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Posts from the ‘Shetland Design’ Category

Working With Wool, A Guest Post from Vivian Ross-Smith

‘Form’. Shetland wool on Burlap. 20x21cm. 2018

You don’t have to look hard in my studio to find wool. There are balls of J&S yarn scattered everywhere and crimps of raw fleece dotted around my work benches. There’s a grip and bite to Shetland wool that is unlike any other wool I have used in my work; the texture is beautiful to hold and excellent to work with. J&S have an enticing range of colours waiting to grab your attention but it’s the natural shades that always sit best with my work. Reminding me of shearing sheep on my home island of Fair Isle.

‘Fair Isle Scattald’ 2018, acrylic on wood. 14 x 12 cm each (series of 17)

‘Ewes Out’ 2018. Shetland wool handstitched on canvas. 70 x 51 cm (Detail)

Some of my fondest childhood memories are gathering as a community to ‘caa’ sheep. This process involves walking through the rugged, heather-covered hills as one to manoeuvre the flock toward the ‘crü’, a large enclosed pen from which sheep can be sheared and dosed. Feeling the rich, almost sticky lanolin coat my hands as I prize fleece away from skin to find the growth line I will clip along. Not only have these textures, colours and smells stuck with me, the coming together of community to work collectively had a huge impact on me too. As with many artists, my personal history is an integral framework for my practice. The mentality and dynamic of island communities’ shapes my work, I approach my art as an islander.

‘But if you use the word craft, it’s like you’re politicising the word craft’, 2020. Shetland wool and acrylic on paper

‘Craft Conversations II’, 2020. Canvas, felt, acrylic, Shetland wool, wood and tracing paper

Materiality forms the backbone of my practice from which I explore the aesthetic qualities, as well as the cultural value of material. Fish skins, salt, wood, and hessian are paired with traditional island skill sets such as knitting, knotting, weaving and stitching to communicate craft, skill, isolation, and commitment to place. It is wool, however, that features in my work time and time again – a material completely intertwined with Shetland culture. When I use wool, I play a small part in feeding into the long and rich history of crofting, knitting and textiles in Shetland.

‘Stitch’, 2019. Hessian and Shetland wool. 24x24cm

‘Sorting + Grading’ 2019. Shetland wool and burlap. 140x80cm

‘Sorting + Grading’ 2019. Shetland wool and burlap. 140x80cm (Detail)

Living on a small island like Fair Isle simultaneously requires self-sufficiency and a willingness to rely on neighbours. Although not the only industries, the laborious working of land and sea through crofting and fishing, is still a common practice on Shetlands islands. I use my practice as a method of echoing the types of work that take place on islands, commitment to working in a repetitive and laborious way is mirrored through the rhythms and durational nature of my work, reminiscent of the ebb and flow of the sea, or the back and forth of a knitting machine. Alongside the workload of an islander comes a collective commitment to place and way of life, which highlights the need for a strong community, allowing a sharing of workload and the building of support structures. It is this joined-up thinking I am interested in. To me, islands are places of coming together.

Good Mother, 2018. Shetland wool handstitched on canvas. 70 x 51 cm

‘Moder Dy’, 2019. Haddock skins, Shetland wool, wooden bar

This shared working is very apparent in the crafts of the island and particularly in the knitting, where its commonplace to share patterns and knitting knowledge with neighbours, friends and family. The social aspect is what draws me to textiles and from that stance, my appreciation of wool as a material strengthens.

‘J+S’, 2019. Raw fleece hand-stitched with Jamieson and Smith yarn. 24×24 cm

I’ve never been taught how to use stitch properly, instead making it up as I go along with whatever means make sense to the work. The same goes for my knitting, although Fair Isle is my home island and I have been surrounded by exceptionally talented knitters for my whole life, I only taught myself to knit garments properly in 2017. My use of wool in my artwork has always been intuitive and centres around the development of tactile surfaces and trying to gain an understanding of the materials form and function.  piece could be as simple as exploring the relationship between raw and spun wool, yet the touch of the fleece, the smell of the lanolin, the individual crimps, keep my mind and hands engaged for hours. Or the conceptual could take forefront, how does craft practice fit into fine art? Is the internet the new craft space rather than gathering and making physically? Regardless of the starting point for a piece of work, it’s the material – and usually the wool – that my mind goes to first.

‘Craft Conversations III’ 2019. Shetland wool and canvas

 

I ask viewers to look at material from a perspective they’re not used to. I ask them to question its qualities, origins and if our understanding of the material itself can be built on. From this place of constant learning, a deep appreciation can be formed.

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Vivian Ross-Smith is an artist working from the Shetland Islands. She adopts a collaborative and systematic approach to making and sharing through painting, textiles and the digital. Her work creates space to discuss the practices of island life from a contemporary, fine art context and explores the textures, qualities and values of material and space. Ross-Smith’s work builds relationships and conversations between material, place and people and is as much about experiencing as it is about seeing.

 https://www.vivianrosssmith.com

@vrosssmith

Thank you Vivian for this guest post – we hope you are enjoying our Wool Week content – make sure to follow our instagram and subscribe to our youtube channel – if you haven’t already! Happy Knitting!

 

 

Knitting an Afterthought Heel, Guest Post from Lesley Smith

My name is Lesley Smith and I am a knitter and designer living and working in Shetland. Ella has asked me to write a short blog post for Wool Week 2020 about my method for knitting an afterthought heel into a Fair-isle sock.

An afterthought heel is as the name describes, a heel that is knitted on when the rest of the sock is completed. It’s a common sock heel construction but not one that was traditionally used in Shetland as far as I can find. All the old examples of socks I have seen here have a heel flap and gusset. I chose to use an afterthought heel for a number of reasons. It allowed me to use the same design on the heel and the toe. I could also use design elements from the crowns of Fair-isle tams and berets, which I love. Best of all I don’t have to purl every 2nd row of colour work on a heel flap. Here, I am going to show you how to pick up the heel stitches after the rest of the sock has been knit.

As you can see from photo 1, I have knit the whole sock save for the heel, with waste yarn knitted in where the heel will go. The waste yarn I used is a synthetic in a contrast colour which makes it easier to see and remove. I have knit it across half the stitches of the sock

The next step will be to pick up the stitches above and below the waste yarn. I like to pick these stitches up before removing the waste as it avoids dropped stitches! I use a circular needle with a long cable in a finer gauge than the sock was knit with as it makes it easier. Begin picking up the stitches from the side of the sock where the row begins. This will keep the jog in the pattern on the sock and the heel at the same side.

In this example, I’m picking up the leg stitches first. Once you’ve picked up the leg stitches (half of the total number of stitches to be picked up) slide the stitches onto the needle cable. Turn the sock so the toe is nearest you. Pick up the sole stitches by going behind the right leg of each stitch. Picking them up this way prevents them from being twisted. When all the sole stitches are picked up slide them onto the cable needle

Next, we are going to remove the waste yarn. With a tapestry needle or knitting needle pick out one stitch at a time all the way along. If the end gets too long snip it off as you go.

Now all that’s left to do is transfer these stitches onto the needles you knitted the rest of the sock with. In my case, it was a short circular needle.

Before you begin to knit, check your stitch count. I usually have one extra stitch on the sole which can come in handy! When you knit the sole stitches, knit up to the last stitch. This last sole stitch can then be knitted together with the leg stitch next to it. This helps to close any small holes at that side. If I don’t have an extra stitch there, I would pick up something to do this with. Any holes at the other side can be closed by using the yarn ends to weave in on the back.

 

I hope this will help and inspire you to give it a go. If you’d like to see any more of my designs you can find me on Etsy as TakDeeSock and on Ravelry as Lesley Smith Designs. Hope to see you for Wool Week 2021!

Thanks to Lesley for this guest post, the yarn used in her sock shown here is Shetland Heritage, we hope you are enjoying our Wool Week content – make sure to follow our instagram and subscribe to our youtube channel – if you haven’t already! Happy Knitting!

Angela Irvines Lace Creations

Hello everyone, Happy Friday! today we thought we’d look at something a bit different and share some of Angela Irvines Shetland Lace creations, in particular her lace Creel lampshade which she shared on Facebook a few days ago, I was blown away by it so asked Angela a few questions about it:

For our followers that are not familiar, what is a Creel?

A creel is a cage for catching lobsters & crabs on the seabed.

What gave you the idea to turn it into a lampshade?

The idea came ages ago, a creel is covered in net, and my late brother made many to catch lobsters. I knew they would look fab covered in fine lace. The structure and ‘eye’ of the creel are great sculptural shapes to stretch lace over. Industrial Chic interior fashion is all the rage at the moment too.

Was it easy to do?

It was very very hard to do, I was amazed I didn’t have to re-do any panels. I worked the sizes & stitches out best I could from other creations I gave done on lace furniture panels in the past. The ‘eye’ of the creel was a real challenge to design as it had to finish with the round eye, I just knitted that part as the beginning of a crown for a hat before casting off, it fitted like a glove to my delight! Phew!

How did you choose the lace motif’s you used in the piece?

I chose my favourite auld Shetland Fine Lace seashore themed patterns, ‘Birds Eye’ for the creel eye ( where the lobsters or crabs crawl into the bait & are then trapped) Elaborate Print o’ da Wave top/sides and Alice Maude Pattern for the end as it is a beauty with waves also.

You often use Shetland Supreme Lace in your work, what do you like about the wool?

I use Shetland Supreme as its the best, strongest, finest, dresses the lace out tight to perfection and un-dyed the colour of wir Shetland sheep.

Angela uses our Supreme Lace in her creations like this lamp using Supreme Lace in Grey and the sideboard which features panels in Black Supreme Lace:

You can see more of Angela work on here website here, very inspiring!

Happy Knitting!

Shetland Wool Week Scarf Project

Hello everyone, happy Friday! Today we thought we’d share some images of a project we took part in during Shetland Wool Week which was coordinated by Faye Hackers of the Shetland College.

The project took inspiration from people known in the Shetland Textile industry who provided Faye with imagery and text about what they love about Shetland, this was then taken by Faye and designed into one-off scarfs which were auctioned off for charity during a silent auction at Wool Week.

Among the people asked were J&S’s own Oliver and Ella, former patrons Donna Smith, Elizabeth Johnston and Hazel Tindall. For more information see Fayes Instagram posts. We love how different each scarf was:

We were happy to donate all the yarn for the project meaning the scarves were knit in 2ply Jumper Weight or Shetland Heritage, in total the auction raised £1,776.00 of which 100% will be donated to charity as we provided the yarn for free. The charities chosen by the individuals were: Cancer Research UK, CLAN, Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal, Mind Your Head, GlobalYell, Lerwick Brass Band and Whalsay Heritage Centre.

All and all it was a great project!

Model and white photography: Faye Hackers

Museum Photos: John Hunter

Models: Akshay Borges and Alanah Young

Pattern PDF’s

Hello everyone, its the beginning of another busy summer here in Shetland. We have lots of tours during the summer and gearing up for another Wool Season but as always we are working behind the scenes on lots of things – for a while now we have wanted to make available our single patterns as PDF’s as well as in kits we sell. To begin with we have chosen to make the patterns available on Loveknitting. (also now available on Ravelry!) We decided to start with a selection of our Fair Isle patterns knit using 2ply Jumper Weight: The Roadside Allover, Antarctica Jumper, Antarctica Set and one of our most popular patterns the Hairst Yoke. These are all great examples of Shetland designs by a Shetland designer – Sandra Manson who you will have met if you’ve ever been in J&S is the designer of all 4 patterns and I think her expert colour sense can be seen in them all.

The Antarctica Set was released in 2012 and you may remember they were released after being made for Dr Alexander Kumar on his research trip to Antarctica, the set includes a Double layer hat, neckwarmer/cowl and mittens.

The Antarctica Jumper is knit using the same motifs and colours and is knit from the bottom up with steeks for the armholes and neckline, this is a traditional Shetland technique where extra stitches are cast on and then cut open later so you can continue knitting in the round.

The Roadside Allover features the same construction, it was knit for Oliver to wear at Edinburgh Yarn Festival as his Wool Week Patronage was announced in March. it features a softer but equally striking colour scheme.

The Hairst Yoke is our version of a traditional Shetland Fair Isle yoke, it is one of the most well-known Shetland styles and we released this pattern in 2013, it has been one of our best sellers ever since. A Fair Isle yoke is a great way to use up your odds and ends and if you use a cone for the main shade it can be a very economical project.

So you can find these patterns on our designer page on loveknitting here and on Ravelry. We will be adding more over the next while so let us know of any of our self published patterns you would like to see as an individual PDF. Happy knitting!

Post Shetland Wool Week

Hello everyone! Things are getting back to normal after another great Shetland Wool Week, we were extremely busy which meant we couldn’t do our usual blog update so I’m very sorry about that but I would highly recommend looking through the Shetland Wool Week 2018 hashtag on instagram – it gives you a great insight into what everyone was up to!

As our bags say – Wool Week never ends for us but we have just put some copies of this years Annual on to the online shop which contains lots of great patterns by visiting but mainly Shetland designers as well as interesting articles including one on the Herring industry which features some great pictures of where we are in the North Road including this one below on the right which shows our ‘Tin Kirk’ shop in the background.

There are lots of great patterns in the Annual and 5 use J&S 2ply Jumper Weight in them – You could make yourself a perfect winter wardrobe using just these 5 patterns!

l: Antidote Mittens by Outi Kater m: Kliek Cardigan by Marjolein Reichert r: Foula Snood by Donna Smith

l: Skalavag Mittens by Tori Seierstad r: Einar Hat by Ella Gordon

We also have some 2017 Annuals so if you missed out last year I would snap it up, they are definitely collectors items and very worth having in your knitting library. Of course the Annuals also contain the official Wool Week pattern for that year – so last years has the Bousta Beanie and this year the Merrie Dancers Toorie. That leads us onto another fun Wool Week themed kit we put up just before Wool Week but didnt get a chance to post about: Patron Packs!

We asked all the patrons there have been for Shetland Wool Week so far to choose their favourite 8 shades of 2ply Jumper Weight. We’ve put them together for you and you can find them on the online shop here. Its a great way to build up your jumper weight stash with colours you maybe wouldnt have chosen!

If you came to Shetland Wool Week we would like to thank you for visiting and supporting this event, it is an extremly important week for us and we appreciate all of you that came to see us. If you didnt visit us thank you for being patient with us while we try to get back to normal!

Jamieson & Smith: A Shetland Story

Hello everyone, we have survived another Shetland Wool Week! I will be doing a post later in the week about what we got up to (spoiler alert: we sold a lot of wool) but for now I have something exciting to share – our newest book, Jamieson and Smith: A Shetland Story is available now!! Its been quite the labour of love and we are all very proud of it.

The book contains the history of the company by Oliver which goes from its beginnings at Berry Farm to where we are today – no mean feat, but we have done it in the most concise way we could and it contains lots of photographs from over the years which haven’t been seen before. It gives you a great insight into what we do here and where we come from, the green doors have been a fixture of North Road for decades so it was only right they graced the cover.

And alongside the history we have a range of patterns beautifully photographed by Liam Henderson and modelled by May Graham and Tim Matthews..

Olivers Hat by Sandra Manson knit in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight

Tussacks Shawl by Gudrun Johnston knit in Shetland Heritage

Noostigarth Cowl by Kharis Leggate knit in Shetland Chunky

Uyea Legwarmers by Ella Gordon knit in Shetland Aran Worsted

Vatn jumper by Mary Henderson knit in Shetland Aran Worsted

Houss Socks by Lesley Smith knit in Shetland Heritage

Glebe Jumper by Sandra Manson knit in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight

Vaara Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone knit in Shetland Heritage

Hevdadale Tam and Scarf by Mary Handerson knit in Shetland Heritage

The Silwick Vest by Sandra Manson knit in 2ply Jumper Weight

There is more information about yarn quantities etc on the Ravelry pages for the patterns, see here and if you would like a copy of the new book you can purchase it here. In time there will be a PDF version but for the moment it is only available in paperback, we hope you love it as much as we do! Happy knitting x

Bousta Beanie KAL – choosing colours

Its been a bit of a dreich and damp day in Lerwick today so the thought of a nice new knitted hat is ideal! Our Bousta Beanie KAL kicks off on Monday and there is already a lot of good chat in the Ravelry thread. I thought I’d do a quick post about choosing colours – that is probably my favourite but also sometimes the hardest part of knitting Fair Isle.

The good thing about the Bousta Beanie is there are only three shades needed so that makes it a bit easier – One fail safe way I think is to either choose a nice light main colour.. like these.. (all hats are taken from here )

Or dark like these..

You can see on the lighter background ones that the contrasts are either dark or quite bright shades so they will always stand out well, this is the same with the darker main coloured ones above with the lighter/brighter contrasts. It can take a bit of trial and error but if you follow this general idea you will get a hat with enough contrast.

If you take a photo on your phone and put it into black and white you will also get a good idea as to whether there is enough or even too much contrast. You can see above 81 is a perfect dark MC and 202 and FC61 are tonally similar but different enough to make a good pair of contrast colours.

If you want to take inspiration from a photo there are a couple of good apps which you can download for Iphone (i’m sure similar ones are available for android) They do much the same thing, which is you add a photo and the programme chooses the main colours in the picture. The one on the left is Adobe Colour and the right is Pantone studio, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get less than 5 colours but it still gives you some good ideas and put together pleasing combinations that you wouldn’t have thought of!  I took those photos in the Flower Park here in Lerwick but you could use any picture to give you ideas, I think this works well if you want to go for a more subtle colour scheme which also looks lovely in this pattern.

Another thing you can do of course is swatch! As you will be knitting the hat in the round its best to swatch in the round too and you can follow this tutorial for swatching circularly flat (it is for plain knitting but you can use it for Fair Isle too) You will be able to finalise your colours and also check your gauge!

I hope this has given you some ideas and you are ready to start the Bousta Beanie from Monday! feel free to chat in the thread on Ravelry and use the #boustabeaniekal on instagram. We’ve had a busy week with the Voe Show last week, Cunnigsburgh Show on Wednesday and Waas Show tomorrow so I’ll be back next week with some photos from the shows.

Happy Knitting!Save

Sletts Shawl L252 Re-imagined

As our yarn range grows and changes sometimes its fun to take a look back at one of our older patterns and try it in a newer range. This is what Sandra did recently with the catchily named ‘My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl L252’ – originally released in the 1980’s and designed by Gladys Amedro.

Originally knit in the Woollen Spun 2ply Lace Sandra remade this version in the undyed White shade of Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace – worsted spun and somewhat finer this has resulted in a very soft and drapey shawl.

I was surprised how modern and wearable it seemed when we were rephotographing it, it would still make a perfect Hap for a baby or a christening but wrapped around your neck and shoulders its lovely and quite stylish! The Shetland Supreme 2ply is quite lightweight but also substantial due to the two plys, the worsted yarn of course is fine for next to skin and I can imagine it would look lovely in all the natural 2ply Shades.

Construction wise the shawl is made as indicated by my quick drawing above – you initially knit the edging first, the stitches are all picked up and the four borders worked at the same time in the round. The centre is then knitted from one of these borders and knit whilst attaching to the other two sides and grafted onto the last border.

We decided to rename this pattern the Sletts Shawl, which is where we took the photographs, its a bay in the town and made the perfect backdrop for the shawl. We have also updated the pattern with charts and updated all the abbreviations to the modern ones, so you can see on the product page there are now two choices for the kit – one is the original patttern and knit in L1 Woollen Spun Lace and the new pattern which is both written and charted in the Shetland Supreme. We hope this means there is something for everyone depending on how you like your lace patterns!

We hope your enjoying your summer, we have been been having some nice summery weather in Shetland so long may it continue, Happy Knitting!

Shetland College Project 2017

Hello everyone, Happy weekend! On Wednesday myself (Ella) and Oliver headed to the Shetland College, every year for the past few years we have worked with the College on a project using our yarns. The students are given a brief to produce a garment or home interiors product using the Worsted Spun and Heritage yarns (Shetland Supreme Lace 1 and 2ply, Shetland Heritage Natural and Dyed, Shetland Aran Worsted and Shetland Chunky). This year also had two woven products which was very exciting!

We were there to see the final items and hear the presentations from 3 students, Rhea Kay who’s Jumper we saw last year was also included in this module so if you want more information about her garment see last years post here. Andrea who was included with Rhea last year has moved onto another college on the Mainland so her poncho isn’t included but you can see more information about it too in that post. Rhea’s garment looked as good as we remembered it – it will be on display at the Whalsay Heritage Centre after the term ends at the college so keep an eye out for it there if you are visiting!

First up was Julia Nairn who covered a footstool in fabric made using the Shetland Heritage Natural yarns, she was inspired by the Houll Loch in Whalsay and took lots of photos of the scene. She finds it to be a timeless landscape and she was particularly inspired by the ripples in the water and the almost symmetry seen her her photos which she took through to her finished item. She used an undulating twill structure for her weaving and her main focus was to take the landscape into the home which is why she made a homeware product.

We loved the way the resulting fabric came out and found the footstool to be very effective, the heritage yarn is soft yet robust making it very suited to weaving.

Alicja Tyburska also used weaving in her project but decided to make a garment, in this case, a large wrap. She is a weaver but also extremely interested in History and Archaeology, in particular, Shetlands Natural Landscape and its features, and she took the inspiration from Brochs and other stone features in Shetland – mainly how they are seen from above in drone photography.

This gave her the inspiration for her weave structure and she combined different weights of yarns – the Shetland Aran, Heritage and Chunky together to give beautiful texture to her finished item. We loved the professional finish and texture of the wrap, and the chunky tassels just finished it off perfectly.

Marcia Galvin used knit in her project and made this lovely wrap cardigan in the Shetland Heritage yarn, she was inspired by the word ‘Heritage’ and what it means to her, although not a Shetlander she has been here for many years and was interested in how certain areas have changed architecturally in Lerwick in particular Hays Dock. The Shetland Museum and Archives and Mareel are examples of modern architecture that Marcia looked at and took inspiration from, she looked up the briefs the architects of these building had and looked at the lines and shapes of the buildings.

You can see in her finished garment how elements of these buildings came out in her motif and texture. The cardigan is oversized but can be closed a number of different ways and with a belt. We though the use of colour and inspiration were very successful.

The winner of the unit will be announced at the Degree Show in a few weeks but we think all the students did extremely well, it’s really important to us to support the local College – me and Kharis are both graduates of the Contemporary Textiles course and it gives students the skills to be able to work in the industry in Shetland, something which is quite difficult and we, as an industry, must be supportive of these students.

Happy Knitting!

PS. remember the Shetland Wool Week programme comes out on Tuesday the 16th of May, there are lots of things happening again at J&S and it looks to be another fabulous year!

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