Saturday, 25 January 2020

Shetland Wool Week 19: 16 Mood Boards and Machine Knitting

Friday Oct 4:Day 19 

Today I was taking my last class of wool week and like yesterday’s class it was one I had been hoping to take for some years. The American lady I chatted to from the table next to ours last night in The string had taken the class Thursday afternoon. She was very complimentary about it and if anything, over breakfast, I was looking forward to it even more. 

We were up and about early as M was going to drop me in the middle of Lerwick at 9.00 and then drive back and park at Tesco. He could pick up bits and pieces we needed and walk back to the Health Centre to have another INR  test. 

I took the opportunity to walk up the town (North) and spent some time looking in Tullock’s window. This was like looking in a Museum as on display were a selection of jumpers that had been knitted around the 1920s and 1930s and had been lent by Elizabeth Angus.They were very interesting as many were knitted in fine rayon, many had fantastic finishing details and many had won knitwear prizes and they were in great condition. (1)

The window, apologies for the reflection! 

One of the prize certificates. 

It is so lovely to see shop keepers getting into the spirit of wool week and pulling out all the stops. Again looking at these was free and something any visitor to wool week could do. 

My class was in Ninian in Joanna’s  upstairs workshop. This is quite small  and 4 of us sat round a table with Joanna standing. It was very much a workroom and it felt good being in there.(2) She is very enthusiastic about what she does and still had bags of energy left on Friday. 

What was great was that she had the whole set of Jamieson’s yarns for us to select from. These were in the Spindrift range- that is a lot of yarns and they weren’t just samples they had started as whole balls of yarn. (This is important, I have the shade card but having more of the sample colour makes such a difference.) Joanne wanted us to work outside our comfort range of colours- I found this the most difficult part of the class. 

She began by talking about her background in designing going right through to making the finished machine knitted product. She talked about  where this had taken her geographically and also gave real gems of tips. Then it was our turn! We started with a blank sheet of A3 paper and guidance as well as one to one encouragement and motivation to stretch our capabilities. Then there was the selection of a working palette. 

The final treat was to see these mocked up into a working design, using DesignaKnit which I had heard of, it is used by some machine knitters. I thought (wrongly) that it was just about designing shapes but was more interested in it when I saw how it could put colours together and then switch individual colours at the press of a button (or two). Seeing our colour choices  added into a charted pattern was great. The class ran over. The cake and drink were superb and the time went too quickly. It was a great class to end the week on for me. 

I met M who was anxious as I was so late. (I need to eat regularly and often to avoid migraine) so we drove down to Mackenzies, our usual second breakfast venue. Although  it was busy we managed to find a space to eat, along with other woolly minded people. The bonus was M got chatting to a birdwatcher and got details of  another place or two to add to his list to visit. My plan had been to go down to Bigton for lunch but we felt it would be too much of a rush. Another item for next year’s list....assuming they will continue to be part of Wool Week in the future. 

After lunch we decided to shop at Wilma’s as we hadn’t seen her or Irene all week.(3) It was good to have a chance to have a proper chat and M found a couple of jumpers he really liked, this is one of them and Irene and I talked about some of Wilma’s new designs for this year based an Mike Finnie’s artwork.(4)

Wearing the new jumper 

I think the other jumper  is very clever, it is in finer wool and has stripes and both the body  and each sleeve are knit in the round. As a machine knitter is it good to see different designs from those in my usual repertoire. 

Another great day finished off by sharing notes with Kate, who had been on the Whitling a Shawl Pin workshop and visiting St Ninians - one of the very special places of Shetland. 

  1. They were all knitted by her mother or aunt. They best prize had been of £50.00 and had paid for a holiday in Edinburgh for their sisters and their mother in Edinburgh. 
  2. As Joanna could only have 4 at a time she ran this class 8 times during wool week. I was there on the Friday and she showed no sign of it being her 7th time that week! 
  3. Wilma Malcolmson is TerriLaura’s grandmother, we had seen them briefly at the Terri’s Creative Crew evening on Saturday. Wilma trades as Shetland Designer and M very much likes her jumpers. He likes to get a new one each year. 
  4. Mike’s artwork can be found at

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