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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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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Wool Week at J&S

Hello! I’m so sorry we haven’t been able to update you this week of all the happenings at J&S for Shetland Wool Week, I’m afraid it has just been so busy!!! A great problem to have of course, We have just about managed to get some snaps here and there during the week so this post is all about what we had going on in the shop

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fair isle knitting with Hazel
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lace with Elizabeth Johnston

On Monday we had a Fair Isle Class with Hazel Tindall in the Morning and Shetland Lace with Elizabeth in the Afternoon, we always have these classes and they are always some of the first to sell out, Hazel and Elizabeths years of experience make them excellent teachers!

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Drop Spindling with Deborah

On Tuesday Morning we had a Drop Spindle class with Deborah Gray, I always think this looks like a really fun class to do!

Tuesday night we had a trunk show for Monique Boonstra, Monique is a fabulous lace knitter and she had samples of her lovely patterns and knittingtuesmon

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Haps with Gudrun

Wednesday led to more lace knitting, Haps with Gudrun in the Morning and more lace with Elizabeth in the afternoon. Gudruns Hap class is always very popular and she has the students make a mini version of her Hansel hap, it’s very manageable for the length of time of the class and gives everyone a taste of all the elements of this traditional Shetland garment.

img_9798This is the only photo I got on Wednesday of Elizabeths second lace class but it looks like they are learning a lot! Elizabeth is always great to have at Wool Week and she teaches lots of classes in Hoswick also.

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Of course, we have spent the week spotting crofthoose hats too! It’s great to see all the different colours people have chosen.thurshaz

Thursday morning had Hazels second Fair Isle class, she had the ladies knit in the round and then steek! Everyone seemed to have a great time and I loved the samples at the end.

Friday morning we had no classes so we got caught up on our post and then in the afternoon Monique Boonstra was back with a class using 1ply Shetland Suprememonfri

Oliver has been doing his tour this week too, and yesterday was the last day of that, he has it down to a fine art and we always get lots of people coming for the tour.

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photo by Scott Goudie

Today is the Makers Market and Flock Book and tomorrow is the fabulous Sunday Teas hosted by the Guild so I’ll be back next week with a few photos from that. It’s been a great week and as always we are so proud to be involved in Shetland Wool Week!Save

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Shoormal Hap

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As soon as we saw the Shetland Heritage Naturals we all knew they would be perfect in a traditional Shetland Hap, Sandra quickly got to work and just in time for Wool Week the Shoormal Hap is the result!

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The Bestway K133 pattern booklet is full of inspiring Shetland patterns, (we have a photocopy of the pattern booklet for sale here) They are all written out longhand in very small writing but we were very inspired by the ‘Scalloped Shawl’ pattern, its a traditional Hap which you probably know has been everywhere lately. They have been made and worn in Shetland for centuries and we knew the nature of the Shetland Heritage Naturals would be ideal to recreate this pattern.

courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.
courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

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We have used shades White, Fawn, Moorit and Shetland Black in the Shawl, Oliver has told us many times that the Heritage is very similar is weight to the old Hap weight of yarn, long since discontinued but the soft and strong properties of the Heritage yarn especially in the undyed colours harks back to this historical yarns. We have added charts for the border and edging sections of the pattern as well as keeping the written instructions so you can choose which to use.

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The construction of this Hap is that the centre is worked first followed by the four sides which are all worked individually and sewn onto the centre and each other, finally the edging is worked and sewn on. This makes it a great portable project as you are working each element separately before sewing it all together.

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The finished shawl is approximately 45 inches square making it very large, warm and cushy. It’s knit on relatively large needles for the yarn (4mm and 5mm) which creates a warm and lofty fabric, perfect for wrapping yourself up in, keeping on your couch or wrapping around a baby.

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If you would like to knit your own Shoormal Hap you can buy the kit here!

Happy Knitting!

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Shetland Wool Week Mitts-a-Long

Hello everybody, specifically those of you who can’t make it to Shetland Wool Week but would like to be involved…

The wonderful Felicity Ford AKA Knitsonik has been busy working away on an idea just for you:  Introducing the Knitsonik Mitts-a-Long for Shetland Wool Week! ‘Yay’ I hear you cry, well Yay indeed, read on for the details.

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The idea is to design your own stranded colourwork using ‘Fingerless Mitts’ as the base for your explorations. There are two kit options for you to choose from, each one has been carefully thought out by Felicity and includes the pattern along with the corresponding 8 balls of our lovely 2ply Jumper Weight (a 4ply weight yarn).

The first theme is the Crofthouse Museum, situated in Dunrossness in the South Mainland of Shetland. It is set up as it would have been in the 1870s so you can get a real feel of what it was like to live in a typical Shetland home at that time.

The second theme is taken from knitting sheaths in the Shetland Museum & Archives. These were in use before knitting belts and were made with feathers to grip and hold a needle in place while working.

The Knitsonik Mitts-A-Long 2016 coincides with Shetland Wool Week 2016 starting on the 24th September. It will continue until the 24th October with lots of places to share and discuss your progress online – you can find other participants by following the hashtag #knitsonikmittsalong on Instagram and Twitter, and on the Knitsonik Ravelry forum.

We have a limited amount of kits in stock so if you would like to knit your Shetland inspired mitts with wool all packed up by us in Shetland, this is your chance!

Heritage Natural Cones

Hello, thank you all for the kind comments on the last blog!

We have been so pleased with how well the new Natural Heritage yarn has been going and now you can get it on cone!! We get the cones for machine knitting but you can hand knit with them of course, the Heritage yarn is slightly waxed on the cone so it goes easier through a knitting machine. So we would always suggest washing your finished item and even your swatch if you are using coned yarn to get the accurate measure of your gauge.

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We have a lot of 500g cones is all the shades and a number of 1kg cones in most shades so if you are planning a project using a lot of one of the shades it works out to be a great deal!

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The 500g cones are £27.00 which is equivalent to about 20 balls and 1kg are £54.00 which is like 50 balls.  You can see them on the website here.

Happy Knitting!

PS. you can now pre-order a copy of the 2016 Shetland Wool Week Annual! see here if you would like one.

Ollies Visit to Papa

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Oliver recently spent the day clipping sheep on Papa, an island off the west side of Scalloway. Papa Isle is owned by the Smith family, the founders of Jamieson & Smith, he headed there with my (Ella’s) Uncle James who runs Berry Farm and a group of willing clippers and packers!

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arriving on Papa

Papa Isle is one of the now many uninhabited islands in Shetland. Shetland is made up of over 100 small islands but only 16 are now lived on. Nearby to Papa there are a number of similar isles – Hildasay, Oxna, Linga, Havra and Langa were all at one time inhabited like Papa but as times changed and Island life became harder people gradually moved to the more easily assessable islands, part of Oliver’s family came from Hildasay.

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Preparing the cro
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Gathering the Sheep

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James looks on while the sheep are rounded up
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Brian watches as the Sheep enter the pen
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Oliver hand shearing the old way!

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Shearing by power – the modern way!

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Papa is now the home of approximately 90 sheep who are quite happy living on the natural grazing and feeding on seaweed. They are handled only twice a year for shearing and later in the year for taking home the lambs so with the exception of necessary drenching are virtually organic and quite self-sufficient! They are able to survive and reserve energy and fat for the harsher winters, Hill Sheep have very good wool, the environment and grazing usually leads to a very fine quality of wool.

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All clipped and back to the hills!
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Lots of Oo ready to head to the J&S Woolstore

There are still many examples of Papa being inhabited, the two below pictures show the plaque erected by the Slater Family and the remains of the Slater family Croft house which was attached to the school.

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The next two pictures show the Papa Kirk, you can see Oxna Isle in the background with the house used for Lambing. Papa in Old Norse means the Island of the Priests and people came from all the surrounding Islands for the Sunday service. It was still active in the early 1930s and an elderly neighbour of Oliver’s said he would row over from Burra for the service. The image with the stone before it shows the rock on which the late Robert Fullerton told Oliver a Bible would be laid onto, the people in Oxna would look for this through a spyglass and if it was there they would climb the hill behind their house and wave a bed sheet which would have been seen on the Islands of Hildasay, Linga and Langa. The congregation would then row or sail over for the service. If the Bible wasn’t there it meant the weather was too poor for the minister to make it to the kirk from Scalloway.

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The ‘Crying Knowe’ can be seen in the picture below, this was a small hill used by the residents of Papa to shout across the sound to the people on Oxna

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You can still see remnants of the Papa Peat banks like in the picture below, many people still use Peat to heat and warm their houses in Shetland today but it was a complete necessity for people in isolated Islands like Papa. You can see a bit more information about Peats in Shetland here.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look into a bit of Shetland History, you can see on the Map I’ve included above from 1806 nearly all the Islands in Shetland are named, probably because people lived on most of them! Papa is located directly across from Foula on the mid/bottom left hand side.

Happy Knitting!

 

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