We started day 5 with a leisurely start of a walk to the red phone box which led to high jinx and revelry.
After calming down from the giggles we were then taken on the next adventure of the day by the fab bus driver Andrea – who brought Shetland delights for us to try – dried salted lamb and Reestit mutton soup YUM (my father in law Richard would of loved both of these).
We then winded our way along the Shetland roads to the Jamiseson’s Mill. This is a cradle to grave buisiness as Pru put it – I have not thought of production of goods like this before but she is quite right.
Raw fleeces goes in one door and finished garments and yarn comes out the other. The fleece is washed and looses 1/2 its weight – a sore point for the Scottish owner, it is carded and made into fluff and there is one moment when it is fluff and then it is yarn – here are the two photos of that moment.
It is then dyed – anther scottish (tight arse) joke here as the dye is fully absorbed and not poured down the drain. It is then wound into cones or balls and sent either to a knitter or to be knitted. The knitting is done on quite high tech machines but there is still quite a bit of finishing and people involved.
I didn’t buy the most number of balls, that would be finer-than-frog-fur-and-that’s-mighty-fine Gretchen with 52 balls, one for each day of the week – I came in second with 30 and quite a few shade cards – get excited a few of you back in Sydney.
We then headed back to the ranch for lunch with a rather special guest. The lovely and most gracious Kate Davies came and sat with us for lunch, helped Sandy knit her jumper, let Irma ask the best questions, admired Besty and Judy’s hats, declare Carmen and her gorgeous scarf very stylish and was visually assaulted by my knatty ensemble. I made her day!!!! (And was reminded to keep it real by Lyn)
We splint into smaller groups of 3 or 4 and spent about 30-40 minutes which each of the lovely ladies. My group had Kathleen first up and OMG her knitting is beyond amazing – so fine and so gorgeous and her sister is the maker of that awesome knitted fence.
Next up was the delightful and knowledgeable Hazel Tindall who gave us a go at knitting with a knitting belt, and showed us her I-wiped-the-floor-with-my-competiton colour box challenge from last year. At this point I need to remind you readers that the Shetlanders are a most modest bunch and Hazel mumbled something about a trophy I suggested the floor wiping which was neither confirmed or denied – I go with the fact that she did win that trophey. What this lady can do with coloured yarn, 3 x 30cm needles and a belt is quite astounding – oh and a Raepin string – see Hazel’s post on this technique and explination of tools over here
Final in our trio of amazing Shetland crafters was Helen and what she can do with wire and knitting needles is both inspiring and moving. Helen started knitting tiaras a while ago and has moved into object and jewellery. With her art she is able to respond to the Shetland landscape and pay homage to the work women do and the way they interact with the environment. I did buy one of her photos and hung it on my wall today – it really is a great reminder of the landscape and craft of my trip.