The eighth Shetland Wool Week will be kicking off on Saturday for a nine-day celebration of Shetland’s textile heritage and wool and crofting communities.
Run by the Shetland Amenity Trust, the festival is going from strength to strength and expects to welcome some 500 visitors from all over the world.
Events, talks, demonstrations, workshops, and tours are planned for every day of the week and take place from the very south to the north of the isles.
In addition to many tutors from the local community, including Donna Smith, Hazel Tindall, Elizabeth Johnston, Niela Kalra, Joanna Hunter, Anne Eunson and Terri Malcolmson, there are also a number of visiting tutors with a focus on Iceland and Sweden.
This year the programme is bigger than ever with over 300 events taking place, which include knitting, weaving, spinning, felting, crochet, colourwork, dyeing, tours and talks as well as a host of free exhibitions, demonstrations and drop-in events.
The festival has become important date in Shetland’s calendar and has a growing number of supporters.
Carol Christiansen from Shetland Museum said: “While Shetland Wool Week has always been about wool, we have been surprised and delighted that so many participants are thirsty for information about Shetland’s cultural heritage too.
“The community museums and groups play a crucial role and it’s encouraging to see the range of open days, demonstrations and exhibitions open to everyone, taking place in community halls, such as Ollaberry, Whalsay, Unst and Yell.”
The wool week “hub”, which is located in the Gadderie at the museum, will be open all week from 10am to 7.30pm. Everyone is encouraged to drop by to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and take in the special exhibitions.
We’ve got a great line-up for this year’s opening ceremony. VICTORIA TAIT
Copies of the Shetland Wool Week Annual 2017 – now in its third edition – will be launched there on Saturday. The annual, which in the past had been an instant sell-out, features 12 knitting patterns from local and international designers and five essays.
There will also be a range of wool week merchandise available, featuring a specially commissioned motif by Natty Maid of a striking black and white Fair Isle jumper mounted on a jumper board, inspired by a 1913 child’s jumper from Fair Isle in the museum’s textile collection.
Another highlight is the makers’ market on Saturday 30th September at Islesburgh Community Centre from 11am to 4pm, a popular event and features a broad range of producers who do not typically appear at other craft events.
The opening ceremony takes places on Sunday at Clickimin. Tickets are already sold out but the opening will be streamed live on the wool week Facebook page from 7pm to 9pm.
Co-ordinator Victoria Tait said: “We’ve got a great line-up for this year’s opening ceremony, with talks, a discussion panel, light bites from the Speldiburn Cafe in Bressay using local produce, as well as music from Vair.
“It will also be our second wool week fashion show, which has been curated by Faye Hackers of Shetland College. For those who are unable to attend the opening, there will be a chance to see the garments throughout the week as they will be on display at the Old Bressay School from Monday until Sunday 1st October.
“There’s a real buzz and enthusiasm for the event and we’re looking forward to welcoming people from near and far. Keep a look out for all the ‘Bousta Beanies’ as designed by this year’s wool week patron Gudrun Johnston.”