Shetland Wook Week is a wonderful event, where knitters, spinners and weavers can get together and just enjoy fibre and friendship. Everything is based out of the Shetland Museum on the waterfront and the “Hub” is a gathering spot where you can just sit and knit and meet people. The Museum itself is amazing and gives a wonderful overview of the history of the Island, including the Gunnister Man who was believed to be from the 1700s. While his remains are long gone, his clothing survived and gave us a fascinating example of dress at that time, including a Fair Isle purse! There are amazing collections of textiles as well, and Dr Carol Christianson is a font of knowledge for the history of Shetland lace, knitting and fabric. Check out this LINK to hear more from Dr Christianson
It is really easy to book too many classes for SWW, but they are an ideal way to meet people and learn something new. One of my favourite classes was Shetland Lace Knitting. We sat with a local woman who taught us some of the classic Shetland lace patterns with organic wool using varying weights of yarns and different sizes of needles. I am lace-phobic, but I really enjoyed this and even bought a couple of balls of J&S laceweight yarn to try a scarf!
One of my personal goals for SWW was to learn how to do colour planning in Fair Isle knitting. I think, having been brought up on Shetland, that the local ladies have an inate sense of how colours work together for this technique, but I do not! I think my favourite knitwear designer on Shetland is Wilma Malcolmson. I treated myself to some of her work last year. I took a class with her this year and got some ideas but I was particularly fascinated with how she uses pictures and landscapes for colour inspiration. I have attached some photos to demonstrate
I’m not sure how many of you watch the Shetland Series on Netflix, but we found a few of the spots where the filming occurred. The locals all participate as extras in the filming, so it isn’t uncommon to recognize a few of them! Last year, I was fortunate to go to a talk by Ann Cleaves, who was launching another book in her Shetland series. She had a local man on stage as he was the Island coordinator for the producers. He had so many funny stories of how the producers changed things….ie., In the series, the character Michael Thompson, was shot on the edge of a cliff after he had apparently run from a local croft. Well, the Shetlanders were quite peeved because the croft was several kilometers away from the Cliffs of Eshaness….an impossible run! Anyhow, if you want to see the beautiful scenery of the Island, this is a great series to watch
(Jimmy Perez house, 2 shots from Raven Black and the Cliffs of Eshaness )
And, of course, we saw all of the knitting celebrities! Andrew and Andrea of Fruity Knitting, Felicity Ford, Donna Smith, Gudrun Johnston, Marie Wallin and Hazel Tindall (the world’s fastest knitter)
But the best part of the trip, was just the Island itself. There is something other-wordly about this place. It is desolate as the interior is just peat bogs, but the coastal scenery is breath-taking. I could move there in a heartbeat ….and I have a little “croft hoose” in mind! Shetland feels like it is removed from the rest of the world. It is barren, forboding in areas, windy, rainy, and yet it will draw you back. I will leave you with some random shots from our Great Adventure