Shetland and Yorkshire

I’ve had a few queries about yesterday’s post . . . Jules asked a good question about the relationship between Shetland and Yorkshire, so I thought I’d explain. Jamieson and Smith and the Real Shetland Company exist under the same umbrella. You might have read Oliver Henry’s Wovember post (if you haven’t, do go and have a look) – – Oliver is the linchpin of this relationship. The crofters bring their fleeces to Jamieson & Smith (who, on the Shetland islands, are simply known as “The Woolbrokers”), where Oliver sorts the wool into its different grades. . .

(Oliver Henry, sorting Shetland wool)

After hand sorting, the wool goes on a trip to West Yorkshire (the heart of the British wool industry), to be processed at the Haworth scouring plant that I mentioned yesterday.

YORKSHIRE: wool’s own country.

While the finer grades of Shetland are set aside to make up Jamieson & Smith’s flagship yarns, such as the Supreme laceweight, or jumperweight, that I used for my Rams & Yowes blanket, the lower grades are used for the blankets, rugs, carpeting, and mattresses now produced by the Real Shetland Company. What is great about all of this is that nothing is wasted, and that ultimately, this great range of wool products goes back to supporting the sheep on the Shetland hill, and the crofters that raise them.

(Shetland rams at Lunna Farm)

At a time when many British sheep fleeces aren’t worth the price of the shearing, and are simply being burnt or discarded, what Jamieson and Smith and the Real Shetland Company are doing is to be loudly applauded. I come into the equation simply because I love their wool, I like what they do, and I am proud to support the skills of someone like Oliver — because, in the end, it is these skills (along with the sheep, of course) that enable my enjoyment in my work as a knitter and designer.

Anyway, I’ve also had a few emails and rav messages from some of you who were unable to apply the discount I mentioned – if you contact Adam at the Real Shetland Company ( and tell him which blanket you’d like, he will apply the discount and sort things out for you.