Shetland Wool Week… in the South!

Greetings, Comrades!

Since 2013, the turn towards Autumn has seen me sorting out final details for classes and deciding what to pack for Shetland Wool Week. This year – for several practical reasons – I’m not going (BOO!). Instead I shall be beavering away on multiple projects here, where I live, 800 miles South of what can only be described as one of the greatest woolly gatherings on Earth.

Kirsty Farquhar, Misa Hay and Selina May-Miller - team Shetland Wool Week, 2015, holding Donna Smith's Baa-ble hat and Baa-ble
Kirsty Farquhar, Misa Hay and Selina May-Miller – team Shetland Wool Week, 2015, holding Donna Smith’s Baa-ble hat and Baa-ble

The incredible team at Promote Shetland have turned Shetland Wool Week into a World Class Event featuring an exciting set of workshops; a rich activities programme; opportunities to meet Shetland sheep and to learn about the supply chain for Shetland wool; and – most importantly – an amazing chance to meet and learn from the supremely skilled wool workers of Shetland.

Jan Robertson at the Shetland Woolbrokers
Jan Robertson at the Shetland Woolbrokers

If you are in any doubt at all about how much I love Shetland and in particular, Shetland Wool Week, please watch my song, composed for Shetland Wool Week 2013.

I’m sad not to be going this year, and I’m also sure I’m not the only person with a serious dose of FOMO*. To remedy this, I’ve decided that if I can’t go to Wool Week then maybe I can bring a bit of Wool Week here. Towards that end, I’ll be writing much more about Shetland here in coming days with a particular Wool Week focus between 24th September – 2nd October. I’m also creating several Shetland-themed activities in which you can join in if you would like.

The first of these is a special KNITSONIK Mitts-a-long devised to coincide with Wool Week. As I am sure you know, Shetland Wool Week is the birthplace of my Quotidian Colourwork class, on which the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is based. A highlight of my year is traveling to Shetland to teach this class and to meet with the wondrous knitters who attend and who are, like me, excited about translating everyday inspirations into stranded colourwork. I will dearly miss seeing what comrades do with yarn, pictures, imagination and needles, and the Mitts-a-long is a way of having a bit of that experience distantly.

A swatch produced at Shetland Wool Week in one of my classes at Jamieson & Smith
A swatch produced at Shetland Wool Week in one of my classes at Jamieson & Smith

As in previous Mitts-a-longs**, the idea is to work together from a shared inspiration source and to use the Fingerless Mitts template from the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook as a canvas on which to develop motifs and shading sequences. The official cast on date is September 24th, 2016, and the bind-off date is October 24th! The timing of the Mitts-a-long will hopefully enable us to converge in the KNITSONIK Ravelry group and the KNITSONIK Facebook group and to knit on our mitts while Shetland Wool Week is taking place.

For the Shetland Wool Week Mitts-a-long, I’ve produced two editions of my KNITSONIK Fingerless Mitts templates, each with a Shetland theme. One is based on Shetland Knitting Sheaths – about which I wrote last year – and the other is based on the Shetland Croft House Museum. I chose these inspiration sources because each of them speaks directly to Shetland’s knitting history and because I wanted to offer both a muted palette and also something very bright in order to suit different knitterly preferences.

Shetland Knitting Sheaths held in the Shetland Museum and Archives
Shetland Knitting Sheaths held in the Shetland Museum and Archives
The Shetland Croft House Museum in Dunrossness
The Shetland Croft House Museum in Dunrossness

The printed patterns contain clear instructions for knitting a pair of mitts; blank chart templates in which to sketch your own motifs; several inspiring photos from which to work; and links to a Dropbox folder in which you can find extra information about each inspiration source plus large copies of my photos to print out or keep on your phone or computer for easy reference while knitting.

Shetland Knitting Sheaths Mitts-a-long pattern (cover detail)
Shetland Knitting Sheaths Mitts-a-long pattern (cover detail)
Shetland Croft House Museum Mitts-a-long pattern (cover detail)
Shetland Croft House Museum Mitts-a-long pattern (cover detail)

I’ll tell you more about the Knitting Sheaths and the Crofthouse Museum in coming days but, for now, if you want to join in the KNITSONIK Mitts-a-long as part of my Shetland Wool Week in the South celebrations, the best way to get your hands on a kit is to order from my friends at Jamieson & Smith or Purlescence. Kits cost £26 each, and contain 8 specially chosen shades of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight Yarn plus a printed paper pattern.

I hope to MITTS-A-LONG WITH YOU THIS AUTUMN!
Yours in Shetland Wool,
Fx

*Fear Of Missing Out
**To understand how a KNITSONIK Mitts-a-long works, you might enjoy this video that documents that last one we did on the theme of Magnolias:

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4 Responses to Shetland Wool Week… in the South!

  1. We need to bottle all the enthusiasm for Shetland Wool Week and spread a bit of the passion around the world!
    Thank you so very much for spreading the word. It is greatly appreciated.

    Adam Curtis will be in Shetland so do look out for him and see what plans he has for future product development. Also, share your ideas and wish lists with him you never know, if there is a will there is usually a way!

  2. Administration says:

    Thanks for commenting, Martin,

    Yes it would be great if we could bottle the enthusiasm for Shetland Wool Week! I truly think it is one of the most important wool gatherings in the world, putting a spotlight on a regional wool industry that has operated more or less continuously for over a hundred years, and enabling knitters to understand the whole supply of the wool trade in a beauteous setting surrounded by awesome native expertise.

    I’m sad not to be going in person myself this year but will tell all my friends to look out Adam during Wool Week and to ask him about his future plans.

  3. Deborah Gray says:

    We will miss you in Shetland this year, Felix, but I think it is fair to say you will be there in spirit! Your mitsalong will let lots of people have a taste of Shetland goodness even at a distance

  4. Amanda Richmond says:

    I’m suffering from a massive attack of FOMO too. I always feel grumpy at this time of the year when I’m not going to Shetland for Wool Week. But as its about 36 hours of travel time from where I live in Australia it’s not feasible every year. I hope to participate in the mitts-a-long and enjoy from afar here by the far south coast in sunny Australia.

    Thanks Felix! Although I’m sure SWW will be fabulous, I’m also sure you’ll be missed

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