A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book

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You have probably seen this book if like us you love anything related to Fair Isle, Knitting and Shetland! Published by The Shetland Times and compiled by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book in Colour is a bright and inspiring book – perfect for this dark and dreary time of year. It was released just in time for Wool Week this year and since then it has been selling like hot cakes, everytime I went to do a blog it would be sold out!

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As things calm down though its a lovely book to look through. It is filled with hand coloured motif’s for Fair Isle knitting, the originals of the notebooks belonged to Bill Henry who ran the Hosiery side of Anderson & Co in the mid 20th century. They were most likely used by knitters to put together pattern to put on items to sell.

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The idea of the notebooks themselves is not unusual, Shetland knitters have many self drafted pattern books but what makes this one unusual is the coloured aspect, it is very common to see the black and white dotted kind you see in many Fair Isle books like Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor, Alice Starmores Book of Fair Isle Knitting and Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary MacGregor. Those kind of graph books are invaluable also because they help you to put together patterns without being distracted by the colours but this book is a feast for the eyes if you like Fair Isle and Stranded knitting.

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It’s very tempting to gather up colours and try to match them up…

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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 77, 1403, 66, 1, fc15 and 34
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greens: 34 and FC11, blue: FC15 and FC47, cream: 1 and 202, yellow: 66 and 121, reds: 1403 and FC55, black: 77 and 81.

The yarn on the right-hand side is the same kind of shades as the ones on the left for the pattern in the previous picture but it would give you a more subtle version of the pattern. That’s another fun part of putting colours together, you can adapt it until it is more your kind of shades.

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Shetland Heritage Naturals l-r: white, fawn, light grey, moorit and black
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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 1403, 23, 21, FC15 and 202

We have the book in stock just now and it costs £20.00. It would make a great present for anyone interested in Shetland Knitting, the historical aspect is just as interesting as the colour inspirations!

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Deepdale Shawl Colourways

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Every now and again we come into work at the shop and find there are a lots of orders for the same thing without knowing what its for! a few months ago that happened and we noticed there were a number of orders for 2ply Lace in shades L54, L203, L3 and L202. I thought they looked lovely together and then when I went on Ravelry later on I realised Gudrun Johnston had chosen to use those shades for one of her colourways in her MKAL pattern.

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For the past couple of years Gudrun has run a mystery knit along where each week new clues are revealed and you don’t know what the final project will look like! this shawl was this years effort and the final pattern is now available itself: Deepdale

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It gave me an idea to put together a few colourways using the 2ply Lace, it’s a sometimes overlooked yarn but it makes for lovely lightweight but warm projects.

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the original colourway: L54, L203, L202 and L3
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warm browns: L5, L4, L78 and L202
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greys: L77, L54, L27 and L203
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blues: L21, L63, L15 and L16
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pinks: L43, L68, L136 and L101

A number of people also ordered the Shetland Heritage Naturals for this project and they would work beautifully, the Heritage is a little bit thicker than the two ply lace but that only makes for an even more snuggly finished shawl!

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grey, light grey, moorit and fawn

The above colourways is very similar to the original, but the two below will give you more of a brown finished shawl or a grey one – I love the greys!

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shetland black, moorit, fawn and white
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shetland black, grey, light grey and white

I hope this has given you some ideas for colours for a Deepdale Shawl, if you make one using J&S yarns remember to tag us on Instagram, our username is thewoolbrokers and we love to see in progress pictures.🙂

Happy Knitting!

Last Few Days of Wool Week 2016

I hope you liked our post last week about the classes at J&S during Wool Week, again I’m sorry it was so brief, I still can’t get over how busy it was! We were still working on Saturday but I nipped out quickly to visit the Makers Market at Islesburgh – which was pinned! Its a great chance for local makers and small yarn producers to show what they make to a very appreciative public.

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My (Ella’s) Dad Smirk was there with Cartoons
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Foula Wool
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Students from the Textiles Course at the Shetland College
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Kathy Coull was there with Fair Isle Yarn
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The always bright and cheerful Neilanell knitwear
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busy busy!

I came back from the Makers Market and me and Sandra headed up for a quick look at the Marts, every year the Flock Book have the sale of Pure Shetland Sheep and Lambs, its always good to see the Sheep (reminds you what Wool Week is all about!) Scott who works in the Woolstore had been there all morning as Oliver and Jan were judging the wool on the hoof so the next photos are all taken by him

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Vispring always provides the sponsorship for the Fine Wool and I was asked to present it to the winners:

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Me with the White Lamb and Coloured Lamb winners
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l-r: Lamb White winner and Overall Champion, Coloured Lamb winner, Adult White winner and Coloured Adult Winner.

On Sunday after a bit of a lie in I headed out to Tingwall for the Sunday Teas held by the Guild, its one of my favourite bits of Wool Week..

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As well as the lovely food there are brilliant displays of the Work of the Guild which is always so inspiring!

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Sue Arthurs Handspun Handknitted Jumper
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Kathleen Andersons Lovely Lace
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Hazel Tindall’s beautiful Fair Isle

I hope you’ve enjoyed this more relaxed look at the last few days of Wool Week, we are just about recovered, but already looking forward to next year.

Happy Knitting!

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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..

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clockwise from top left: selkie72’s beret, nirua68’s fingerless gloves, finelighness’s hat and deborahgray’s boot toppers

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!