Ever since I started knitting, I have wanted to go to Shetland to see where the magic happens! It seems to me that it is the place where sheep, wool, history, beautiful landscapes and amazing knitters all combine forces.
One day I will get to Shetland Wool Week, but since it is in the fall and harvest time here on the farm, it isn’t possible yet. But early this fall I did manage to embark on my first Shetland Wool Adventure.
I first learned about Shetland Wool Adventures on Instagram. Misa Hay is the organizer of this grand adventure (she is also instrumental in the organization of Shetland Wool Week!). The posts looked fantastic, so I suggested to my friend and mom that we three should go.
We have all been knitting for less than 5 years each and the classes seemed manageable, though the lace and hap classes had intimidating homework!
After two flights we arrived in Sumbrugh and were picked up and driven over some beautiful countryside to the main city Lerwick, where we would stay at the lovely Alder Lodge for our time in Shetland.
Laura Sharpe of Twin Oaks Fiber Farm on the left, with Donna Smith (centre) and Robin Reid Burke (right).
Deborah Lamb was our tour guide as we travelled around the island and she shared with us the great history of the islands. The landscape and seascape in Shetland is truly awe-inspiring. Oh, and the food, its fantastic, all of it, and there is a lot of it!!! We were treated to many great classes from Donna Smith, Wilma Malcolmson and Elizabeth Johnston. These are ladies whom I have followed on Instagram and always admired their work.
They are amazing, kind, gifted teachers who managed to take a rank amateur knitter to one who is confident enough to tackle a traditional hap and Shetland lace and who looks at colour work with a new perspective.
One of the things that inspired me in Shetland is how passionate the knitters and designers are about their own local Shetland wool. The great Oliver Henry almost had us in tears as he spoke about his fight to keep Shetland wool and its traditions alive in the ever changing global market.
Both of the mills, Jamieson’s of Shetland and Jamieson & Smith (The Wool Brokers), have and continue to advocate for the crofter and farmer to be sure the producer gets a fair price for their wool. Everyone is interconnected and understands the whole circle of production.
It is indeed a magical place.
~ Written by Laura Sharpe of Twin Oaks Fiber Farm