Hello everyone, this past Saturday saw our annual visit to the Voe Show – the first agricultural show of the year in Shetland. I (Ella) headed up to judge the Colourbox Competition. Every year we choose a selection of 8 shades of Jumper Weight which are used by people in a category on its own in the knitwear section of the show. The entrants must use at least 5 of the 8 colours – this year the shades were: 3, 53, 66, 72, 87, 366, fc37 and FC56.
It is always very difficult to choose the winners as the standard is extremely high but I was really pleased with the entries. This is the Show where I have the most time so I helped the other ladies with laying out the rest of the knitwear and as a judge I got to help with choosing the trophy winners. There is everything from lace, handspun and machine knitting to yokes, all overs and hats.
I then spent the rest of my time at the show looking at all the other entries. At Voe there are Cows, Sheep, Horses, Chickens, Ducks, Goats, Dogs… the list goes on.
The sheep are probably my favourite as the amount and variety of breeds is always so interesting but I also like to have a look at the flowers and vegetables too…
I didnt get any photos of the baking or other handicrafts but I can assure you it all looked great too! The rain came on just as I was leaving but I had a great day at the Voe Show, this week sees Cunningsburgh on Wednesday and Waas on Saturday so we will be back with more photos from those shows too, happy knitting!
hello everyone, a quick post today about a new version we have of one of our classic patterns, the Brora Black Cobweb Shawl is another one of Gladys Amedro many Shetland 1ply Shawls which Jamieson & Smith released in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. This pattern was released in 1991 and like all of Gladys patterns was written rather than charted – but recently we had a customer, Heather, who had re charted the pattern for herself and allowed us to use her charts for a charted version of the pattern.
It features lots of tree motif’s – you see a lot of trees in Shetland knitting considering we don’t have very many..! They are often seen in Fair Isle in yokes as you can decrease incredibly successfully around them as you can see here in the Hairst Yoke:
For the type of shawls that this one is the tree motif is quite apt as it is often known as the Tree of Life. There are a number of similar motif’s in Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller and they are described as such, a 1ply shawl is also used as a christening shawl and they were/are given to a new baby as a present or to be wrapped around them at their Christening.
This shawl is quite unusual as it was knit in Black, most are made in white but this was also seen to be able to be used as an evening shawl. Regarding the construction you first knit the border to create the scallops then pick up the stitches and work each triangle 4 times at the same time gradually decreasing as you get towards the centre. This means at the end there is no sewing to be done except your ends!
If you would like to knit your own Brora Black we have added the charted pattern kit to the online shop – you can choose to knit it in Cobweb 1 ply available in White and Black or Shetland Supreme 1 ply Available in 5 natural shades and Optic White (Optic is currently out of stock but we are hoping to have it mid August) if you want to know more about the merits of choosing a woollen spun yarn versus a worsted have a look at this post.
We are planning to work our way through many of our written patterns and translate them to also be available as a charted one too, so we hope you like it!
PS.. we recently got some new peerie project bags you can see them here
The tricky part about working with Natural shades is that of course they are different every time depending on the amount and colours of a Shade we take in the Woolstore. I thought the below picture sums it up quite well – I found this fleece in the woolstore and you can see the 4 different colours which are all found in it!
We try to keep the shades as similar as we can but Nature is as Nature does so they can be quite different so for a limited time we are welcoming Dark Fawn into the Heritage Naturals range – it bridges the gap between Fawn and Moorit so well we have decided to get it on ball as well as on cone. It also has a grey undertone so works well with the grey shades too – the coloured Shetland Wool is so precious we couldn’t let this colour go to waste!
You can see here it alongside Fawn and together with the other shades:
This means they are more blending possibilities within the Shetland Heritage Naturals range and we cant wait to see what people do with it! The possibilities for lace and fair isle are endless when you add it in with our Dyed Heritage range…
In March the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers released their latest book of patterns – Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters Vol 1. The book contains 15 original patterns by designers and knitters in the Guild and based at the time of writing in Shetland. It’s an inspiring group of patterns ranging from small items up to garments and features a good range of adult and children’s items:
There are also three patterns in the book which use our Shetland Heritage yarn, both dyed and natural. The Shetland Heritage is slightly lighter weight than Jumper Weight. As it is Worsted Spun the yarn has a softness and drape which makes it perfect for people who find Shetland Wool slightly itchy – the Vailima Cardigan and Frances Frilly Pixie are both for children which the heritage is great for. The Tangwick Tank top in the Natural Heritage is a lovely lightweight top perfect for warmer days but also for layering in the colder months (more often than not in Shetland!)
Congratulations to the Guild on the publication of the new book, you can purchase it here on our website and we look forward to seeing Volume 2!
Hello everyone, today we are going to touch on something which comes up every now and again – the issue and differences between Shetland and Shetland Type wool. Sometimes it can be quite confusing but this post is just to alert you to the fact some yarns you see called ‘Shetland’ may be that in name only.
According to the British Trading Standards, the current usage of the word Shetland in Wool is: ‘A yarn spun on the Woollen system of 100% Virgin Wool.. such yarn being capable of imparting to a fabric the qualities of crispness and/or smoothness and soft handling attributed to the products formerly made exclusively from the Shetland breed of Sheep’ This is interesting as it shows you that a yarn could be named ‘Shetland’ but not include much or any Shetland Wool, but by imitating the spinning style or feel of whats attributed to Shetland Wool you can give it that name regardless of where the wool comes from or the breed used. Another point in the trading standards information is this: ‘where the term is qualified by the adjectives ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or any similar description, or quantified by the terms ‘100%’ or ‘all’, this implies the wool actually originated in Shetland.’ You will see we always talk about our wool as Real Shetland Wool, or 100% Shetland Wool etc – this is us working on this basis – to show you the wool originated here in the Shetland Islands from Shetland Sheep!
We know for a fact that there are many more products out there called Shetland than there is wool available. We annually take in over 260,000 kilos of local wool from the Shetland Islands (which equals well over 80% of the Wool clip) and what doesn’t come back to us in yarn and finished product is sold on through our parent company Curtis Wool Direct for many other wool products. There are of course other Shetland Wool producers and ones on the mainland but you will find in their description of the yarns they will explain this – the ones which should ring alarms bells are those who have ‘Shetland’ in the name of the yarn range but no other mention of Shetland or Shetland Sheep in the description.
We have a very interesting piece of text in our archives which comes from Alistair MacDonald who was a long-term staff member at Hunters of Brora, where we used to have our yarns spun before they went out of business in the early 2000’s. The folder contains Alistair’s findings and remarks on lots of different aspects of the yarn and knitwear industry and he has some interesting comments on the Shetland/Shetland Type argument, some of which we noted in our book: ‘When I think of the Shetland yarn on offer I am reminded of the bizarre situation with Cheddar Cheese.. the name Cheddar now describes a type of cheese not a cheese from the Cheddar Valley. Just as cheddar is now ubiquitous to the super market so now Shetland is ubiquitous in the textile market place.’
Our aim with this post is to highlight that ‘Shetland Type’ yarns are appropriating the reputation that Shetland Wool has earned over hundreds of years through our climate, culture, history and sheep. We are rightly extremely proud of our wool and if this is something which is important to you also, we urge you to ask questions about the origins of the Shetland Wool you are buying.
All photos on this post have been taken by us either in the Woolstore at J&S or at local Agricultural Shows and the top image was taken at one of our crofters farms in Bressay.
Hello everyone! thank you for your response to our last post, we are so pleased with how many of you are picking up the book, the digital PDF version is now online too.
Today i’m back with some photos from Shetland Wool Week, every year that it gets bigger I get less photos but I still got a good selection from what was happening in the shop.. We had classes every weekday alongside some free drop in events and it worked really well. We always have an excellent response to Hazels Fair Isle class..
And Felicity Ford was back again with her inspirational Mitts-a-long, this year everyone left with a full 8 balls of Jumper weight to finish their project started in the class inspired by a group of photos and a colour palette picked by Felix
We tried to fight the losing battle of keeping shelves filled up (if anyone can do it, its Sandra!) And we had more classes like Drop Spindling..
And a great evening event which was a trunk show for Jen and Jim Arnal Cullifords new book – A Year of Techniques which features a couple of projects in J&S yarns. It was great to see them again and celebrate the new book!
We loved this hat which features the motif’s from the Baable Hat, Crofthoose and Bousta Beanie!
We also had a launch event for our new book, and had all the designs on display. It was so good to finally have all the projects out and the book available. yippee!
Friday Morning was a bit quieter which was good as we had a lace class with Elizabeth Johnston, something which needs a bit of concentration I reckon!
But Friday afternoon was so busy! We had Oliver’s last tour of the week and a trunk show for Felicity’s next book, and everyone seemed to come for a look.. I don’t know how I had time to get the above pictures!
After work on Friday I crawled to the museum to visit the Hub and admire the knitwear on display and the merchandise, I love the sweatshirts! (I bought one, of course!)
On Saturday Me, Kharis and Sandra were at the shop but i nipped over to Gremista farm where we were holding an event together with Eric at the farm and Vispring. Unfortuantely the Flock Book event fell outside Wool Week so we decided to have an event with sheep, food and farmers which went down really well and we are already thinking about how to make next year better!
Aah, all in all another successful Wool Week. There is such an amazing range of events on all week and this is just a small slice of what happened at J&S, happy knitting!
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..
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