Dark Fawn Shetland Heritage

Hello everyone, we have been having some lovely weather in Shetland the past couple of weeks. Not quite the heatwave which the rest of the UK has been having but we are used to that!

You will know that we are lucky to have a number of yarn ranges which use the Coloured Shetland Wool – from the Combed Tops to Shetland Supreme 1 and 2 ply Lace, Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight and our most recent yarn – Shetland Heritage Naturals which we launched in 2016.

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!

l-r: light grey, grey, dark fawn and fawn

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…

You can find it on our website here

Happy Knitting!

 

NKCAL 2018 Winners!

hello everyone! its time to share the winners of the NCKAL, there were nearly 600 votes so thank you to everyone that took the time to vote for their favourite. It was all very close in the results but..

The winner in the Garment Category is Alix:

And the winner in the Accessory Category is Eva:

So Congratulations Alix and Eva, I will be in touch by Ravelry message about your prize, thank you to all that took part and either entered or voted. We will think up another Knit A Long soon!

Happy Knitting x

Shetland and Shetland Type

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.

Happy knitting!

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.

Cunningsburgh Show 2017

Following on from Voe, last Wednesday was a bit brighter and Oliver and Me (Ella) headed down to Cunningsburgh for the Show, I was judging the Colourbox again alongside some other knitwear and Oliver was Judging the Wool.

I was put to work and worked my way through the Colourbox and other categories, there were some beautiful items in the Colourbox as always and the rest of the knitwear was of an extremely high quality too. The tropy winner for the Colourbox was the vest in the first picture, I loved the way the colours were put together and it was beatifully knitted. You can see above they also had a Bousta Beanie section!

The Wool is usually in another shed/tent but this year it was in the same shed as me so I was able to keep and eye on Oliver and his judging and after he was finished we started to make our way around all the other bits of the show.

There was a bit of a surprise arrival as you can see in the photo below!

This sheep obviously was trying to get on Oliver’s good side…

and this duck was interested in making friends too!

We had a great time as we always do at the Cunningsburgh show, the Colourbox is growing every year and I love to see all the animals. Cunningsburgh Show allows entries from the whole of Shetland whereas the others are all more area specific so there is always lots to see, it had 2841 entries in total this year!

Ill be back at the end of the week with our last show trip – to Waas, Happy Knitting!

Voe Show 2017

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!

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

Wool Season

Hello everybody, sorry it has been quite quiet on the blog this summer, we have been so busy which of course is a great problem to have. We are now in the heart of the Shetland Wool season and thanks to a pretty good summer so far the clipping has been happening in earnest so the woolstore is filling up as fast as they can empty it! Even with roadworks happening outside our door (we can still be reached from the bottom of North Road) we are averaging 2-3 tonnes through the doors everyday.

I took the chance on Saturday after the woolstore ones had gone home to take a few photos of the organised chaos, I find the Woolstore extremly photogenic and the sheer volume of wool in there never ceases to amaze me. We have shipped two loads so far and they are well into load 3 so you can see we are bursting (at the seams you can see above!)

These pictures sum up just a fraction of the wool we see from over 80% of Shetlands Crofters and Farmers in a year, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this peerie peek. One more thing thats happened this summer is Oliver has reach 50 years at J&S! I posted a few photos through the years on Instagram which you can see here but I took this one last week which just about sums it up…

Happy Knitting!