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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
*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: