Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Shetland Wool Week 19: 17 Maker’s Market, Bod and Dinner

Sat Oct 5: Day 20 

The last Saturday of Wool week is always good, the Maker’s Market ensures this. The market is now held at the new (Anderson) High School and there is ample parking, and only a short walk from the Sports Centre should the parking ever get full. It starts at 11.00 and gives stall holders ample time to set up. I was hoping that I could catch up on some friends that I had missed or seen earlier in our stay. This happened so that was great and I met and chatted to Amanda from Whalsay with whom I had a great knitting class some years also. I also saw Minnie from Unst who was at the indigo class so it was good to hear her thoughts on how it had gone. I hadn’t seen Roisin all week so good to have a very quick chat, as she was looking after her stall. (1)

M went upstairs to the cafe, where the drinks and cake are superb and my plan was to meet him asap so I could have coffee before I ran out of steam. As usual with chatting it took longer than I thought but I had completed a quick look at the stalls and targeted a couple of things to buy after coffee. 

What is striking is the quality of the items on sale. I go to lots of ‘craft’ fairs at home and just wish I could transport many of the sellers to this one. Then they could see how it can be done and how people would be queueing for their items. It is not about price at all for me. It is about finesse and detail and seeing and then owning, a truly beautiful item. Shetland people know how to use the best quality raw materials with amazing workmanship! 

One of my purchases, I just love the detail. 

Jumperboard necklace made by Pinkfish (2) 

Eventually I got upstairs to find Michael with Sally, who we first met in Shetland some years ago. I had taken a ‘made by me’ bundle of sticks for her to use as a ‘knitting belt’ and failed to meet her earlier in the week as I had to opt out of a couple of evening functions. It was great to catch up with her and her friend. I hadn’t seen Sarah (3) either all week although we were meeting up for dinner later in the day. She was full of her wonderful time on the trip to Foula. (4)

She got Michael to take this photo of us with Hazel. I don’t like photos of myself but do quite like this one! 

Photo of sarah, Hazel, me 

Before I left I wanted to see the Shetland Peerie Makkers, the youngsters learning knitting. This is an initiative set up out of wool week initially I believe, where volunteers  teach groups of the young knitters in the processes of Shetland Knitting, ‘helping to preserve Shetland’s knitting culture’. This is a great initiative and it is lovely to see most of them using knitting belts and working from their own drafted motif designs, ie learning the designing as they learn to knit. Materials and equipment are provided for the knitters. The initiative started in 2015 and it is great to see how it has grown and the progress of the knitters. It is a very good project to donate to, imo. With all this happening we were at the Makers Market for longer than intended but it didn’t matter as were were getting a light lunch in the van. I had devoted the afternoon to The Bod as I hadn’t had a serious look round  during the week. 

It was great to see James (5) as I got there and we had a long talk mainly about dyeing, both natural  and acid, to which others in the lower room joined in. Eventually I moved away to look at the two rooms upstairs and found yet more demonstrators to talk to as well. As always there was wonderful lace knitting and fair isle knitting and plenty I had not seen before. 

I was very taken by a display related to Bess Jamieson, in particular her baskets made by weaving pine needles.(6) 

Pine needle baskets

I also noticed a display relating to the Back to Back Challenge. This one looked more official than others I have seen as it seems to be international! 

You will be able to spot some names you know:

Can you identify the people from 1977, at least one should be possible. 

Another great visit. The Bod will be closing it’s doors now and reopen in the spring. If you haven’t ever been to the Bod, do try and add it to your ‘must visit’ list.

We just had time to go back to base, have a short rest and then meet up for dinner with Sarah and friends in the String. 

Helen Robertson and her Mum would be there and Sarah brought with her Laura, a tattooist and bird watcher, from USA, who just happened to be another avid knitter. It was a fun evening, I think the waitress was persuaded to take this photo. 

Another wonderful day, including the weather,  with tomorrow being the last official day of wool week. 

  1. Roisin runs R.A.M knitwear, she is the on the staff of Shetland College  and last year I was lucky enough to visit her Machine Knitwear  studio in Bressay one evening. You can see some of her work on her Fb page ‘R.A.M Knitwear’. 
  2. ‘Pink Fish’ is the trading name of Shona Anderson. I had met Shona on Friday whilst she was working in Ninian, with Joanne Hunter. I have since been told that Shona is the daughter of Kathleen Anderson. 
  3. Sarah and I go back a few years, having met at a Maker’s Market I organised for A Community Group (Alsager Music and Arts) when we lived in Cheshire. We next met in Shetland - the power of wool week! She is a very skilled worker in many textile areas and beyond. She is on iG as ‘didyoumakeityourself’. The photos with Sarah on were taken on her phone by M and a waitress.
  4. This year the weather was kind to flights during wool week. The trip to Fair Isle went ahead and the new trip to Foula, was able to go ahead too. It was a chance to find out about Foula and Foula Wool in particular.
  5. James and I had both done the Warp Weighed Loom workshop in 2018. James lives and works in Shetland and is also a dyer and spinner. We always have lots to talk about when we meet. 
  6. Bess Jamieson was born in Sumatra where her father worked on a Rubber Plantation, she returned to Shetland in 1930. She was a much travelled lady during her life but retired to Walls. 

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