It is Wool Week in Shetland, and I began it in this cottage out at Vementry. What a spot!







It was lovely to take some time out to visit my friend Hazel Tindall. I just love the part of Shetland where Hazel lives, and it was a real privilege to potter about her garden, and sample her home-grown produce. She’s certainly fared better than I with beans and soft fruit this year! I also explored some Westside nooks that were completely new to me, like Michaelswood – planted and maintained by the Ferrie family in memory of their son and brother, Michael Ferrie, and enjoyed by the whole community. I found this expanse of newly-planted saplings at the top of the hill very moving.


On Monday evening, I gave a talk at the Shetland Museum with my pal, Ella. Ella and I enjoy collecting vintage knitwear . . .


. . . and so we both talked about our collections, what we loved about them, and what we learned from them. Felix chaired the whole occasion with aplomb. As well as speaking to a packed audience, the event was live-streamed from the Shetland Museum to viewers in 9 countries all over the world! Somewhat daunting!


I understand from my friends at Promote Shetland that there are now plans to make the event publicly available to view from their website, so I’ll keep you posted.

It is really wonderful to see how much Shetland Wool Week has grown, and how it has been enthusiastically embraced by knitters and other crafty folk from all over the world. The opening ceremony was a really grand occasion! We were royally entertained by the evening’s knitting pundits, Felix and Louise, as well as by the Hjaltibonhoga Shetland Fiddlers, fresh from the Edinburgh Tattoo, who wore marvellous knitwear created by inventive Shetland designer, NiellaNell


Claire White was a wonderfully professional compere, and sang a beautiful song she’d written about Shetland knitting legend, Betty Mouat.


I could listen to Oliver talk about Shetland wool all day.


And I can’t think of a better Shetland Wool Week patron than wonderful Donna Smith – she’s someone whose warm presence just emanates her passion for knitting and for Shetland.


I am quite a private person, and I get to meet knitters very rarely. I really think this was the highlight of the week for me – and I found it quite humbling chatting to so many engaged knitterly folk! I’d like to give a particular shout-out to Gail, who, like me, was a youthful reader of Giovannino Guareschi, and to Ruth from Rhode Island, who is a very sweet person.

Its always so exciting seeing my designs out in the wild! Here are Betsy and Judie in Scatness Tam and Shepheid – the latter knitted by Judie from her own handspun.


Carmen seems one of those effortlessly stylish sort of people, and I very much admired her Hap for Harriet!


But it was Fiona who really made my day in this natty ensemble comprising Ursula, Funchal Moebius, Ecclefechan Mitts and Fugue . . .


Thankyou, knitters for being so very enthusiastic and inspiring, and thank you Shetland, for your bright full moons, beaches, birdsong, sunsets, the smell of peat fires, the sound of water, rolling hills, rocky cliffs, and your wonderful sheep and wool.


48 thoughts on “Shetland days

  1. Thanks for taking part in the livecast: I watched it in Cornwall, even getting it to play on my TV via the magic of screen mirroring! It was wonderful to watch and listen whilst pottering around my living room.


  2. Really enjoyed the photos and the story as I read and I would love to visit Shetland one day. I’ll have to check the internet now to see if we have anything like this in Australia…I think the gathering of people who enjoy the wool aspects, the people aspects, and the pattern aspects of knitting is really a great thing:):)


  3. Your lovely photos just make me want to go back there! We holidayed on Shetland in August an enjoyed some beautiful days, but it wasn’t long enough. I guess the last photo is St. Ninians Isle? Saw this view but there was no time to explore it. I wish it had been wool week. 🐏🐑


  4. never mind all that wool malarkey . you know don Camillo !!!!! .
    I too heart him but never met anyone else who had ever read the books !! to say I’m gobsmacked !!


  5. Hello Kate.

    Watched you, Ella and Felix on the ‘watch again’ thingy on TV3. Really absorbing and would have loved to be there. Does Felix have a TV prog also? Please pass thanks to all for making such an enjoyable program available. We in Oswestry have a nascent ( well three year old) yarnie/creative fest happening 9th October and have shared the Shetland link. Inspiration tomus all.

    Have a restful (?) weekend.



  6. Thank you so much, Kate, for this rich, lovely post! For 5 minutes I could be at Wool Week, too! I will be hoping to see a link to a recording (archaic word in this context?) of the the live stream of your museum talk.


  7. I dream of visiting Shetland one day! It has everything I love: the sea, gorgeous scenery and wool!!!!!!
    Thank you for taking us on a virtual tour!
    I have to ask, what is the beautiful knit you’re wearing in the third photograph? It looks comfy and cute and I really want to knit one… Might there be a pattern coming out soon? :-)


  8. I watched the live stream on Monday night. It was wonderful to ‘be’ there and maybe I got a better view of the knitwear than those at the back of the hall. I really enjoyed the event – amusing, interesting, inspiring. My Instagram feed has been full of landscapes and woollies, my vicarious wool week.


  9. What a treat! Thank you so much for keeping us in touch with the Wool Week and your wonderful life. cheers and YES, would love to see, literally, this on Promote Shetland. Keep us posted.


  10. I am just back from Shetland Wool Week, had a wonderful time, made new friends and learnt new skills. Shetland is beautiful…….I also enjoyed the visit to the Spinning Mill at Sandness.


  11. Thank you, thank you for sharing a wonder filled event. My desire to attend Shetland Wool Week has increased a hundred fold. I’m hoping to make it happen this coming year.


  12. I have two friends who are there right now from Missouri.They are sending back wonderful pictures and making me very envious not to mention homesick for Scotland – I’m from Aberdeen. Maybe i can go with them next time!


  13. stunning… inspiring… so many beautiful photographs filled with incredible knits and people!
    love the fiber community – proud to be a part of it!


  14. I am British, live in the Green Mountains of Vermont, spin & knit, and have managed three glorious visits to Shetland since 1998. Lovely to see Hazel, Oliver, Neilanell, and Elizabeth Johnston, in the reports from Wool Week. We are fortunate to have many sheep & wool festivals in New England, including the Vermont event happening this weekend.


  15. Thank you for your beautiful photography and report. It would be a dream to attend. Please ask that your presentation be made available to those of us in the US! I have been lucky enough to meet Ella and visit Lerwick! Thanks again!


  16. We have a marvelous gathering on November 7th of Fibershed’s organizing, with a wool Symposium at Point Reyes Station in West Marin. They have goods to sell and all talks also.


  17. Absolutely beautiful scenery and a wonderful event. We need something like it in Kent, as we have the Romney sheep and their wool.


    1. Go for it then Claire! As someone who, although Scottish, has to live in the SW of England, I dream of being able to afford to go to Shetland. Kent would be a lot easier! :-)


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