On Tuesday morning past I got up and went to Lerwick much earlier than usual to meet the participants of the latest Shetland Wool Week Textile tour. We all got in a mini bus with the very knowledgeable tour guide, Deborah Lamb and headed up to the Old Haa in Burravoe, Yell where I taught a class titled “Shades of Shetland”. Using a photo of Burra and twelve colours of Jamieson’s sprindift yarn which were picked from the photo, the ladies had to choose colours to plan and knit a Fair Isle swatch.
Unfortunately it was raining most of the day, but the time was spent either inside or in the bus so it didn’t really matter.
After lunch we headed to Unst on the ferry.
It stopped raining for a short time so we could hop off the bus and get some photos.
The point of the trip to Unst was to visit the Unst Heritage Centre which has an amazing collection of fine lace knitting made in the island. Unfortunately we couldn’t take photos but you can see some examples of the fine lace on their website here and examples of their haps and shawls here. This visit lead on very well on from the study day in Authenticity in Knitting I attended at the Shetland museum last Saturday. The lectures and discussion are now available to watch online here.
During that day Rhoda Hughson from the Centre spoke about the collection and focussed on a group of items that had been found in the old shop at Uyeasound in Unst. A box was found containing several very fine lace items and a letter dated 1881. The letter accompanying the goods was written by a James Moar and stated how he had taken up knitting as he was now disabled and couldn’t do anything else. You can read more about James Moar and an extract from his letter on Morag Hughson’s geneology blog here and more about his history here. As the original items as extremely fragile, items have been recreated and are on display in the centre. We were lucky enough to have the chance to see the original articles. I found it quite poignant and strangely emotional when looking at these pieces, usually there is not such a clear story about a person that goes along with an artefact. I wondered what he would have thought if he knew that in over a hundred years people would be viewing his work as a sort of masterpiece.
In other news, congratulations to Ella Gordon on becoming the patron of Shetland Wool Week for 2016! Ella has designed a hat pattern to promote the event, I have had a peek at it and it is really gorgeous, I can’t wait to knit it! The hat pattern will be launched next weekend during the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. If you are there, you can pick up a a leaflet form the Shetland Wool Week stand or keep your eye on The Shetland Wool Week social media sites as you will soon be able to download the pattern.
(From left to right: Felicity Ford, Ella Gordon, Kate Davies)
Have a good weekend!