Knitting classes for bairns are due to start in the new year as part of Shetland Wool Week’s bid to make 2015 the biggest knitting year yet.
Also planned are wool-themed holidays throughout the year, with celebrations of Britain’s most northerly native sheep culminating in the official Shetland Wool Week event on 26th September until 4th October.
Shetland Wool Week co-ordinator Selina-May Miller said: “We are delighted to announce that we are offering bairns knitting classes, I think it’s so important that we preserve the heritage of Shetland and ensure that the skills of our talented knitters are passed down to the next generation.
“We have a great line-up of class tutors who are all really passionate about Shetland wool, knitting and are keen to share their knowledge.” Tutors for the first set of classes are Nan Smith and Rosalynn Fraser.
Nan has many years of experience in knitting, and has taught it in schools in Quarff, Cunningsburgh, Sandwick and Sound.
Rosalynn started knitting when she was five, and now runs her own textile business RoLo.
Tutors for the second set of classes are Sandra Manson and Ella Gordon. Sandra has been knitting for many years and has been working at Jamieson & Smith, the Shetland Wool Brokers for over six years. Ella has skills in hand-knitting as well as machine knitting and runs her own business Ella Gordon Designs, in which she produces machine-knit crofthouses. In 2012, she graduated with a BA degree with distinction in contemporary textiles.
There are two class options, one for absolute beginners with no knitting experience and one for intermediate knitters with basic knitting skills. The classes will run in six-week blocks taking place every Sunday in Shetland Museum with the first session taking place on Sunday 11th January.
Selina-May Miller said: “Shetland wool-themed holidays is another venture that we are also hoping to introduce in summer 2015. There has been a demand for this specific package holidays from previous Shetland Wool Week attendees so we are looking forward to giving visitors the opportunity to travel around Shetland and experience the Shetland Textile Industry. More details on the holidays will be available at the start of next year.
“The success of Wool Week builds year on year. Over 300 attendees travelled to the isles for the 2014 event to experience and learn about native Shetland wool and our textile industry and around 50 per cent of visitors were from overseas. So it’s the right time for us to be expanding our offering through Shetland Wool Week.”