Hello everyone! we hope your enjoying your Monday, just a quick post today to remind you about Woolfest! we have had lots of lovely weather the past couple of weeks here in Shetland but we have started organising all the lovely Shetland Wool we will be taking down with us to Cockermouth.
We will of course have all our ranges of yarn – from 1ply up to Chunky including the full palette of 2ply Jumper Weight and a small selection of kits for things like the Merrie Dancers Toorie. If there is anything in particular you think we should take with us please leave it in the comments below and we will try to make room in the van.
So you can find us on stall J210 and J211, for more information about the event have a look at the show website here
We had a great time last year so we are looking forward to our trip again and seeing lots of you in Cumbria in a couple of weeks!
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
Hello everyone, happy Friday! I’m back with the final installment of our trips to the Shows – this time the Walls Show – there are others which we wont make it to but these are the three which have the Colourbox in it so we always go! Last Saturday was not too bad a day weatherwise, there were a couple of showers while we were there (you can see some offending clouds above!) so me and Sandra had a fine drive out to Waas.
Me and Sandra judged the Colourbox and the most of the knitwear at the show, this is only the second year we have done the Colourbox at Waas so it is still small but growing so we were pleased to see the entries, there was a good amount of entries in the other knitting so we had our work cut out for us.
There were lots of amazing Fair Isle and Lace to be seen..
Again once we had done our judging thing we went for a look around at all the animals and other entries..
This was a very friendly kitten in the pets section..i think Sandra would have taken it home if she could!
And then we also made friends with the Goats (there is another version of this photo in the Shetland Times today – just know I set it up and the photographer swooped in!!)
I really enjoying going to the different shows and seeing whats similar but also different about them all. We were quite lucky with the weather this year but for our judging we are always inside so its fine for us! I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from the shows, we have already chosen the colours for next years Colourbox and people have been buying them already so it bodes well for next years entries. Happy Knitting!
hello everyone, happy Monday! We have had a busy time of Shows this past week or so, I thought I’d begin with the first one we went to last Saturday which was Voe! it dawned a bit damp but we are pretty used to that around here..
The main reason I (Ella) headed us was to judge the Colourbox Competition we now host every year with the Voe, Cunningsburgh and Waas Agricultural Shows. Each year we choose a selection of 8 colours which must be used to make something using at least 5 of the 8 colours. This this then broken down into categories within that. Voe has the most entries and they have lots of categories for the Colourbox, this years shades were selected from the Heritage yarn so it was really interesting to see what people made with the more traditional colours.
You have to choose an overall trophy for the Colourbox and the cardigan below was the winner, it was beautifully made and I thought the colours were expertly put together..
The Voe Show has lots of other lovely knitwear on display, from Lace to Fair Isle with everything in between. I always love to see all the skills we have in Shetland and its so inspiring to see it all together.
After I had done my judging I went around and looked at everything else, they’re is so much to see from animals to flowers and you can spend hours wandering around.. quite happily I add!
I hope you enjoyed this peerie peek into this years Voe Show, I’ll be back in a couple of days with the round up from the Cunningsburgh Show, happy knitting!
Hello everyone, I cant believe we are now into August! For us that means one thing – next month is Shetland Wool Week! So we thought this is the perfect time to think about a KAL for this years hat – the Bousta Beanie..
This pattern is a great introduction to Fair Isle but also an interesting knit for those wint with it as we would say in Shetland. It is a simple motif which moves in an even repeat as you go up the hat so it makes a great knit.
The most exciting thing of course about knitting Fair Isle is choosing colours!! I love looking on Ravelry and seeing what colours people have put together – you can see all the hats knit using 2ply Jumper Weight here. You only need three shades (two balls of your main colour and one each of your contrast colours) so the possibilities are endless and of course with this kind of repeat you can use multiple colours for your contrast shades.
So the KAL will begin on the 14th of August, I have made ravelry thread so until the KAL kicks off I thought we could use it to chat about colour choices, to enter our KAL you will need to use J&S yarns and it will run until the 20th of September, just before Wool Week starts on the 22nd. We will also use the hashtag #boustabeaniekal on instagram, ill be back next week with some ideas about choosing colours so until then.. happy knitting!
PS this next week we have the Voe Show, Cunningsburgh Show and the Waas Show which all have our Colourbox Competition so keep and eye out for posts about that!