Wool Week Monday and Tuesday

So we began Wool Week at J&S with a class from our Wool Week patron Hazel Tindall, Hazel designed a bookmark which involved a bit of Fair Isle and steeking! the perfect small project which everyone made great progress on in the 3 hour class

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We even had some finished ones by the end!

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In the afternoon we carried on with the Fair Isle with a class on Colour knitting by English designer Mary Henderson, Mary has designed lots of things using our wool and her use of colour is fantastic!

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Of course the shop was busy all day with lots of wool being bought so I only took photos when I got a chance!

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Today we had another two classes with the US based dreamteam Mary Jane and Gudrun who are both here with a tour group. First off Mary Jane took a class on Fair Isle socks

big1of course she brought her suitcase of Fair Isle swatches and soon everyone was knitting away!

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PicMonkey Collage

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In the afternoon we had a bit of Lace with Gudrun Johnston, Gudrun who was born in Shetland has a great pattern for a Shetland Hap, she had the knitters make a mini Hap which was a great way to try out all the elements of the shawl

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From the initial triangle, old shell pattern and the edging, in the mini-hap the students were able to try out all the things you need to know for a full size Hap!

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PicMonkey Collage

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Today the shop was very busy with knitters buying basketfuls of wool, Me and Sandra were serving all day!

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and lots of decisions to be made!

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Ill be back with more pictures from Wednesday and Thursday on Thursday night!

Happy Knitting! xx

Posted in colourwork, Fair Isle, Jamieson and Smith, Real Shetland Wool, Shetland Design, Shetland Heritage, Shetland knitting, Shetland Wool Week, wool week | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Wool Week Opening Ceremony

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So today saw the opening ceremony of this years Wool Week, it was held in Mareel and there were lots and lots of visitors around!

IMG_3556For something different this year different textile makers and yarn producers all had a table to show off our wares to all the visitors. It worked great and we got to speak to lots of people

IMG_3559It was hard to know what to bring so I just took a selection of the yarns and products we make. It was inspiring to see the other makers too, like Mati Ventrillon

IMG_3564Linda Shearer and Ina Irvine, mother and daughter super knitters from Whalsay

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And Kathleen Anderson, a beautiful lace knitter

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As well as lots of others. Of course like last year there was the fabulous Fair Isle Cake!

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and lots of Shwook hats to be seen, the exclusive pattern designed by Hazel Tindall, patron of this years Wool Week

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Oliver was one of the speakers who opened Wool Week, and as always it was interesting to hear from him the origins of Shetland Wool Week and amazing to see how far it has come!

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Cheers to a great Wool Week!!

Posted in 2ply Jumper Weight, Campaign for Wool, Fair Isle, Jamieson and Smith, Lace Knitting, Real Shetland Wool, Scottish designers, Shetland, shetland crafts, Shetland Wool Brokers, Shetland Wool Week | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Shetland Wool Week and Shetland Aran

 Can you believe we are nearly at that time again? Wool Week is nearly upon us and we are getting ready. We have something exciting to reveal that we’ve been developing for a while.. Worsted Spun Shetland Aran!

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As you know in 2012, two Shetland Wool Week’s ago we launched the original Shetland Heritage Range which we developed in conjunction with the Shetland Museum and Archives. This new range carries on from this and gives you a heavier weight yarn with the same qualities and softness of the original Heritage yarn, and of course in 100% Shetland Wool!

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14 traditional shades, all matte shades which makes it perfect for both colourwork and cables, the wool comes in 50g balls and a tension of 19 stitches and 22 rows = 10cm (4″) using 4mm needles. Just like the Heritage range this wool is Worsted spun meaning the wool is combed before its spun. This process puts all the fibres in alignment resulting in a very soft but very strong yarn.

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Sadly this means we are saying goodbye to our original Woollen Spun Shetland Aran range, we still have a good stock of most shades so its not leaving immediately but we wont be ordering any more of any of the shades.

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In relation to Wool Week though.. the shelves are stocked..

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The shop is tidy….

IMG_3532So all we are waiting for are some visitors..

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I will be taking photos all through the week, hopefully I’ll get a post up everyday but there are so many things going on I may only manage a post every two days.

Happy Shetland Wool Week and Happy Knitting!

xxx

Posted in 2ply Jumper Weight, Jamieson and Smith, Jamieson and Smith Shetland Aran, Real Shetland Wool, Shetland, Shetland knitting, Shetland Wool, Shetland Wool Brokers, Shetland Wool Week | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Wool Ride

During Wool Week there are many things happening all over the UK, of course we will be busy with Shetland Wool Week but in London the Campaign for Wool will be hosting their Wool Ride!

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from the Campaign for Wool website: Starting and finishing at Potters Fields on Sunday 5th October, the bicycle ride will journey through some of the streets made famous by London’s most prominent wool supporters, including the archetypal Jermyn Street. Participants will also be able to take in some of London’s key sights and hotspots, passing through iconic scenery such as; London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Knightsbridge, Park Lane and Regent Street. Commencing at 9am and running through till 2pm, this 13.4 mile ride, estimated to take around 1 hour 38 minutes, takes riders along a meandering route with time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sights of the capital at a leisurely pace.

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in celebration of the Wool Ride, Sandra has designed two free patterns which you can download and make yourself. The Rastoorie and the Bikers Hat. Both are designed to fit over a cycling helmet but of course if you use smaller needles or block the hat over a smaller plate (Sandra used a large dinner plate) it will fit a lot less slouchy. Although if you like that look, go for it!

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The Rastoorie uses lots of small amounts of Jumper Weight so its great for using up odds and ends and the bikers hat features a fun bike motif ‘cycling’ around the hat!

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for more information and to download the free patterns, click  here

Its been a very busy summer at J&S so we haven’t had much time to blog, but with visits from Kate Davies, Deb Robson, Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnson thankfully they have blogged about visiting us! of course the usual tourist season filled with cruise ships and holiday goers has meant for a busy shop.

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We are now beginning to get organised for Wool Week, and we cant wait!

Speak soon!

Posted in 2ply Jumper Weight, Campaign for Wool, Curtis Wool Direct, free pattterns, Jamieson and Smith, Knitting Patterns, Real Shetland Wool | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Natures Natural Colours

The Wool season is now in full swing at Jamieson & Smith, a recent spell of fine weather has meant that wool producers have had a dry early start for clipping.

a Shetland crofter clipping his sheep. Photo by Oliver Henry

a Shetland crofter clipping his sheep. Photo by Oliver Henry

As the wool store fills up, grading the clips is under way and our first shipment left us last week on its way down to our parent company Curtis Wool direct, to be processed and spun into our yarns.

the woolstore last week

the woolstore last week

While Derek and Jan who work full time in the woolstore and Robert, who has joined us for the summer season, get to work on the white fleeces Oliver has been in what we call the Middle Store sorting some of the coloured fleeces.

Oliver in the middle store

Oliver in the middle store

Since Oliver has been to see some of the coloured sheep on their home turf  recently we thought you might like to see some of his photos and hear a bit more about the coloured Shetland Sheep.

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Jim Lindsays Coloured Sheep, photo by Oliver

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some of the Robertson family’s coloured Sheep, photo by Oliver

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Two Flecket sheep, photo by Oliver

 Shetland Sheep can have a huge variety of colours and markings, in the past the natural colours were used for all types of knitting and for blending in Fair Isle. When man made fibres became widely available and the market for wool declined coloured sheep became a lot less desirable and crofters began to move solely into the white fleeced sheep which they knew the fleeces would be sold. At one point people were just throwing away the coloured fleeces as it wasn’t worth taking them to be sold.

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Jan’s Dad Alistair clipping, photo by Oliver

Thankfully now there is a good market for the coloured sheep, and some Shetlanders are actively trying to revive the strength of the different shades.  There are 11 main Shades with over 30 different markings currently recognised.

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Jan’s neice Keiva clipping a moorit sheep, photo by Oliver

Oliver went to see Jan and her family doing some of their clipping last week, and Jan’s niece’s were showing their clipping skills.

Jan's nieces Keiva and Arianna with Sally the dog and some coloured Shetland fleeces

Jan’s nieces Keiva and Arianna with Sally the dog and some coloured Shetland fleeces, photo by Oliver

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some of the coloured fleeces in the Middle Store

Once the coloured ‘oo has been dropped off to us it is then hand graded and hand sorted into its various shades and qualities.

Oliver hand grading a black fleece

Oliver hand grading a black fleece

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the different marks and colours can mean a difference in the fineness of the fleece

 As the quality of different shades can vary within the fleece, (Shetland black can be coarser than other shades, and dark grey is very course) each fleece is handled and dissected by Oliver and separated into grades.

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Thanks to  Kate Davies designs like the Rams and Yowes blanket, Sheepheid and Sheep Carousel  which all use the 2ply Supreme Jumper Weight the popularity for the natural colours is still going strong.

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The natural colours go into all our undyed yarns like Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, which comes in 9 shades

Moorit 2ply Supreme Lace Weight

Moorit 2ply Supreme Lace Weight

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And all the Shetland Supreme Lace weight  available in 5 shades as well as the Combed Tops and finished products like the Woven Blankets and Cushions and Jumpers. So we need as much as we can get!

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A Moorit Ram and Sheepdog having a stand off, photo by Oliver

Having a wide range of products made from the natural colours ensures there is a steady demand for this type of wool, meaning we can secure the future of the coloured wool.

Happy Knitting!

xxx

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

British Knitting Awards 2014

We have some exciting news, we recently found out we have been nominated in the British Knitting Awards 2014 in the Best Brand for British Yarn category. The nominees for these awards are made up of the readers of Lets Knit and Lets Get Crafting – Knitting and Crochet Magazines.

Brit Knit Awrds 2014There are 25 catogories covering a wide range of Knitterly things, from Best Sock Yarn Brand to Best Designer  as well as best Shops in different areas of Britian. We’re so pleased to be nominated alongside some of our stockists: This Is Knit in Dublin and Purl City in Manchester as well as one of our favourite designers and friend of Jamieson & Smith: Kate Davies

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photo by felicity ford

This is the first year that they have had a catogory for Best Brand for British yarn, this demontrates the popularity and high quality of British produced yarns, something we have always strived to highlight and promote! Shetland Wool has so many good features and its great to be recognised as a favourite British Brand.

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photo by felicity ford

Voting has begun now and is open until the 14th of September, if you appreciate what we do for the British Wool industry we would love it if you would vote for us!

voteforus-page-001Thank you to the readers of Lets Knit and Lets Get Crafting for nominating us, we cant wait to see the results!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A Visit to Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

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On a grey but bright Thursday Me (Ella) Oliver and Sophie who’s with us this week at J&S for Work Experience took a trip down to the very tip of the mainland of Shetland to Sumburgh Head. The reason for our visit was to see in place the carpets we have supplied the brand new Sumburgh Head Lighthouse Visitor Centre.  As well as seeing the carpets we got a great tour of the whole place from Angela Hunt, the Operations Manager.

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The Sumburgh Head Lighthouse was designed by world famous lighthouse designer and engineer Robert Stevenson, the lighthouse was constructed in 1821. Over 150 years Stevenson and his descendants designed most of Scotland’s Lighthouses, 7 in total in Shetland. in fact the Fair Isle South Lighthouse, designed by the Stevensons was only automated in 1998, the last  Scottish lighthouse to be manned.

Over the past two years the Lighthouse has undergone a £5.4 million revamp by the Shetland Amenity Trust and we are so proud to provide the 100% Shetland Wool carpets and mats for the brand new Education Room and in the accommodation within the Lighthouse.

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We began our tour in the Education Room which provides a panoramic view of the South End of Shetland. When we arrived they were setting up for a school visit and it was great to see.

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The Education will host School Groups and Tourist in the Summer months and Angela told us about plans for different classes to be held in the room in off peak season, and how it can be hired for private functions. Imagine the sunsets!

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The carpet looked really great. We worked with our Carpet Layer Robin of Nort Trow flooring and he made a really fantastic job. Derek who usually can be found in the Woolstore went down to give Robin a hand in laying them.

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We then moved onto the accommodation, which can be let by anyone. You can find more information about staying in lighthouses in Shetland here.

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The buildings have been carefully restored and sensitively decorated. Our carpets were featured again in the impressive staircase

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We hand-finished a lot of mats for the sides of beds, these were made from the off cuts of the carpets. Nothing is wasted! The building is floored in beautiful stone floors and having a wool mat at the side of the bed really warms up the room (and your toes!)

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We also have a number of our 3 Sheep Logo mats, a few of which were hand finished by Jan who works in the Woolstore

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And there is one lovely large 3 Sheep Mat in the Living Room which really makes a great centrepiece.

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A really lovely place to stay!

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We then went through all aspects of the visitors centre, which covers everything from being a lighthouse keeper to the nature all around Sumburgh Head.

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One of the most interesting areas to me was the Radar Hut which highlights the role of Shetland and Sumburgh Head during World War Two. They have recreated how the hut would have looked in the War

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The engine room has been carefully updated and gives you a timeline of the history of the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

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Of course we had to climb the steps around the freshly painted Fog Horn and see the view..

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And we had our eye out for Sumburgh’s most famous residents..

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puff2Lovely Puffins! Luckily Oliver had his big fancy lens so we got some great photos!

It was so brilliant to see the Visitors Centre open and see how many Tourists were around, we are so proud and happy to have a small part in it.

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Thank you to Angela for showing us around, we had a great morning!

Speak soon and happy knitting,

xx

Posted in Jamieson and Smith, Lighthouse, Real Shetland Wool, Shetland Wool, Shetland Wool Brokers, Shetland Wool Carpet, Sumburgh Head, Uncategorized | 6 Comments