Workshop and event tickets for the 2014 Shetland Wool Week, 4 – 12 October, went on sale today!

For the last two years I have been extremely fortunate to go to Shetland Wool Week, although sadly this year I will have to give it a miss.  Despite this I have still been spending time exploring the forthcoming programme and ‘oohing and aahing’ over the comprehensive selection of events on offer.  When the temperature in the house dropped earlier today I found myself reaching for my Kate Davies Warriston.  Knitted in Jamieson & Smith Soft Spun Aran weight, I bought during Shetland Wool Week 2012, this is a jumper I’d love to knit again and again working my way through a few more of the gorgeous colours in the J & S Aran weight range!  Whether knitting, spinning, weaving or dyeing Shetland wool and everything it stands for sits at the heart of the week.  My knowledge of Shetland and its textile industry continues to grow as does my stash of Shetland yarn! J & S Natural Yarn

Organic Shetland Yarn

So if you are fortunate enough to make it to Shetland Wool Week this year, save your pennies and take an empty bag for all that extra stash and textile goodies that await you!

All this talk of Shetland Wool Week has seen me revisiting photos and projects from last October where I spent eight days immersed in total woolliness!   Time spent rekindling and making new crafting friendships.  Hours refreshing, exploring and learning new textiles skills.  A period of being totally inspired by people, history and landscape.  I came away with so many projects on the go and a head full of creative ideas.  I attended a number of workshops, visited exhibitions, spent many an hour talking to other knitters, walked the streets of Lerwick (often!) and ventured out into the countryside.  If you get the opportunity to go to this fantastic event – Go!  It truly is an incredible experience – here are just a few of my many 2013 highlights . . .

The sand tombolo at St Ninian’s – a place where the sound of the waves lapping the shoreline and the wind whistling through provide a clear contemplation space and the opportunity to seek inspiration for future textile projects.

St Ninians

A weaving workshop with Emma Blain of Aamos Designs – My knitting friend, Norma, and I had a fun day choosing designs, colours and making a cushion cover.  It provided a great introduction to weaving, whetting my appetite to explore this craft further at some stage.


 Our finished weaving ready to be made into a cushion cover.

Photo courtesy of Norma Jackson

Photo courtesy of Norma Jackson.

Exploring Abstract Cabling and Gansey Patterning with Di Gilpin – who captivated us with her knitting history, ethos and fascinating designs, and here is a peak at what we got up to.

Di Gilpin

The Opening Ceremony – this saw the launch of the Textiles History of Shetland book, reviewed here by Kate Davies.  What a fab cake!

Book & Cake

The Sheep to Shop Textiles Tour – In the morning a visit to Burland Croft where Mary and Tommy Isbister were incredible hosts passionately sharing an insight into their crofting lives.  Some of their sheep were more camera shy than others!


The Sheep to Shop Textiles Tour – In the afternoon a trip to Easthouse, a restored croft now a Heritage Centre.

Easter House, Burra


Michelle, our host, prepared an amazing lunch, consisting of homemade reestit mutton soup and bannocks accompanied by some tasty local Shetland cheese.

Afterwards we spent a couple of creative hours knitting and chatting in front of the fire.

Although a small group we managed to represent Shetland, Orkney, England, Norway, Germany and Australia!



Visiting the Bod of Gremista – An exhibition celebrating Shetland Knitting provided another fascinating place to visit and meet up with fellow knitters.

The Bod

Shetland Textiles

The Aleatoric Fair Isle workshop with Felicity Ford and Tom of Holland – This gave a different perspective to colourwork where the entire choice of colours were all in the fate of the roll of the die accompanied by a range of rules.

Samples Felicity and Tom made using this technique.


The Hoswick Visitor Centre – Where fun and experimenting with fibre were the order of the day at Niela‘s Felt Memory Workshop.  We had all of this to play with . . .

Hoswick Fibre 1

. . . and with a lot of arm action produced these textile pieces, ready to be made into wall hangings or other items.

Hoswick Fibre 2

Vaila Fine Art – Hosted local knitwear and jewellery designer, Helen Robertson’s ‘No-Jangles Bangles’ workshop.  We got to use Shetland Organic wool from Uradale Farm, with fuel provided in the form of Sue’s delicious flapjacks!

No Jangles Bangles & Flap Jacks

And for some down time the Mareel – had to be one of the best places to chill out, catch your breath in between workshops, meet up with fellow knitters all accompanied by a cup of tea or glass of wine!  Knitting was even provided for you!

The Mareel - knitting

These are just a few of my highlights and I’ve taken great pleasure today in revisiting my photos and projects from Shetland Wool Week 2013.   A week offering an extensive range of creative activities, the chance to meet up with like minded creative people from around the world, in an area of outstanding natural beauty and at a place steeped in a rich textile history.  Even though I can’t make it to Shetland this year, the dates are firmly in the diary and I’ll be ‘revisiting Shetland Wool Week’ through the wonder of social media – see you there!


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