17th October 2017

Shetland Wool Week organisers hail festival as one of the best yet

Shetland Wool Week drew to a close at the weekend with final classes, a sell-out Makers’ Market and a grand finale of teas.

Admiring fleeces at the Gremista Farm flock book open day in association with J&S and Vispring. Photo: Calum Toogood

The nine-day festival, which has been deemed by organisers a great success, pulled in crowds of around 600 people and included a bigger, more varied programme than ever.

Shetland Amenity Trust runs the event and this year was the eighth festival. Guests included people from the USA, Australia, Israel, Scandinavia, Europe as well as Shetland and the rest of the UK.

Wool week coordinator Victoria Tait said: “We’re really pleased with how smoothly everything has run this year. It was an ambitious and full programme, but we hope that we have provided plenty of variety and interest to participants.

“We have noticed that many visitors chose to stay for the entire nine-days, taking in classes, tours, workshops, talks, book launches and exhibitions throughout the isles as well as allowing extra time to visit the sights.

The drop spindling class with Deborah Gray. Photo: Calum Toogood

“Overall though, a real benefit for us has been the sense of community in the textiles sector, with many groups, businesses and volunteers pulling together to put on a celebration of Shetland’s rich textile heritage. We have received wonderful feedback on events that have been organised by the community, with visitors commenting on the detailed information, shared skills and warm welcome they have received throughout the isles from Unst to Sumburgh, Whalsay to Sandness.

“It’s been a full-on nine days and we really appreciate the efforts of everyone who has been involved to make this a very special, internationally recognised event.”

There won’t be much resting time for those behind the festival.

Ms Tait said: “We’ll have a short break now and then we’ll start gearing ourselves up for planning next year’s event.”
The dates for Shetland Wool Week 2018 are 22nd to 30th September.

2 comments

  1. Cassie Johnson

    As I first-time visitor to SWW and the Shetlands, I’d like to say they did a fantastic job! Fabulous classes, friendly helpful people everywhere, and an opportunity to make lots of new international friends. I learned so much more in the 3 classes I took than I have at other well-known knitting events in the US, because of the excellent tutors and small class sizes.

    I hope the SIC recognizes what a very valuable event this is for the region. Hundreds of avid knitters keen to learn more about this special breed of sheep and the fantastic artistry of the local knitting culture, and lots of £££ to spend on wool (knitted, spun and packaged, or fleece), who will go home and rave about the experience.

    I think the SIC has a very masculine-biased perspective on what Shetland needs for the future, and they are in danger of ignoring some of the most unique assets of the islands. Look at how the arts and music scene in Reykjavik pulled Iceland’s economy out of death spiral. Encourage unique hand-crafts, breweries and distilleries, and coffee roasters (the last somewhat missing around here), and you can grow an arts culture that pulls young people from around the world (ex: Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA. All big on the food/booze/caffeine/indie arts scene that inspires young people).

    Reply
  2. Jane Susanna Ennis

    I have just returned from my third visit to Shetland Wool Week, and I had a wonderful time. I learnt so much about lace knitting, finishing and blocking, and am now able to present my work much more professionally. I practised spinning, and spun on a wheel for the first time
    I also went on a visit to Unst, which is renowned for having the best lace…….fascinating visit to Unst Heritage Centre.

    Reply

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