I had originally been planning to visit Shetland in the summer as part of my weaving tour of Scotland, but when I heard about Shetland Wool Week I decided to postpone my visit until October – I am so glad that I did!
Shetland Wool Week attracts wool fanatics from around the world, meeting up to share their love of everything wool related. Exhibitions, classes and events cover many different subjects including weaving, spinning, dyeing, Fair Isle and lace knitting. Shetland provides the perfect location to celebrate wool week; wool is such an integral part of Shetland’s heritage and evident everywhere you turn.
4th October 2014: Lerwick
Angharad and I set off from Glasgow with a car full of yarn and prepared ourselves for the dreaded overnight ferry from Aberdeen. I had heard several horror stories about rough crossings and when I boarded the ferry to see piles of sick bags everywhere my mind wasn’t put at ease! I needn’t have worried as our crossing turned out to be very calm and we even got some sleep, arriving at 7am to a dreich Lerwick.
Despite the weather I spent the first day exploring Lerwick, my first stop was the Shetland Museum and inside I found the Shetland Wool Week hub which was already buzzing with other new arrivals. I took time to look around the museum, focussing of course on the textile exhibits. I was particularly interested to see the records related to tweed production, once a thriving industry in Shetland.
After waiting out the worst of the weather in the comfort of the Mareel café and cinema, I ventured out of the town centre to find the Shetland Textile Museum. I was particularly impressed by the exhibition Shetland Knitwear in the Oil Boom, curated by Ella Gordon. I was also starting to grow my appreciation for Shetland Lace, not naturally my taste but the sheer amount of skill needed to produce such delicate knitwear is simply incredible and certainly has my respect.
5th October 2014: Wool Week Opening Ceremony
On Sunday we attended the Wool Week Opening Cermony in Mareel which turned out to be a great afternoon of speeches, music, socialising with other wool weekers and eating cake. There was also a selection of local knitters, designers and wool producers exhibiting so it was a chance to get an idea of how wool is being utilised in contemporary Shetland. The talent on show was fantastic; Mati Ventrillon‘s knitwear was a highlight for me.
Aamos Designs – Emma Blain
That evening we travelled to Burra to catch up with Shetland weaver Emma Blain – Aamos Designs, who I know from our days at the Glasgow School of Art. As you can imagine with three weavers in a room we had lots to chat about and thanks to Emma we enjoyed a beautiful home cooked meal.
Emma ran a series of weaving workshops throughout Shetland Wool Week. Here’s some photos of her wool week workshops, to find out more visit Emma’s facebook page. If you fancy learning to weave with Emma you can book a workshop here (contact her to arrange a date prior to booking).