Thursday, 12 February 2015

Thursday October 9th The Book Launch at Unst Heritage Centre

There was going to be a book launch at the Unst Heritage Centre at 12.30. So we had a fairly leisurely start. Victoria was going to open a pop up tea room in the Community Hall opposite and we hoped to have lunch there if M could check there was something I could eat and then we were booked on the ferry back to mainland.  We were booked for dinner at Hay's Dock  Restaurant and then I had a lecture in the Museum and then back down to Levenwick for sleeping for the evening. So the day was going to be busy after this leisurely start.
The museum wasn't opening until 11.00 or so but there were rumours that several were travelling up from mainland for the launch of the book - we had a sneak preview the day before as we were on the course but I was waiting for the launch to get a copy. There were special little packs with sample yarn in for the first 30 on the day and I fancied having one of these as a special memento of the occasion. This I achieved so it is very special to me.
So as the Museum opened I went in and enjoyed looking at the knitwear collection again and M chatted to Victoria about lunch and enjoyed a coffee and after the 'Unst ladies' had got their special collection of knitwear out I sat and chatted to them.
This was nice as I had spun and knitted with some of them on a previous visit and it was also a chance to talk to Hazel about yesterday and show her some of my fine spinning as well as admire some more of her amazing shawls, scarves and knitwear in general.  It turned out that Hazel had documented and devised the patterns from the original lace for the booklet of patterns and put together the Burrafirth Scarf pattern for the launch. Awesome in the true meaning of the word. By the time of the launch there was quite a crowd at the Centre. A truly wonderful sight. Rhoda explained how the book came about and introduced the 3 knitters from the late 1800's featured briefly in the booklet and how the current knitters had double checked the patterns drawn up by Hazel. These wonderful ladies give freely of their time and considerable expertise to help keep the Unst Heritage Centre open and pass on the tradition of this fine Unst lace.  
(* the booklet & pattern mentioned as well as many others are available for sale from Unst Heritage Centre)
It was a lovely event and I was so pleased to be able to be part of it.

Then it was off to Victoria's pop up tea rooms for a delightful lunch - lentil and vegetable soup which was super with vintage crockery etc. so then goodbye to Unst for another year, but we had managed two visits this year so were feeling spoilt.

We had booked dinner at Hay's Dock Restaurant and this was rather special too, the menu was printed on special wool week paper with a watermark of fair isle,  What was (is!) super about Hay's Dock Restaurant was that me being wheat, dairy and gluten free did not phase them at all - I felt a normal human! So I ate my meal fairly swiftly to get to the lecture for 7.00 and Michael's aim was to go slowly and sit and put in as much time as possible as I did not finish until 9.30.
After an introduction by Carol Christiansen, Curator of the Shetland Museum the evening was shared between Stella Ruhe giving a wonderful detailed research talk about Gansey knitting in the Netherlands and Hazel Tindall, Shetland Wool Week Patron similarly talking about knitting in the 1960s. Hazel provided a detailed insight into knitting of her own mother. It was a fascinating evening. As I sat and enjoyed these speakers in a full lecture theatre I realised I had a lady from New Zealand on one side of me and a lady from Israel on the other. It is this international flavour that adds to wool week to make it so special.

We each added a tag to the map to show where we came from. This photo gives some indication but the tags are not showing up too well! South Africa has a tag for example!

As I met up with Michael and we drove down to Levenwick and bed, I reflected on yet another brilliant day and how fortunate I was to be able to be part of Shetland Wool Week. But it wasn't over yet, I had event planned up to and including Sunday and we weren't leaving until the ferry on Monday evening.

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