We have had a great spell of weather in Shetland the past couple of weeks, I knew it was all too good to be true so on Thursday I took the chance to go with some of my pals who were home up to Fethaland for a walk!


Fethaland is an old fishing station located about a 2 mile walk from the tip of North Roe, and is the furthest point of the mainland of Shetland. I’ve been there a few times before, its a nice walk there (minus a couple of big hills) and we had a lovely time. The day was bright but quite grey which is reflected in the colours of the landscape, of course I took a gajillion pictures so I thought I’d share some..











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Fethaland was a Haaf station and at one time the busiest in Shetland. There are loads of old structures left behind, it almost has a St Kilda kind of vibe and you can imagine how busy and bustling it would have been at one time. The huts had wood and turf roofs which they would remove at the end of every season but on your way to the stations there are lots of old examples of crofthouses which were probably very near to all the action at one point, its crazy that they are now nowhere near anyone…

This video is amazing and shows a number of photos of the station and now..

I had a great day with some of my oldest pals and it was so good to get out and walk! I have been quite tired after Wool Week so it was nice to do something different.

speak soon xx

shetland wool week 2016

Hello! I’m sorry I haven’t posted sooner after Shetland Wool Week, what a crazy week it was! I felt like it just flew by. I did two classes and a talk and of course I was working at J&S the whole week. I really did try but failed to take too many pictures but I thought I’d share some of the pictures I did get through the week..

the wool week banner at the museum

the wool week banner at the museum

some of my knitwear at my class on the Sunday

some of my knitwear at my class on the first Sunday

a few photos in the new Sheila McGregor cabinet

a few photos in the new Sheila McGregor cabinet at the Museum


there were a couple of crofthooses at my class on Sunday

Oliver and his Oh Henry chocolate bar, how we laughed!

Oliver and his Oh Henry chocolate bar, how we laughed!

Crofthoose Hats

Crofthoose Hats

one of my favourite things about Wool Week - te Annual!

one of my favourite things about Wool Week – the Annual!

Sunday Teas

Sunday Teas

some of my dads pictures at the Makers Market

some of my dads pictures at the Makers Market

a naturally dyed and handspun crofthoose hat and mitts set, it was so soft!

a naturally dyed and handspun crofthoose hat and mitts set, it was so soft!

organic hap at Vaila Fine Art

organic hap at Vaila Fine Art


mini haps by Ina Irvine and prizewinning fleece

crofthoose hats

crofthoose hats

It was really a great week, but so incredibly busy – I’m still getting over it! The shop (J&S) was mental everyday but its such a good way to see everyone that’s up that we probably met almost everyone! I was quite surprised how shy I felt though, I suppose I’m not used to doing speeches and talks although I was really pleased with how they went* it was probably just the quantity of people I was meeting that make me feel quite overwhelmed. Also I was ridiculously nervous for my speech at the opening ceremony..

I can’t really put into words how weird (in a good way!) it was to see so many Crofthoose Hats, at the opening ceremony they asked everyone who had one to hold it up – I couldn’t believe how many I saw, I am still so happy with the design and really proud of what I have done this year. Being the Wool Week patron has given me a confidence in my skills and helped me to believe maybe I can do this designing stuff…

Anyway I’m going to have a bit of a rest and do some selfish knitting, speak soon!


*I’m working on putting my talk into an article for those who were vexed it wasn’t streamed so ill let you know when I know more!

flora mitts

A few weeks ago, I shared a photo on Instagram of a yoke cardigan I had got from eBay, it emerged when I bought it that I had purchased it from my auntie Louise, in Shetland!


However I loved the colours in the yoke and particularly the mixture of moorit and blues which I had never really seen before, it gave me the idea to try the motif and colours on a pair of fingerless mittens.

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Doing my pattern for the Wool Week annual (Crofthoose Mitts) had made me feel much more comfortable about doing the fingers on mitts and it was really easy to translate the yoke motif for the gloves. Many yoke patterns and glove patterns follow the same size Norwegian star so I did a bit of fiddling on illustrator until I was happy with the design then hit my stash of 2ply Jumper Weight to try and match all the colours which I was able to do quite easily! The original yoke is quite felted so the colours look even nicer and blended but even so I was pleased with what I came up with.

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The mitts are knit from the cuff up with an afterthought thumb, you knit the thumb stitches in a waste yarn, slip them back onto the needle then reknit them in pattern. After you have finished you go back and unpick the waste yarn and pick up the stitches for the thumb. The fingers are knit by placing all the stitches on stitch holders and picking up stitches for the front and back before joining in the round. They are a bit fiddly but there are not that many stitches and hardly any rows so it doesn’t last long.


Although I use 7 colours in the pattern it would be equally effective in less colours and it’s perfect for using up odds and ends of jumper weight. I like to knit my fair isle on 3.5mm needles but for these, I went down to 3mm for a more dense and warm fabric. If you would like to knit your own Flora Mitts you can purchase the pattern on my Ravelry page here!

I will most probably/definitely now not be back here until after Shetland Wool Week, it begins a week on Sunday and I am very nervous and excited – so keep me in your thoughts and wish me good luck with my speech and talk and classes – eek!

Speak soon xxx

hap cowl


Hello! I’m back, sooner than I thought with my new pattern! It is a cowl, which if you know me you know I wear most days. It is inspired (obviously by the name) by Shetland Haps. Haps seem to have been everywhere lately, what with Kates book and the numerous Hap knit-a-longs there have been. Last year I made a Half Hap, from Gudrun’s brilliant Hansel pattern and that planted a seed in my head about the construction of a Hap inspired pattern.


My favourite thing about Haps are that the elements of it are not complicated at all, but the final thing is extremely effective to look at and makes you feel like a smarty pants. I decided to use the garter stitch and simple lace elements in my cowl, Now, I’m a Shetlander who as a group avoid purling If we possibly can, so the pattern is knit flat and then sewn into a cowl. (this means you can keep the piece as a scarf too if you like (a two in one pattern… truly a bargain….!)

I am constantly inspired by nature in Shetland and there are two distinct things which inspire me, the land and the sea. These two things are both represented in my colourways, of which I provide two in the pattern.


My first colourway was inspired by the sea,sand and cliffs of Shetland, I use J&S 2ply Jumper Weight in the pattern for both colourways and this one uses shades 54 (grey) FC61 (blue grey) FC45 (camel) FC43 (beige) and 202 (light fawn) I actually did quite a lot of swatching and samples (shock horror, I know – I’m learning!) before I decided on the order and manner of colour changing



I was so pleased with how my first sample came out but I still had an idea for another colourway inspired by my other favourite thing – the land.


This year the heather on the hills in Shetland has been so lovely, it’s starting to fade now but the colours are still beautiful which was my inspirations for the second colourway of the pattern. This sample uses FC58 (brown heather) FC55 (purple) FC38 (orange) 1284 (light pinky mix) and 202 (light fawn) The actual knitting is not hard at all but I asked Sandra that I work with if she would knit up this sample for me which she did!


I used the good old yarn wrap technique to decide on this colourway which for these kinds of patterns is a fail safe way to help plan out colour changes. You simply wrap and stick the yarn in the same amount of rows as you will be knitting and it gives you a great visual as to whether the colours will work or not. I knew I was happy with the lace placement so for my second colourway before I got Sandra to knit it I just did a yarn wrap.


So, if you like my Hap Cowl pattern you can now purchase it on Ravelry here! I’m really enjoying trying to do more designs and I hope you like it!

Speak soon :) xxx


clipping in bressay

Last Saturday my dad asked me if, after I’d finished work at lunchtime, I wanted to come over to Bressay and help (errr.. take photos) of clipping his pal Campbell’s sheep. So after misreading the ferry timetable (spot the toonie) I scurried from work and just made it.


Bressay is a 7-minute ferry ride from Lerwick and even so, I go there ridiculously un-often and never since passing my test. So I slowly headed over to where the clipping was happening over at the other end of the Island. At points, Bressay and Lerwick are very close to each other, and the fact Bressay is there is why Lerwick is a port at all, its protects us (somewhat) from the strong north sea!



Anyway, I got there and Dad, Campbell and Ewan (the clipper) were about halfway through the small flock Campbell keeps on his familys land. There is a nice peerie Crofthoose there (my favourite thing you know by this point…) and since it was a nice day we had a great afternoon! I can’t say I was much/any help but I just enjoyed being there and took loads of photos which I thought I’d share here:







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The weather has been pretty poor in Shetland this summer (what’s new) but the past few weeks have had some nice days so we were lucky to catch the day we did. The fleeces they clipped and packed will go to my work, be sorted, graded then shipped away to be processed before coming back to Shetland as yarn – which is nice! They have a mixture of white and coloured Sheep which all can be used in yarn and products so nothing will go to waste.


In case you wonder, the red marks you can see on the clipped sheep above is a paint they mark on their back to know they’ve been given their medicine for the year!

We are slowly getting closer and closer to Shetland Wool Week (aaargh!) so I can’t promise I’ll be back before then.. but I have some stuff I’m hoping to get done before then so you might see a few more posts from me.. (and maybe a new pattern!) there is still one spot on my Tuesday class at Wool Week but my talk and other class are now sold out.

Speak soon! xx

crofthoose hat inspiration

Hello, thank you for all the comments and discussion on my post on Friday, today I thought we’d look at something a bit more cheery – Crofthoose Hats! I meant to do a lot more for the KAL but things have been so busy that I just haven’t had a chance – happily though people have still been making lots of Crofthooses.

There are now nearly 250 projects on Ravelry, and I love looking at all the different colours people have chosen, although I did the four colourways I really wanted people to choose their own colours and put colourways together.. I thought I’d share a few of the hats I’ve found inspiring from the project page but then I couldn’t stop!

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My plan was to have the knit a long going until the 1st of September but I think I will have it ending at Wool Week so you still have until the 28th of September to get involved and knit your own Crofthoose Hat! I did start one in the new Natural Heritage yarn from my work but looking at all these hats I think I will knit a brightly one!

If you do knit one remember to tag your photos on instagram with #crofthoosehatkal and #crofthoosehat – Happy Knitting!

‘shetland wool’

this post is not meant to bash either to the company or the person that contacted me, I just thought it was interesting to share and sparked a train of thought within me..


I was recently contacted by quite a large clothing brand, based in the UK wondering if I would write a piece for them about Shetland as their new collection featured a number of designs knit in Shetland Wool. The piece was to give people a feel for the landscape, lifestyle and culture here. I was interested but asked if they could tell me where the Shetland Wool came from in their collection. As you know I work for one of the only Shetland Wool companies – Jamieson & Smith, and most definitely one of the only ones in Shetland itself. The reply I got stated that the wool wasn’t going to be from Shetland so they understood if I didn’t want to write a piece.

What bothers me about it is that if I hadn’t asked about the origins of the wool and just written the piece that the people reading it would feel ‘wow, this is where the wool in my cardi/jumper whatever comes from’ when obviously it won’t be. Even without writing it, if it say’s on the label ‘Shetland Wool’ while that might not mean anything to some people, to others they will know about Shetland and the connotations of the wool. This made me think about the day I went to at the Shetland Museum a few months ago and reminded me of a phrase..

handwritten note of unknown date found at the bottom of a typed letter by A.I Tulloch in relation to Shetland knitting

handwritten note of unknown date found at the bottom of a typed letter by A.I Tulloch in relation to Shetland knitting

Now times have changed since this was written (there was no date on it but it was a long time ago) but it still holds true in some regards, and I don’t blame companies for calling the fibre they use whatever the manufacturers have called it. I know enough about this industry to make a guess at the mainland company probably responsible for the fibre that will be used in this companies products. The unique landscape and climate of Shetland is what makes the wool the way it is, Shetland Wool even from mainland UK feels different – not in a bad way, it just does. Usually those makers of Shetland Wool not from Shetland are specialist breeders and indie spinners, Unfortunately, the phrase ‘Shetland Wool’ has come to mean a style of spinning and type of fibre rather than origin of fibre which I can be pretty sure that’s what this will be.


Perhaps I am a bit touchy, as a Shetlander involved in the textile industry, I understand how fragile it is. We don’t have the amount of knitters and sheep that Shetland had at one time. Our industry is strong, thanks to things like the internet, Ravelry and Instagram to name a few but it is fragile. We rely on people wanting the real thing and coming to us for it.

Those fibre manufacturers using and in my opinion abusing Shetlands name are relying on the strength of the word ‘Shetland’ and the connotations surrounding it. As knitters and makers I think it is our place to ask questions about where wool and fibre comes from, I don’t like doing it (I’m not a fan of confrontation or arguing) but there are ways to do it without being an arsehole about it, On a wider scale wovember does a brilliant job of celebrating wool – all wool throughout November, and asks the questions in an educational way, have a look at their website here.

Preaching over… back to the knitting and on a cheerier note I got an email yesterday with a very exciting picture – the cover of this year’s Shetland Wool Week Annual!

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Yes – I had one more Crofthoose design in me! And they made it into the cover!! I cannot wait to see this year’s Annual and I know I will treasure my copy forever, pre-orders begin next week and I’m sure this page will be updated soon. Very excitingly too, my lovely pal Vivian is the model for the annual so I can’t wait to see all the pictures.

Speak soon, xx