Up Helly Aa 2015

torch cloos

My yarn ‘torches’

One day to go til Lerwick Up Helly Aa! I cant believe it was one year ago when head wool man at J&S, also known as Oliver was in the 2014 Jarl Squad (see here and here for more details)

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some details of Olivers 2014 suit from my Up Helly Aa window

some details of Olivers 2014 suit from my Up Helly Aa window

But now its another squads turn to be the Jarl Squad! For those who dont know, Up Helly Aa is a fire festival held all over Shetland, tomorrows Up Helly Aa, the biggest of the lot, is in Lerwick and the whole day is given over to Vikings.. the night-time torchlight procession (live feed can be watched here!) contains over 800 men and results in the burning of a Viking Galley.

a photo from last years procession

a photo from last years procession

After the procession, local halls are open and there is a big night of dancing! Each of the squads involved (usually about 40-50!) are dressed up and come up with an ‘act’ for the people in the halls. understandably Wednesday is a public holiday in Shetland so we wont be open, but we’ll be back at work on Thursday.

Til then, happy knitting and Happy Up Helly Aa!!

some knitting books at christmas time..

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Im so sorry for the bit gaps in posting but I thought I’d begin with our lovely Christmas tree! We have recovered from the brilliant Shetland Wool Week and since then things have been very busy at Jamieson & Smith, of course our usual day to day is busy as we have lots of customers coming into the shop.. Wool is readily bought all year round in Shetland but in the Autumn and Winter even more so! Of course things are busy on the online shop as we gear up to Christmas time! Knitters can be quite tricky to buy for (speaking from experience) but one thing that cant be beat is a good book. Tying in nicely to this is the fact that over the past couple of months some great knitting books have come out written by some of our lovely knitterly friends, all using J&S yarns !

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YOKES by Kate Davies

I thought I’d begin with the most recent, so recent in fact we haven’t got our copies in stock yet but soon we will and until then you can buy the book from Kate’s online shop here. This book follows the story and cultural variations in the classic Yoke patterning in knitwear and is followed by 11 beautiful patterns, a number of which are made from J&S – including the yoke on the cover!

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This book is a MUST for anyone interested in stranded knitting, although Yokes also includes patterns using beading and cabling. Kate’s knowledge on knitting shines through and makes this the perfect gift.

IMG_4146The Shetland Trader: Book Two by Gudrun Johnston

Next up is the newest publication from American based, Shetland born designer Gudrun Johnston. This book was launched in Shetland at Shetland Wool Week, and we sold out in one night! So luckily we have the books back in stock again.

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I (Ella) may be biased as I am one of the models in the book but the landscape and imagery is all very inspiring, and there are 9 patterns to choose from. From hats,scarves to sweaters and cardigans, there is something for everyone. Available from us here 

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Unst Heritage Lace by the Unst Heritage Centre

This is a smaller book, but would make a great stocking filler for the Lace knitter! Unst is famous for its fine lace knitting techniques and this year the Unst Heritage Centre have launched this book with some patterns and history about its strong heritage.

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This book makes a great edition to the shelves of anyone interested in Shetland Lace knitting. The fact its written and put together by the Unst Heritage Centre makes it all the more interesting. Available from us here

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The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford

You will have seen some of our posts following the progress and completion of Felicity’s brilliant book on designing your own colourwork on the blog (see here and here) but this book makes a brilliant gift for someone who is experienced in stranded knitting but ready to take it to the next level!

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Felicity guides you through all the stages of designing your own colour work motifs,charts and projects. We have copies for sale in the shop but if your not in Shetland you can buy the book from Felicity here

I thought i’d finish this post with a couple of lovely Japanese books we have received recently. We send a huge amount of yarn to Japan and their books are truly some of the most beautiful around.

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Shetland Lace by Toshiyuki Shimada

Toshi is an amazing Japanese knitwear designer, we have worked with him for years and this new book on Shetland Lace is absolutely beautiful. The patterns, photography and layout is so inspiring

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the sense of style and remaking of traditional motifs in a contemporary way (like the cockleshell seen above in a hooded wrap) makes this a great gift for anyone interested in Shetland lace. The book is in Japanese and all the patterns are charted but I have found this great helpful sheet for knitting Japanese patterns. You can buy this book here

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Mariko’s Knitting Tour by Mariko Mikuni

We met Mariko early this year when she visited us for this book, we recently received it and it is a lovely little book, full of pictures from Mariko’s tour of the UK.

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Again this book is all in Japanese but the layout and pictures makes it an inspiring read. She visited Shetland, Fair Isle, Edinburgh and Mainland Scotland (She included a visit to Kate Davies too) and many more

IMG_4142The book contains a number of patterns also, and it can be purchased here

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to find all these books under your tree this Christmas?

Happy Knitting!

Wool Week Saturday and Sunday

Our last class yesterday was with the brilliant Felicity Ford, who’s new book arrived on Friday, nearly ready to post to all the people who backed the campaign to publish it!

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Felicitys friendly teaching style meant for a great class on being inspired by pictures and your life in your Fair Isle Knitting

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The shop was open til dinnertime then I headed to the Wool Week hub at the Shetland Museum, it looked really great!

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This map was full of pins showing where all the visitors have come from!

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big3 big2As well as the hub being open the Town Hall was filled with producers at the Makers Market, from Foula Wool to Shetland Handspun.

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There was also some historical things there, one of the makers, a knitter also had on her table some Wool related memories, including these vintage slips from Jamieson & Smith in the 1970s!

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Today marked the end of Shetland Wool Week and I went out to Whiteness for the annual Sunday Teas held by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers

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As well as the great teas and fancies the Guild also has a presentation of their work, and there were some fantastic things to be seen from some well known Shetland Knitters: Ina Irvine, Hazel Tindall, Linda Shearer and Kathleen Anderson to name a few!

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I also spied a number of things which were entries to the Colourbox Competition we hold at the Voe and Cunningsburgh shows like Lindas jumper seen above.

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Members of the Guild were also demonstrating which was great to see!

big4Sue, Loretta, Outi and Eve spinning and knitting away.

This marks the end of my posts about Shetland Wool Week, its been a fantastic week and I hope you have enjoyed seeing what was happening in Shetland. I have so many pictures I didnt get to use that you may be seeing some more! For now though its time to tidy up the shop and get things back to normal,

Happy Knitting! xx

Wool Week Monday and Tuesday

So we began Wool Week at J&S with a class from our Wool Week patron Hazel Tindall, Hazel designed a bookmark which involved a bit of Fair Isle and steeking! the perfect small project which everyone made great progress on in the 3 hour class

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We even had some finished ones by the end!

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In the afternoon we carried on with the Fair Isle with a class on Colour knitting by English designer Mary Henderson, Mary has designed lots of things using our wool and her use of colour is fantastic!

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Of course the shop was busy all day with lots of wool being bought so I only took photos when I got a chance!

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Today we had another two classes with the US based dreamteam Mary Jane and Gudrun who are both here with a tour group. First off Mary Jane took a class on Fair Isle socks

big1of course she brought her suitcase of Fair Isle swatches and soon everyone was knitting away!

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In the afternoon we had a bit of Lace with Gudrun Johnston, Gudrun who was born in Shetland has a great pattern for a Shetland Hap, she had the knitters make a mini Hap which was a great way to try out all the elements of the shawl

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From the initial triangle, old shell pattern and the edging, in the mini-hap the students were able to try out all the things you need to know for a full size Hap!

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Today the shop was very busy with knitters buying basketfuls of wool, Me and Sandra were serving all day!

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and lots of decisions to be made!

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Ill be back with more pictures from Wednesday and Thursday on Thursday night!

Happy Knitting! xx

Shetland Lace in Natural Shetland Wool Shades.

Are you a fan of Shetland Lace? This traditional Shetland art-form which developed out of necessity to help Shetlanders make ends meet from what they had around them has grown to become, with Fair Isle, synonymous with Shetland Knitwear Worldwide; a true home-grown institution. Now more people than ever are discovering this art for themselves, creating beautiful scarves, shawls and christening gowns to pass down to future generations as has been done in Shetland for centuries. This was why we created our new Shetland Lace Collection in 2012.

This new collection has given knitters 9 new designs to try out using our Shetland Supreme Lace Weight yarns. These yarns were developed with the Shetland Amenity Trust as part of the Shetland Fine Lace project to revive a Shetland lace yarn reminiscent of the handspun yarns that would have been used to produce Shetland Fine Lace in the past. These designs have been hugely popular with knitting kits for them being posted out from us here in Lerwick all over the world.

So to add a little bit more variation to this collection, plus a few other lace knits that use our Shetland Supreme Lace, we have added options to the online shop for you to buy these kits in the various beautiful shades of Shetland wool: natural white, fawn, moorit, grey and Shetland black. This will mean you can create something which is even more unique and individual to you.

You can find these on our online shop using the following links, and if you do decide to opt for a shade other than that of the original, please make sure your desired shade is selected before confirming your order. Thank you.

Great Grand Aunt Leezie’s Scarf by Mary Kay

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Loren by Gudrun Johnston

Loren

Quarry Scarf by Ina Irvine

Quarry

Anderlea Scarf by Ina Irvine

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Dunella Scarf by Kathleen Anderson

Dunella

Shetland Bound Stole by Monique Boonstra

Shetland Bound

Early Spring Blossom Scarf by Nancy Bush

Early SB

St. Ninian’s Scarf by Mary Kay

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Kergord Scarf by Mary Kay

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Madeira Lace Shawl by Joyce Ward

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Eva Shawl by Gema Ord

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Plus here are two others from the Shetland Lace Collection 2012 that we haven’t added shade options to due to their use of multiple shades:

Shetland Crescent by Kieran Foley

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Tether by Ysolda Teague

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Shetland Flag Day

With less than a month to go until Shetland Flag Day, now’s the perfect time to get your needles out to make you very own Shetland Flag Cushion. Designed for J&S by June Onigbanjo, it even had two shades of Chunky yarn created especially for it; Pennishin (white) and Olnafirth (blue).

Shetland Flag Cushion

The Shetland Flag was designed by Roy Grønneberg and Bill Adams in 1969 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the islands being transferred from Norwegian to Scottish rule. It symbolises the influence on the islands of the two cultures, with the 500 years of Norse rule being shown in the Nordic Cross, typical of Scandinavian countries, and following 500 years of Scottish rule shown through using the colours of the Scottish Flag. It was officially recognised in 2005, just in time for Shetland hosting the Island Games, and is used widely by local organisations and teams as well as islanders as a mark of ‘national pride’.

Shetland Flag Cushion-1

Shetland Flag Day began in 2007 on the longest day (21st June) when it is still light at midnight and from the top of the highest hill you can see the sun barely dip below the horizon before rising again. It is not only a day for the celebration of our flag -when cars become adorned with little flags and people hoist it up on flagpoles outside their house – but also as a day for the celebration of all things Shetland. So if you have a connection with Shetland or simply love our islands, why not make yourself your very own flag cushion to celebrate all things Shetland on June 21st.

Shetland Night Sky

New Shetland Heritage Shades

From one launch on Friday to now another on Monday, its been an exciting weekend at J&S. The long-anticipated new Shetland Heritage shades have finally arrived and we are delighted to now be able to release them for you to begin creating beautiful knits with.

New Shades

These new shades have been created using feedback from our customers with the most requested colours being developed to blend with the original 6 shades. Coll Black and Snaa White provide the classic black and white combination, perfect for Sanquhar Gloves, and are much needed shades for colourwork or for creating simple, yet beautiful, white or black garments. Shetland Heritage also knits up well in lace if you want to experiment with thicker lace garments. Mussel Blue provides the much-requested dark-blue, and Moss Green gives a lovely, warm green that blends in beautfully with the other shades. Finally Silver Grey adds a nice neutral shade, similar to Shade 203 in our Jumper Weight yarns, that can be used as a background colour to tie together all the other shades in colour work. These new shades compliment the original 6 and open up a whole range of new options for working with this beautiful yarn, highly regarded for its softness and stitch definition. You can find all 11 shades here.

New Shades

The original 6 Shetland Heritage shades were inspired by traditional, hand spun and dyed yarns found in garments in the Shetland Museum and Archives textile collection. These were the first dyed yarns used in Fair Isle knitwear in Shetland and would have been made from whatever dyes were available to the people of the time, including madder root and indigo. You can find out more about the development of the Shetland Heritage range in the original 6 shades here.

All Shades

All in all a great start to the week!