Tuesday, September 11, 2018
It’s perhaps a little early to be announcing next year’s dates when we haven’t even had this year’s Shetland Wool Week, but so many of you have been asking, and we appreciate that it takes a little bit of extra planning to organise a trip to Shetland. So… the dates for Shetland Wool Week 2019, which will also be our 10 Year Anniversary, are: 28 September – 6 October 2019. Add it your diaries, tell all your friends, and we hope you can join us to celebrate our tenth year of Shetland Wool Week!
And now back to this year.
We’re delighted to announce that this year we have partnered up with the supremely talented Shetland-based artist Gilly B, who has created an original paper cut design just for us. Some of you may already be familiar with her bold, colourful collages and fine art.
We love what Gilly has done for us. All will be revealed at Shetland Wool Week when we will present our exclusive range of limited edition SWW 2018 merchandise which features different images from her design. As always, the range will initially be on sale to those attending SWW and thereafter we will add the items to our online shop.
Shetland Museum and Archives is currently hosting a Gilly B exhibition which will be on display until the end of September. It’s stunning! If you’re in Shetland you’ll be able to enjoy (as well as buy) her beautiful fine art paintings, dramatic paper cuts featuring Shetland imagery, as well as a superb range of lampshades and cushions. They really are very special and very ‘Shetland’ (hint: perhaps consider bringing a larger suitcase…).
We understand the huge efforts that many of you go to attend our 9-day event at 60 degrees north. Equally huge is deciding what to wear! In terms of the weather, frankly, you just need to be prepared for all weathers – so layers are essential, as well as a waterproof and shoes that are made for walking!
But of course, what we’re really interested in is what knitwear you’ll be wearing. We would love to see what you’ve been working on – whether it’s a hat, cowl or jumper. If you’re on social media, upload a photo of your ‘SWW wardrobe’ and use the hashtag ‘swwmadebyme’ and we’ll share as many as we can.
We’ll be encouraging everyone to do this throughout the week and will have a special area at the Hub for photo-taking. And even if you aren’t able to join us we’d love to see what you’d be wearing if you were!
Thanks to Grete Sponga (@gretesp) for sharing this image of her SWW wardrobe: Tori Seierstad’s Fair Isle inspired design ‘Next Year in Lerwick’. Knitted in Jamieson’s of Shetland yarn it’s a bit of a show stopper. Can’t wait to see it up close!
According to public transport we are now in the winter season and there have been some changes to the ferry and bus timetables. Whilst we try and keep the SWW website up-to-date, there is a chance that we will have missed some of the changes. Please do check ferry and bus timetables before travelling to avoid disappointment.
We will also have timetables for you to look at in the Hub. Two changes we are aware of are the bus times to Brae/Ollaberry and the ferries to Bressay on the Sunday, so this will affect you if you are travelling to the ‘Another Happening’ exhibition in Ollaberry or the Chris Dyer Tour of Bressay.
For now though, summer is hanging on by a thread. September is often a changeable month with beautiful shades of light. If you follow us on social media you’ll have seen some of our summer agricultural show posts.
The Knitwear section is always popular, and the contributions certainly seem to be growing, which is great to see. One of the major draws is the ‘Colourbox Challenge’, which is sponsored by Jamieson and Smith. Eight colours are selected and the challenge is to create pieces of Fair Isle using at least five of the shades.
We asked Ella Gordon to explain to us how the J&S Colourbox Challenge came about: “The first year we did the Colourbox was in 2012. Every year since then we have chosen eight shades of 2ply Jumper weight (except in 2017 when we used the Heritage yarn) and the knitter must then use at least five of the shades in a garment or accessory.
The items are then entered into the Voe, Cunningsburgh, Walls (since 2016) and, from 2019, Unst Agricultural Shows. Depending on the number of entries they are then broken down into categories within the show programme. We go to the show and judge how well the colours have been put together.
Every year, just before the first show of the year (which is Voe), we choose the next year’s colours. We do this so that the public can see the following year’s colours and we always get a burst of folk coming right after the shows, eager to take part the next year.
The colours are chosen by myself (Ella) and Sandra at J&S, and as you can understand it gets trickier every year. Although people probably think we deliberately choose tricky palettes we do actually take a lot of time to choose them. When you see the shades together they are definitely a ‘palette’ and almost have a theme. This is something we have developed over the years and I think we have become quite good at it. We try to keep the palettes quite unisex so they can be used for lots of different kinds of items so we tend to avoid having a very pink or blue palette – but of course within Fair Isle knitting the most surprising colours can be found within garments so if a certain colour really adds to the selection, we will use it.
The best thing about the Challenge is seeing how the skilled Shetland knitters use the same eight shades to create such a wide range of items. It pushes people to put together schemes they would perhaps not typically use, and discover shades which they may not usually go for. By having the Colourbox at a number of shows it also allows knitters from all over Shetland to take part. Walls and Unst are catchment areas shows which means you have to live in a certain distance from the show to enter, but Voe and Cunningsburgh now allow entries from the whole of Shetland – so although you get some crossover of entries there are always extra and different things to be seen.
There is a wide range of styles of items which are entered: every year there are a number of ‘all over garments’ (either jumpers or cardigans with an all over Fair Isle pattern) Yokes, sleeveless vests and then a huge range of accessories: hats, mitts, gloves, cowls and home accessories like cushions.
Since 2015 I have made sure to get lots of photos at the shows so we can do a blog about each one. This means there are a couple of years I don’t have photos for but we are hoping to have an exhibition next year at Wool Week with examples from every years’ Colourbox so I am really looking forward to working on that with the Whalsay ladies who helped us set up the Colourbox.
We are extremely proud of being involved with the Colourbox and it’s one of our summer highlights to visit all the shows and see what people have made with our colours.”
Colourbox Shades for each year
2ply Jumper Weight from Jamieson & Smith
2012: 1, 2, 54, 93, 96, fc34, fc45, fc55
2013: 1a, 28, 82, 132, 203, 1403, 9113, fc41
2014: 118, 125, 134, 1284, fc7, fc11, fc43, fc58
2015: 29, 34, 66, 121, 122, fc14, fc55, fc45
2016: 71, 80, 82, 118, 9097, 9144, fc22, fc39
2017: Shetland Heritage Year – indigo, peat, snaa white, madder, moss green, silver, auld gold and berry wine.
2018: 3, 53, 66, 72, 87, 366, fc37, fc56
2019: 5, 16, 32, 23, 91, fc44, fc46, fc47
We’ll be sending out another newsletter before SWW starts with additional information for all those attending, so keep checking your emails.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
The long wait is over and we’re delighted to announce that the Shetland Wool Week Annual Volume Four (2018) is now available to pre order!
It’s packed with exclusive patterns and fascinating essays, against a backdrop of glorious photography which captures Shetland’s rich and varied crofting landscape.
There are 13 patterns, which include:
SWW 2018 Patron Elizabeth Johnston’s Merrie Dancers Toorie
Alyssa Malcolmson’s Tree Yoke Jumper
Outi Kater’s Antidote Mittens
Ella Gordon’s Einar Hat
Donna Smith’s Foula Snood
Marjolein Reichert’s Kliek Vest Cardigan
Tori Seierstad’s Skalavag Mittens
Anne Eunson’s Lunna Fingerless Mitts
Wilma Malcolmson’s Atlantic Lace Hat and Fingerless Gloves
Marcia Galvin’s Autumn Fingerless Mitts
Janette Budge’s Clickimin Cowl
Terri Malcolmson’s Banksflooer Mitts
Essays include Douglas Sinclair’s insight into the lives of the women who worked at the Gutting during Lerwick’s Herring Boom; Laurie Goodlad explores The Crofthouse Museum and uncovers what life was like in Shetland 150 years ago; Dorota Rychlik gives her personal account of rearing organic native Shetland sheep on the island of Vaila; an update on the Peerie Makkers Project; and Niela Nell Kalra shares her excitement about a creative project between young Shetland designers and the V&A Dundee.
Huge thanks to Alex Boak for the photography and part-time crofter and musician, Astryd Jamieson for modelling.
Priced at £19 it can be pre-ordered here.
Arrange to collect it at the Hub (located at Shetland Museum and Archives) during Shetland Wool Week or have it delivered to your home.
Monday, July 23, 2018
This is more of a reminder than a newsletter, just to update you on the SWW Premium Membership for 2018.
Back in March we launched our annual SWW membership, primarily as a way for people to support the future of the event, but also to give everyone the opportunity to receive an exclusive range of goodies.
For those who follow us on social media, you’ll have already seen the sneak peeks of the bag and brooch, but here they are again.
SWW Members’ wooden brooch by Donna Smith
Designed exclusively for SWW by Donna, this wooden brooch of a Shetland jumper features elements from the SWW Merrie Dancers Toorie by this year’s patron, Elizabeth Johnston (Shetland Handspun).
SWW Members’ project bag
This striking drawstring project bag features a bold red Shetland jumper, also inspired by 2018’s SWW hat pattern. It’s nice and roomy – perfect for all your works in progress.
Small (60ml) bottle of Shetland Soap Co Wool Wash.
An extremely mild, luxurious wool wash that uses lavender essential oil. Ideal for Shetland knitwear.
Membership closes on Sunday 29 July.
We’re putting in our final order at the start of next week so if you’d like to receive these gorgeous goodies, then visit the online shop for further details.
For everyone attending SWW this year, you’ll be able to select the ‘click and collect’ option – so no need to pay for delivery and you can collect your items on arrival. For those unable to join us, but would like to support us from afar, we’ll post your items to you, hopefully just before Shetland Wool Week starts.
SWW 2018 merchandise
Some of you have been asking about SWW merchandise for 2018.We are working away on a small range that will be available during Shetland Wool Week and, stock levels permitting, we’ll also add them to the online shop.
Can’t wait to share them with you at the end of September …
Friday, June 29, 2018
Now that the longest day has passed, it is officially summer! Bring it on we say. We can’t get enough of the long Shetland days and all the freedom and opportunities that the extra light bring. Until around mid-July we’ll enjoy the ‘simmer dim’ (summer twilight) when the sun only disappears for a few hours, bringing us almost 19 hours of sunshine. Those extra hours of daylight signal a season of opportunity and seemingly limitless options – whether that means exploring Shetland’s great outdoors; grabbing the chance to do more with family and friends; or to relish the time to consider and pursue new creative projects. Read More
Thursday, May 17, 2018
We’re on the countdown to the Shetland Wool Week 2018 programme official launch date and the opening of ticket sales.
The Little Box Office opens on Sat 19 May at 10.00am (BST). The website can be found at www.thelittleboxoffice.com/shetlandwoolweek
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
As always, May signals the launch of the Shetland Wool Week programme.
Tickets will go on sale on Saturday 19 May, 10.00am BST.
For all those who have signed up as members we will be emailing you the programme as a PDF file on Wednesday 9 May.
A contact telephone number will be issued closer to the launch date, in case anyone experiences technical problems on May 19th.
SWW 2018 membership
There is still time to sign up for SWW membership, which along with a host of goodies includes advance access to the programme allowing you the chance to plan your events of choice before the tickets go live.
We kindly ask that you do not share your advance copy of the programme with non-members.
Details on Premium Membership or Standard Membership can be found here.
Some highlights of the programme:
The programme is looking really great this year!
We’re delighted to see the return of many familiar faces and organisations. There are too many to list them all but they include Donna Smith, Hazel Tindall, Terri Malcolmson, Joanna Hunter, Wilma Malcolmson, Rachel Hunter, Janette Budge, Deborah Gray, Niela Kalra, Mike Finnie, Shetland College Textiles, Shetland Organics, Ronnie Eunson, Oliver Henry, Helen Robertson and Linda Shearer.
Shetland Wool Week primarily works with tutors from Shetland, but we have visiting tutors joining us too, including Beth Brown Reinsel; Sally Melville; Tania Ashton Jones; Anna Vasko and Frankie Owens.
We’ve added more weaving and spinning classes, with patron Elizabeth Johnston running two additional spinning courses designed especially for Shetland Wool Week.
As well as tours to Unst, South Mainland, Bressay, Uradale, Whalsay, Sandness Mill, North Mainland and a Walking Tour of Lerwick, there are vibrant talks and social events lined up too, plus a host of free drop-ins and exhibitions, as well as the Makers’ Market and Flock Book sale.
With over 300 events from morning ‘til night, there should be plenty for all.
Slow down, soak up the atmosphere, mix up your itinerary with a variety of classes, tours and exhibitions, and leave time to travel around the islands and appreciate all that Shetland has to offer. As well as learning new skills, Shetland Wool Week is also about meeting up with old friends and making new ones along the way.
We hope you enjoy the programme when it comes.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Annual Shetland Wool Week 2018 membership is now live!
This year we are introducing a few changes to our membership with the focus on benefits to you, as well as supporting the future of Shetland Wool Week.
Shetland Wool Week depends on its many supporters in everything it does. Your generosity is important to us and provides us with the life blood to continue delivering a varied and inspiring event, as well as helping to preserve Shetland’s textile heritage and its rural farming community for future generations to enjoy.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
It’s March and we are definitely still in the throes of winter here in Shetland. Despite enjoying a handful of brighter, warmer days which teased us with hints of spring, the ‘Beast from the East’ has caught up with us and the rest of the UK. Read More
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
We’re now in the final week before Christmas and, as always, it’s hectic with too many things to fit in – last minute work commitments, last minute shopping, pressures to get the house organized and the fridge well-stocked. Island life also throws into the mix the extra worry factor of bad weather and whether transport connections will run smoothly, or the supermarket and parcel deliveries will make it in time.
It is a crazy time of year, but there is no hiding from the fact that we love it! We enjoy the traditions, the food, the glitter and sparkle – and the chance to be ‘off’ and spend time doing all the things we love most, whether that’s cosying up by the fire, knitting, visiting friends and family, or making the most of the wonderful Shetland scenery.
We caught up with some of our Shetland Wool Week tutors to find out what the festive period means for them.