Archive

Tag Archives: Jamieson’s

With all the sheep walking about, was I tempted by their fleece or yarn?

IMG_0939

Not really.

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,

IMG_5460

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.

IMG_0931

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.

IMG_5373

(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,

IMG_5607

..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

(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…)

IMG_5231

(Havra, in Wollmeise 100% in Safran, Sternschnuppe and Campari Piccolo)

I didn’t bring mine but someone also had a Laar:

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).

IMG_9040

(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)

IMG_5540

…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.

IMG_5605

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.

IMG_1124

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.

IMG_5541

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!

Sheep on Shetland.

IMG_0932

(Sheep watching us in Eshaness)

IMG_1133

(Pair of stunning black rams at Uradale)

IMG_1173

(Lambs at Uradale)

They are everywhere.

IMG_0934

(At Eshaness)

On the road,

IMG_5453

(In Walls. Many roads are single lane so there are these “Passing Place” signs all over the place….along with the sheep!)

By the windmill,

IMG_5445

(In Walls, by Burrastow House)

Posing….

IMG_0938

(Eshaness)

IMG_5446

(In Walls, right by Burrastow House)

According to Ronnie Eunson of Uradale Farm and Gary at Jamieson’s, there are about 150,000-200,000 heads of sheep on Shetland, of which only about 50,000 are Shetland breed.

It still outnumbers the human population of about 22,000!

We think that white is the dominant color in sheep, but in fact, it’s the color that has been bred for and, again according to Ronnie, in a remote place like Foula, the dominant color is moorit.

IMG_1140

(Natural colored Shetland rams at Uradale)

I have been asking everyone I can think about for the last 6 months about this (due to some breeding that is occurring at Shepherd’s Hey Farm) and Judith MacKenzie said that white is not the dominant color for sheep, as well.

(OK, so I went off track. I’m sure I will be writing more about why I care so much about this soon.)

It’s because of this below. But…again, that is CLEARLY not a Shetland sheep and clearly not on Shetland.

IMG_0738

(“BBP”, Corriedale ram at Shepherd’s Hey Farm in Maryland, and Lucy checking him out)

On Shetland, we visited a few sheep  and fleece “experts” on the trip, including Gary at Jamieson’s;

IMG_1010

(Hi, Gary)

Oliver at Jamieson & Smith, who is a wool classer and has been working at Jamieson & Smith for 49 years (he writes for the J&S blog and there is a great post here about Shetland sheep and here about sorting and classing the wool);

IMG_1079

See? He’s showing us what is not desirable in yarn for handknitting (guard hair/kemp!) but perfectly fine for other uses.

IMG_1082

And Ronnie Eunson of Uradale Farm.

IMG_1158

When we visited Uradale, Ronnie had rounded up some beautiful natural colored Shetland sheep (mostly rams but there was at least one girl in there!) from his flock.

IMG_1135

 

IMG_1124

IMG_1126

 

So he can hand shear a couple for us.

IMG_1150

I know what you are thinking. How could I be in presence of so many sheep and not even talk about yarn? Stay tuned!!