Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Vi-Spring’ Category

Seasons of A Shetland Crofter

hello everyone, just a quick reminder today about our Seasons of A Shetland Crofter competition which closes in a few weeks. We’ve had some great entries so far but we are still looking for more – To remind you we are looking for seasonal stories and photos taken in Shetland which show you the nature and agricultural aspect of our culture that crofting and farming have given us over the years..

We are hosting the competition together with Vispring, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Wool Week  and for some inspiration I thought I’d share some modern and historical photos we have shared on the blog before:

Sheep at the Voe Show

Wool just been clipped, Bressay

Berry Farm

Shetland Sheep and Lambs

Suprise Lamb at the Cunningsburgh Show

Clipping Sheep

Caaing Sheep

Rams at the Walls Show

You do not have to be a crofter to enter (I took quite a few of these and I’m just a toonie with a crofter grandad!) but if you have historical or current photos that you feel show the crofting or nature of Shetland we would love to see them, the prizes include a Real Shetland Wool Vispring Bed (!) and a two night stay at Sumburgh Lighthouse so its definitely worth entering.

The competition closes on the 21st of July and you can enter and find terms and conditions here. 

Seasons of the Shetland Crofter

Hello everyone, we have an exciting competition to announce, together with Vispring, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Wool Week we are hosting another competition where a Vispring Real Shetland Wool bed can be won!

If you weren’t already aware, Vispring purchases a large quantity of our very own Real Shetland Wool which they use in a number of their bed ranges, including the stunning Shetland Superb and Shetland Bedstead models.

Vispring has been making beds since 1901 and they are world renowned for their bespoke, made to measure beds and mattresses. in 2011 we hosted a competition with Vispring which led to the publication of Real Shetland Yarns – a book filled with the stories of Shetlanders (sadly now out of print) and the chance for someone to win a Shetland Bed!

Now 8 years later we want to do the same and hope the response will be just as good as it was the first time. As this is a competition to celebrate the Shetland Crofter and Farmer we ask that all entries and entrants are connected to Shetland as we want the bed to come back here (for more information see the rules linked below) but as we want to publish another book we hope you will all be interested in the competition.

Seasons of the Shetland Crofter Competition

Welcome to The Seasons of the Shetland Crofter Competition where we will give you the chance to win a selection of prizes including a luxury Vispring Real Shetland Wool Bed! We at J&S and our good friends Vispring have long admired the Shetland Crofting Community for the hard work and care that they put into tending for their sheep, the efforts of which provide us with the Real Shetland Wool that we use in our wide-range of products.

Together with Shetland Amenity Trust, we would like to celebrate the work of the Shetland Crofter by collating a selection of photos, stories and videos to promote the Crofting Industry.

All featured story and photographic entries will be compiled in a special Vispring sponsored ‘Seasons of the Shetland Crofter’ book which will be officially launched at the 10th annual Shetland Wool Week 2019.

All winning video entries will be hosted on a J&S YouTube page.

Entry Guidelines

We would like to see what you believe defines the Shetland Crofter throughout the seasons and ask that all entries depict scenes or memories from a specific season (Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter).

Entrants may enter multiple submissions but are only eligible to win one prize in total.

Entries do not have to be current; you can draw inspiration from the past, dig out old family photographs or videos or take new ones while you/your family are looking after your croft in the upcoming seasons of 2019!

All photographic submissions are welcome but we recommend entries be in their original quality or scanned to at least 300dpi and uploaded via the MailBigFile upload form (see the link below) – max file size is 4GB.

All video entries must be between 1-3min long and submitted in their original format via the MailBigFile upload form  – max file size is 5GB.

Example entries:

A photograph of family members out on their croft, tending to their sheep on a bright Summer’s day…Or An early morning Spring-time video taken by a Crofter on his/her way to check on their sheep…Or A memorable story of your grandparents out on the croft, bringing in their sheep one cold Winter…

Our main stipulation is that all entries depict what you believe defines Shetland crofting life in one of the changing seasons – this is a competition about the Shetland Crofter, for the Shetland Crofter (please see competition rules linked below).

Prizes All entries will be sorted into their respective season and winning submissions will be selected by a judging panel made up of representatives from J&S, Vispring and Shetland Amenity Trust.

Prize structure consists of:


(Defined by the best overall entry as selected by the judging panel)

Vispring Real Shetland bed set* (for Shetland residents only)
Two-night stay at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse courtesy of Shetland Amenity Trust (to be claimed within 1 year)
Copy of the Seasons of the Shetland Crofter book

1st Place per Category:
£100 in cash or J&S vouchers
Vispring branded J&S RSW throw
Copy of the Seasons of the Shetland Crofter book

Shortlist Entries per category:
Vispring branded J&S RSW throw
Copy of the Seasons of the Shetland Crofter book
Pair of J&S Real Shetland Wool socks

How to enter

To enter and for all the competition rules please click here.

Last Few Days of Wool Week 2016

I hope you liked our post last week about the classes at J&S during Wool Week, again I’m sorry it was so brief, I still can’t get over how busy it was! We were still working on Saturday but I nipped out quickly to visit the Makers Market at Islesburgh – which was pinned! Its a great chance for local makers and small yarn producers to show what they make to a very appreciative public.


My (Ella’s) Dad Smirk was there with Cartoons


Foula Wool


Students from the Textiles Course at the Shetland College


Kathy Coull was there with Fair Isle Yarn


The always bright and cheerful Neilanell knitwear


busy busy!

I came back from the Makers Market and me and Sandra headed up for a quick look at the Marts, every year the Flock Book have the sale of Pure Shetland Sheep and Lambs, its always good to see the Sheep (reminds you what Wool Week is all about!) Scott who works in the Woolstore had been there all morning as Oliver and Jan were judging the wool on the hoof so the next photos are all taken by him








Vispring always provides the sponsorship for the Fine Wool and I was asked to present it to the winners:


Me with the White Lamb and Coloured Lamb winners


l-r: Lamb White winner and Overall Champion, Coloured Lamb winner, Adult White winner and Coloured Adult Winner.

On Sunday after a bit of a lie in I headed out to Tingwall for the Sunday Teas held by the Guild, its one of my favourite bits of Wool Week..




As well as the lovely food there are brilliant displays of the Work of the Guild which is always so inspiring!


Sue Arthurs Handspun Handknitted Jumper


Kathleen Andersons Lovely Lace


Hazel Tindall’s beautiful Fair Isle

I hope you’ve enjoyed this more relaxed look at the last few days of Wool Week, we are just about recovered, but already looking forward to next year.

Happy Knitting!






Wovember 2012

It is already half way through Wovember 2012 and we have realised that all has gone quiet on the J&S blog front recently. So to contribute our little bit to this magnificent month we thought we would give you a little sneaky peek behind the scenes here to show you where all your wonderful wool comes from.

We start off in the wool-store, which could be described as the hub of Shetland’s wool industry with more than 700 local crofters delivering their wool – ranging from bundles of a few kilos to trucks full with a few tonnes in some cases – through our big green doors.

We then sort through the bags, fleece by fleece, to separate them into the different grades and natural colours with the finest being used to make fine lace and the toughest for durable wool carpets. The wool is then squashed into bales by our trusty old baler ready to be shipped and scoured, carded, combed, spun and dyed into the cushion filling, combed tops and lace and yarn that we send off to you. Some of it comes back to us transformed into beautiful rugs, carpets, duvets and even the life-changing Vi-Spring beds.

We sent off our last load of wool for 2012 yesterday which has left room in the main store to clear out the coloured wool-store and sort each coloured fleece into the different grades, ready to be sent away in the final load of this year’s wool season – usually in April – and processed into all of our natural, undyed products. This  final 12th shipment will bring this year’s total to over 240 tonnes of wool: a total which is usually greeted with a look of amazement from anyone who hears it.

When the products finally arrive back here after their long transformation they take pride of place in our shop that is joined onto the wool stores where they first became part of J&S as raw wool. The shop was expanded in 2010 to make it three times its original size and give all of our treasured woolly products room to show off. It is now much-loved by knitters who can rummage around, comparing and contrasting colours to create their very own Shetland Wool knitwear.

The shop also doubles up as the mail-room where we make up, package and send out orders from all over the world. This makes it a very busy place every morning until our postie comes just after 12 to take away the parcels. However, we love making up the little woolly bundles so thank you to each and every one of you who has ordered from us and helped support Shetland’s wool industry.

I just thought I’d end with an image of what makes this all possible. The humble Shetland Sheep with its world-beating wool in its wild, exposed habitat that makes it all so magical.

Real Shetland

We launched an amazing new competition last week…
Real Shetland Stories Competition. Capturing Shetland’s history.
Vi-Spring Shetland Superb Kingsize Bed, made with the finest Real Shetland Wool, worth £11,000.
A handcrafted Vi-Spring Shetland Superb bed will be specially made and gifted to the author of the Real Shetland Story that best captures an experience or memory of Shetland life in relation to wool.
Your story could be about
A long connection to something wool related – a life spent crofting or keeping warm at the fishing, or making and selling knitwear.  
A person who wore or worked with wool – a brother who lived in his favourite jumper, a granny who knitted constantly, or a dad who came home from the fishing with his jumper smelling of salt and sea and cigarettes. It might even be about an individual sheep.
A single garment – a favourite sloppy jumper worn in the 80s with a pair of DMs, a pair of work socks that have been darned hundreds of times, a Fair Isle allover that sticks in your mind, or the first pair of gloves you ever sold. 
Your story, memory or experience may be about a place – the bustle on the pier when wool came in and jumpers went out, a spot where shearing was done, winding wool in the kitchen, or a whole community’s connection to wool.
Entries will be judged by Shetland Museum and Archives Curator, Dr Ian Tait, along with local storyteller, Davy Cooper, and the Museum’s Textile Curator, Dr. Carol Christiansen.
The Project
The Real Shetland project brings together the islands’ main wool brokers, Jamieson & Smith, their parent company, Curtis Wool Direct, and Vi-Spring, who are a major customer of Shetland Wool, with Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Amenity Trust and Promote Shetland. 
The project highlights the importance of textiles and crofting to Shetland’s heritage, culture and economic development, and focuses on remembering and preserving knowledge and skills to ensure the future of our wool and textiles industry. 
These pieces of history will be kept to provide a rich source of information on Shetland life for future generations. Finalist entries will appear in a special edition book. 
Judge, Dr. Ian Tait said “we’re looking for personal recollections and photos that that bring back strong memories of woollens.  The idea is that we gather these evocative stories into a lasting record of wool-related memories.  It’ll be a collective “wirsit memory bank!”  We aren’t looking for the next world-class author or expert photographer; it is the story of ordinary folk and the part Shetland wool played in their lives that judges will be looking for.”
As the world’s finest bedmaker, Vi-Spring knows that real luxury depends on the best natural materials. That’s why their master craftspeople carefully fill each top of the range bed with Real Shetland Wool. 
Vi-Spring understand that the unpredictable Shetland weather and the largely natural diet of our sheep means that the properties of resilience, warmth, softness, fire retardancy and temperature control are carried right through to their luxurious beds. Vi-Spring also recognises that Real Shetland Wool is special because of the way it is and has always been closely intertwined with daily life in Shetland.
Entries should include a small written piece, roughly 100 – 300 words, illustrated with a photograph or drawing. The photograph can be of a person, a place, or depict an event. Include any known names, dates and locations. Photographs can be from a personal collection, or taken from the Shetland Museum and Archives Photo Library ( You might even want to show us a garment, a swatch, a piece of art, or even a stick drawing. The emphasis is on capturing the story. 
Winners will be announced at a special event during Shetland Wool Week, which runs from 10th – 16th October 2011. 
Entries should be submitted with name, address and telephone number to:
Real Shetland Stories Competition
Shetland Museum and Archives, Hay’s Dock, Lerwick, ZE1 0WP
or Jamieson & Smith, 90 North Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0PQ (where you can view a replica of the prize).
For more information or to follow the project:
Closing date:
15th September 2011
Terms and Conditions:
By submitting an entry you agree to your story and image being published as a book. All entries may be used for publicity and promotional purposes by competition organisers. Intellectual property rights remain with the author.  Judges decisions are final.

Real Shetland Stories, in association with Jamieson & Smith, Curtis Wool Direct, Vi-Spring, Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Amenity Trust, Promote Shetland. 
And here’s a replica of the prize in our Lerwick wool store (the winner will have one made to their exact specifications). It is seriously the most amazing thing you’ve ever felt. No kidding.
Want one. More pictures to come…

J&S Blog

real shetland wool

My Life with Shetland Wool

A journey in through time in Shetland wool

Jessica Davidson

Writer ~ Storyteller ~ Mystic

KDD & co

Award-winning Scottish publishing and design

Fringe Association

Knitting ideas, inspiration and free patterns, plus crochet, weaving, and more


a thoughtful take on fashion and music


I can make that, myself...or can I?