Shetland Wool Week 2016

img_9749-2

Can you believe it? Shetland Wool Week 2016 began today!!!

ww1

Shelves have been filled and the shops as tidy as it will be for the next week!img_9752-2 img_9745-2

We are hoping orders and email disruptions will be kept to a minimum but we might be a bit delayed in getting back to you, just know we are working as hard as we can to keep getting orders out as fast as we can.

This is our busiest week of the year and we love seeing all the people who have come to Shetland for the event. We have classes every day and three tours on so lots to do!

We will be blogging throughout the week so keep an eye out for out posts about Shetland Wool Week at J&S.

Visit us at Harrogate!

knit&stitch

We’re so excited to announce our attendance at The Knitting & Stitching Show 2016 in Harrogate! It’s been quite a while since we were last there so we’re really looking forward to it.

Myself (Kharis) and Sandra will be there to meet you all, to offer advice and answer any questions you may have. On the stand we will have kits for sale, some of which will be available in our brand new gift boxes!

kit box

We plan to have samples of all our yarn weights so you can have a proper look and feel before placing an order. Also, we hope to have our undyed combed tops available for you to wind off to your desired weight.

tops

The show is at the Harrogate International Centre on Kings Road, 24th – 27th November, we’d really love to see you all there!

We will be back with more information nearer the time, but if you have any suggestions about what you’d like to see then you can share in the comments below.

 

Ollies Visit to Papa

DSC06467

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!

arriving

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.

DSC06397

Preparing the cro

DSC06435

Gathering the Sheep

DSC06432

DSC06428

James looks on while the sheep are rounded up

DSC06438

Brian watches as the Sheep enter the pen

DSC06451

Oliver hand shearing the old way!

DSC06463

DSC06466

Shearing by power – the modern way!

DSC06476

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.

DSC06517

All clipped and back to the hills!

DSC06538

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.

slater plaque

slater hoose

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.

kirk

kirk

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

crying knowe

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.

pbanks

map1800

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!

 

Save

Save

Heritage Hap Kits

IMG_8779

You’ll remember a few months ago I did a post about a pattern we had in the People’s Friend Magazine, we couldn’t believe the amount of orders we had for the yarn so we are very happy to say we now have the pattern available to buy as a kit!

IMG_8788

IMG_8787

The pattern was developed by Sandra from a vintage pattern, and she decided to use our Shetland Heritage range as it so closely resembles the old Hap weight of Yarn.

IMG_4980

The pattern makes a brilliant first Hap, you begin with the centre panel then pick up  each four sides individually and knit them. The edging is then knit and either sewed on or you can knit it on as you go. The slightly thicker (than traditional 1ply) yarn and bigger needles (it’s knit on 5mm) makes a quick but warm and drapey hap.

IMG_8798

If you order the kit you will receive Snaa White heritage but feel free to choose any of the shades from the Dyed Heritage and our new Natural Heritage range, just leave a note in the delivery comments box!

Happy Knitting!

Save

Shetland Heritage Naturals – a closer look

hello! Today I thought we take a closer look at the new addition to our Heritage Range – Shetland Heritage Naturals! Its only been available for a few weeks but its been flying off the shelves..

IMG_8748

When we got our sample cones I (Ella) rushed some home to do some swatches on my machine to see how the yarn would knit up, its spun to the same thickness as our Shetland Heritage but the natural yarns always behave a little bit differently than the dyed ones and I wasn’t disappointed! The yarn smells lovely and sheepy in the ball so the yarn feels a bit thinner until its washed, it fluff’s up and fills the gaps between the stitches beautifully.

IMG_8771

The heritage range has a beautiful soft handle thanks to being worsted spun, (see more info here) I knitted it on my machine at tension 9 for a quite drapey fabric but you can knit it with lots of needles sizes to get a different finish. Heritage yarn bridges the gap perfectly between 2ply Lace and 2ply Jumper weight and most resembles the traditional Hap weight yarn we used to produce, its a versatile yarn as it works for lace knitting but also is perfect for colourwork. You can see more about the story of the Shetland Heritage yarn from our yarn series post last year.

Here is a side to side with the yarn and swatch of each of the six shades:

shnw

White

shnf

Fawn

shnlg

Light Grey (a first in our undyed worsted ranges)

shng

Grey

shnm

Moorit

snhb

Black

The Shetland Heritage Naturals are available here and cost £3.20 per 25g ball, we will shortly be getting in some cones so keep an eye on the website for that, we are so pleased with our newest yarn and hope you are too! The coloured Shetland Wool was at one time such a unwanted fibre (people used to dump it rather than sell it as it was worth so little) that we are so proud to give it value and we now have a 1ply/2ply lace weight worsted spun, light 4ply worsted spun and a woollen spun 4ply yarn all using this precious fibre. By using it in yarns and products it makes it worthwhile for crofters and farmers to keep coloured Sheep and that’s always a good thing!

DSC00862

New Yarn Launch – Shetland Heritage Naturals

A few of you may have heard whisperings over the last few months about something exciting on the way from Jamieson & Smith.

We are so happy to finally let you all in on the secret and launch our Shetland Heritage Naturals…

IMG_8718

These undyed shades are an extension to our Shetland Heritage range which is an incredibly smooth and strong worsted spun 100% Real Shetland yarn!

The Shetland Heritage Naturals are a lovely variation to our woollen spun 2ply Jumper Weight for use in Fair Isle or other colourwork. Due to the worsted spinning process they are slightly lighter in weight meaning they are also suitable for lace knitting.

Similar to our Supreme Lace yarns the Heritage Naturals show off beautifully the natural tones of our islands’ native sheep.

IMG_8736

Technical info:

25g, 110m/120yds, 2.8nm worsted

Tension: 30 sts and 32 rows = 10cm/4in over Fair Isle pattern using 3mm needles

You can read more about our original Shetland Heritage range here and about the idea behind developing the Heritage yarn here.

You can see it on our online shop here!

Yokes

5816014538801152

a shetland knitter working on a V-bed machine, photo by Tom Kidd

Historically Shetlander’s have always had to have a few things on the go, originally we were crofters and fishermen and this meant there was always quiet times, be it bad weather, dark nights or rough seas you had to find something to do. In the height of Shetland knitwear fame many homes were equipped with large v-bed knitting machines like the one you see in the picture above for people to combine machine and hand knitting and to earn a bit of extra money. Prior to the Oil Boom of the late 1970s/early 1980’s many homes echoed to the sound of the knitting machine.

by the mid 1960’s, when the local press reported that knitting was beginning to become more profitable than crofting, many Shetland families were encouraged to purchase Passap or Knitmaster machines specifically to turn out sweater bodies, as well as yokes in their own home’

An excerpt from Kate Davies ‘Yokes’

Working in one of the many Knitwear factories. Photo: Unknown

Working in one of the many Knitwear factories. Photo: Unknown

With the introduction of oil and all its job opportunities and  wealth it was no surprise that locals packed away their knitting machines and took advantage of the Oil Boom and all its rewards. The skills of these cottage industries saw a deep decline, luckily there were still people in Shetland who had these skills and we are lucky to be able to work with some of them.

IMG_8329

We have designed a range of traditional Yoke cardigans using both our 2 ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Heritage yarns, we have partnered up with a selection of Shetland knitters to help us produce them – The body and sleeves are hand frame knitted for us by a maker in Whalsay, one of the outlying Islands and then we have a number of local knitters who put in the yokes and finish the garments in their own homes.

IMG_8317

The continuation of the Shetland Textile industry is always very important to us, that’s why we are ensuring to pay our knitters a good price for doing the work, we understand and appreciate the skills the knitters have and want to pay them rightly for these skills. We have the initial stock available on the website here but we will be adding to it as colours come back from the knitters.

IMG_8324

We are very excited about our new range of garments, and we hope you are too! If you don’t fancy buying a ready made yoke the pattern is taken from Sandras’ Hairst Yoke pattern which is available as a kit.

Happy Knitting!