Shetland Wool Week Success

by Misa Hay -

Shetland Wool Week 2012 saw an amazing range of wool and textile related events held throughout Shetland, and brought an estimated 60 visitors to the isles from all around the world in a celebration of our Shetland wool.  This, in addition to the huge online following that Wool Week has gained, suggests that this festival will only continue to grow in future years. 

Misa Hay from Promote Shetland, one of the lead partners in bringing this event together, said; “At Promote Shetland we are very passionate about Shetland Sheep, wool and the textile heritage and are absolutely delighted with the amount of people who travelled here for Shetland Wool Week. We had visitors from the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Canada, US and even as far as Alaska and Brazil! Feedback from the events that took place has been very positive and we already have a lot of ideas for next year.”

Visitors and locals who attended events from spinning classes, felting workshops, pattern classes, exhibitions and open workshops are now being encouraged tocomplete the online feedback form at www.shetlandwoolweek.com/survey to help organisers improve and develop activities offered for next year.

Patron of the festival, Kate Davies - writer, designer and keeper of one of the web's most visited textiles blogs at www.textisles.com – hosted a session on how to be a designer and publish patterns. Another writer, Susan Crawford, who is currently working on a textiles book tentatively titled Vintage Shetland, ran a session based around her research.

There had been over 300 visitors to the Textile Museum at the Böd of Gremista for their Shetland Textiles Open exhibition, events and demonstrations during the week. The Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers launched their new lace book which has also proven to be a great success.

Wendy Inkster of Burra Bears said her studio had been very busy through the week. “It's been very busy, much busier than last year, and it was nice to meet folk who have travelled so far for the event”

The official Wool Week Competition was won by Meghan Purvis from Cambridgeshire. Meghan is the lucky winner of dinner, bed and breakfast at the Scalloway Hotel and will stay in the newly refurbished "Shetland Room" where the carpet, mattress and curtains are all created using real Shetland wool and the furniture has been locally made by Cecil Tait of Paparwark. 

The Friday evening event saw Jamieson and Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) Ltd launch their new collection of Shetland Heritage Yarns at Shetland Museum and Archives.  Shetland Amenity Trust have been working in partnership with the Wool Brokers to develop this traditional collection of colours which have been used to produce a range of Fair Isle knitting kits, giving knitters everything they need to re-create traditional Fair Isle designs, inspired by items in the Museum and Archives Textile Collections.  The kits are now available from Shetland Museum and Archives Gift shop and www.shetlandheritageshop.com. This is just one example of new products and projects which have been inspired by Wool Week.

Wool Week was originally created as part of an exercise by the Campaign for Wool to promote wool as a natural, sustainable and valuable product.  The Campaign Committee is chaired by HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothsay.  Eric Wilson, the immediate Past Master of the Worshipfull Company of Woollmen also sits on the committee and delivered a message of support for the Shetland event from His Royal Highness at the closing ceremony on Friday.

Plans are already underway for Shetland Wool Week 2013, which is scheduled to coincide with the Flock Book event at Shetland Marts; this is a vitally important event for crofters and buyers and forms an integral part of Wool Week events.  

Event partners include Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) Ltd; Promote Shetland; Shetland Amenity Trust; Shetland Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers, Shetland Textile Museum, Shetland Organics, Shetland Arts, Shetland College and Shetland Livestock Marketing Group. The partners would like to extend their grateful thanks to the craftspeople, tutors and demonstrators, crofters, visitors and local participants who have made this event a success. 

For further information on next years event, please visit the website at www.shetlandwoolweek.com or follow the event through the Facebook page.