Cobweb or 2ply Lace but they would work equally well with Shetland Supreme 1ply or 2ply Lace, in the introduction we give yardage to help with substituting.

You can buy a copy on our website here!