With all the sheep walking about, was I tempted by their fleece or yarn?
But traveling with 12 other knitters, who were all wearing beautiful handknits? Killer. Being connected via Internet during the trip (as bad as connections were), pretty bad. Meeting with incredible artists on Shetland? Even worse.
I only brought one sweater to Shetland with me, which I finished on the trip and wore almost every single day. This is the Northmavine Hoody by Kate Davies from her book, Colours of Shetland. I knit the sweater with the exact yarn and colors given in the pattern, something I rarely do,
but after going to Northmavine (Eshaness), I was very glad that I did. I feel like I know exactly why Kate Davies chose these colors.
Handknits from this collection was particularly popular. I also had the Northmavine Hap from this collection, knit out of all the natural colors of Shetland sheep represented by J&S Supreme Jumper Weight. I had made this slightly larger so I can wear it like a true hap shawl (wrapped around and tied in the back), and I wore this shawl quite a bit as well.
(Photo of my shawl taken at Clove Cottages in High Falls, NY)
Another traveler in this group had a gorgeous Puffin Sweater. I do not think the photos do this sweater justice. It is an absolutely stunning design. And yes, I’m going to knit it,
..along with perhaps almost everyone else on the trip. I’m not changing the colors on this sweater either…because well, puffins!
We were traveling with Gudrun Durham (nee Johnston), so her designs were of course very well represented. I had my absolute favorite shawl with me, her design, Flukra (now I know how to pronounce it — “fluck-ra”). I felt slightly weird that this shawl was knit out of merino/silk! I will have to make this again in Shetland wool.
(Flukra knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Silk/Merino Lace in Grit — a club color way so it is, unfortunately, OOAK!)
Several knitters had Gudrun’s Mystery Knit Along shawls, Havra (mine, still unfinished…)
(Havra, in Wollmeise 100% in Safran, Sternschnuppe and Campari Piccolo)
I didn’t bring mine but someone also had a Laar:
(my Laar, knit in Wollmeise Lacegarn, Magnolie Dark)
and there were several Audrey in Unsts (which, mine is now gone and I have the yarn to knit another).
(my Audrey in A Verb For Keeping Warm Annapurna in Indigo Blue Sky — how I loved that sweater.)
Another popular purchase on this trip was yarn to knit Burrafirth out of her Shetland Trader 2 collection (I’m knitting mine out of GASP non-Shetland, non-wool yarn — this is French Market Fibers Uptown Sock in Gelato, 2 dye lots of Midnight on the Moonwalk and Olive Salad)
…and yarn to make Nikka Vord, my version in the same yarn as the pattern (Jamieson’s DK) but a combination of different natural sheep colors.
Of course, can’t forget what Mary Jane Mucklestone made me do (more yarn, more Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight but more about that when I talk about the fair isle knits we ran into on this trip.)
See what happened? It wasn’t the sheep. That is, until Uradale. I was “chatting” with Deb Robson via the Internet. She knew I was in Shetland, and she was telling me a bit about her encounters with the Shetland Organics movement (Her trip to Shetland last year can be found on her blog here), of which Uradale is a participating croft. Then she told me that the Shetland Organics yarns are (and I quote her here very loosely, sorry Deb) one of her favorite yarns, not just from Shetland but globally.
Well? What am I to do!? The sheep there were gorgeous, the fleece was beautiful, and I had someone who would know about these things basically telling me that I should get my hands on this yarn. (Which you, too, can be convinced, link is here)
So I did.
Then, of course, there was the dinner with Hazel Tindall. She brought along for us a suitcase full of her work. I am remiss in not having taken good photos of her beautiful sweaters, and pillows, and hats, but it’s because I was too busy listening to her talking about them. Well, of course, one sweater really caught my eye. So I asked about it.
And I did something about it. But more about that next time!