14th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Grand celebration launches seventh Shetland Wool Week

0 comments, , by , in Headlines
Part of the fashion show of local makers at the opening of this year's wool week. Pupils from the Anderson High Schools Maakin and Yaakin group were involved for the first time. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Part of the fashion show of local makers at the opening of this year’s wool week. Pupils from the Anderson High Schools Maakin and Yaakin group were involved for the first time. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The seventh Shetland Wool Week opened in fine style with a wine and nibbles reception at Clickimin last night.

Enthusiasts of all things woolly from all over the world were there, many sporting the croft hoose hat designed by wool week patron Ella Gordon.

Shetland Wool Week patron, Ella Gordon. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Shetland Wool Week patron, Ella Gordon. Photo: Dave Donaldson

She welcomed the visitors, and said she was delighted that the design which had come out of her head was now “on your heads”.

She paid tribute to all the knitters who had gone before, those who had scraped a living but kept the tradition alive, making Shetland the Mecca for knitters it had become.

Organiser Misa Hay of Promote Shetland thanked the guests for coming – a sea of hands shot up when she asked if anyone was from abroad – and thanked all the sponsors.

Museum curator Carol Christiansen then paid tribute to the volunteers who would be manning events from Fair Isle to Unst all week.

The evening ceremony is much bigger than last year. It moved from Mareel to accommodate growing numbers and ticket sales were up again this year. A snapshot of Shetland culture was provided for the 100-plus guests.

Chaired by Claire White, it opened with musical items from members of Hjaltibonhoga and also included Lerwick Jarl’s Squad and later a talk on Shetland food from Marian Armitage.

New this year was a fashion show, showcasing the best of Shetland design including a frock coat from Shetland Organics to a top from Hoswick-based producer Nielanell that could be worn upside down.

The fashion parade also featured the Anderson High School Maakin and Yakkin group who modelled their work. These girls are so keen on textiles they have been given the day off school on Wednesday to attend a spinning workshop at Hoswick.

Also new was merchandising, with wool week T-shirts selling briskly.

The visitors certainly appreciated the buzz of the occasion. Wendy Toye of Canada had organised a group visit – a venture

A variety of Ella Gordon's croft house design hat were evident at the opening. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A variety of Ella Gordon’s croft house design hat were evident at the opening. Photo: Dave Donaldson

that was a year in the planning.

“It’s my first time here but it won’t be the last”, she said. “I love it [Shetland], it’s beautiful. I’d always heard about it and decided this was time to come.”

Vancouver-based designer Bonnie Lefevre, who imports wool from Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers, said Shetland knitting was “enriched by heritage and culture”.

She added: “People are interested in ethical knitwear, they like to know who made it.”

Cindy Brown, also from Vancouver, was bringing a Shetland shawl back to its homeland to have it made into four BurraBears to be given to the people who had worn it at their christenings.

Margaret Parker from Leeds said she had always wanted to come back to the isles after visiting 34 years ago, and made her croft house hat with the pale green, orange and moorit yarn bought then: “I found it in my stash.”

And Janet Major from Norfolk had made her hat with wool dyed with meadowsweet and madder plants.

Shetland College textile student Marcia Galvin said: “It’s really exciting being surrounded by people who are so passionate about all aspects of knitting, weaving and dyeing, everyone just wants to mix and share [their ideas].”

Oliver Henry of Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers, who started the first wool week under the instruction of Bradford-based parent company Curtis Wool Direct, said the expansion for wool week from its relatively small beginnings was “quite humbling”.

He added: “It’s like a big ball of wool gathering momentum, it’s great for the isles.”

Rosalind Griffiths

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.