2018 Shetland Wool Week Pattern Available

The free pattern is online!

Introducing the Merrie Dancers Toorie

We are thrilled to announce this year’s Shetland Wool Week patron as Shetland knitwear designer and handspinner, Elizabeth Johnston.

The news was officially launched this morning at the start of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, where Shetland Wool Week has a stand.

The annual SWW hat pattern, which is now synonymous with the launch of the patron, was also released. This year’s official hat pattern is called ‘The Merrie Dancers Toorie’ and was designed by Elizabeth Johnston. The hat is based on a fisherman’s kep in the Shetland Museum and Archives’ Boat Hall, and features three small patterns, but is not a Fair Isle design.

Elizabeth has lived in Shetland all her life, and like many others who grew up in the islands, has knitted from childhood. Elizabeth bought her first spinning wheel in 1978, which changed her focus from knitting to spinning, and also teaching these skills. She eventually started her own business, Shetland Handspun, which has taken her to many places around the world and she is in high demand as a speaker and instructor.

Elizabeth said: “I have loved designing the Merrie Dancers Toorie. The kep has a dark background with colours that remind me of the northern lights, or ‘merrie dancers’, and a familiar sight to fishermen. You can blend or contrast any colours and I have suggested a variety that use yarns from Jamieson & SmithJamieson’s of ShetlandUradale Yarns and Shetland Handspun.”

We are delighted to have Elizabeth as our new patron. She has a life-time of knowledge about Shetland wool, learned from those who came before and honed through practice. Centuries of Shetland textile craft come together in her work: sheep-rearing, wool processing, dyeing, spinning, knitting, weaving. Perhaps more importantly, she is passing on her skills and knowledge to others through practice-based teaching, just as Shetlanders have always done.

Download your copy of the hat pattern

The Merrie Dancers Toorie pattern can be downloaded for free here or come along to our stand at EYF and pick up a printed copy. Elizabeth will be splitting her time between the SWW stand and also her own stand, Shetland Handspun, so drop by and say hello.

The pattern will also be available from the Shetland Museum and Archives shop and textile outlets in Shetland.

Knit the hat in any of the suggested colour variations, or come up with your own colour scheme, and wear it to Shetland Wool Week 2018 – identify your fellow Wool Weekers and compare hats throughout the week and at the official SWW 2018 photograph!

Remember to share your creations and experiences with us by tagging your photos with #merriedancerstoorie or #shetlandwoolweek2018

 

Source: http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/introducing-the-merrie-dancers-toorie/

 

Sock Knitting Exploration – Version 2

My second project ….

Used FLK  (Fish Lip Kiss) pattern for sizing and heel.   I used Turkish Cast On and Magic Loop from the toe up approach. This pair was done on two circulars, and I did an inch on one sock then an inch on the other sock in order to avoid the dreaded SSS (single sock syndrome).  Still not quite ready for two at a time Magic Loop!  It took me about 15 hours of knitting for the pair which was dramatically better than for the 1st pair (>40 hours). I can only hope this trend will continue!

The yarn used for the  sock body was Rambler’s Way Handpaint Rambouillet DK (100% American raised wool and spinning) which is spun with a high twist.  The heels were done in a worsted 2ply 100% mohair yarn which was very slippery and hard to knit with to keep about the same gauge as the sock body.

I also tried “Feeding Ducks and Holding Hands” stitch pattern for the top of the sock body (available as a scarf pattern free on Ravelry). I converted it to a knit only version (it’s written as a purl version).  The knit version is initially slightly more difficult to do than as a purl version, but easy enough as long as the stitches are not made too tightly.  Loved this stitch pattern as it’s easy to do as well as remember (no need to keep checking the pattern!) and looks fantastic with this kind of yarn (relatively short color repeats).

Due to the size of the yarn they don’t fit in regular shoes but are fine in boots or slippers.

Now to test wear ability vs version 1!

 

Learnings:

100% mohair is slippery and more difficult to knit with than all wool.  Up to this point had only knit with my 75% mohair – 25% wool roving/ tops that had been handspun.

Next….Same pattern, but using superwash wool with 25% nylon ie-classic sock yarn. Already not happy with my choice – took 4 hours to convert the skein into a center pull ball. It’s also a very slippery yarn.  The superwash process removes the scales from the wool (so it won’t felt) which not surprisingly makes the yarn slippery vs regular wool.

Project info

Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist

US 4 – 3.5 mm

: Rambler’s Way Handpainted Rambouillet DK, = 600.0 yards (548.6 meters), 10.58 ounces – I used about half a skein;
: Sunglow;
: Discontinued Brand Name Yarn

Construction Details:

Toe up, each sock on it’s own circular working one then the other about an inch at a time

Turkish Cast on (4 stitches = 1″), wedge toe, increased (inserted a backwards yarn loop) 4 stitches/ row up to 24 stitches then increased every other row up to 40 stitches total

Foot and leg: Stockinette (on circulars so straight knitting)

Heel: 100% 2 ply mohair yarn, FLK pattern

Finish: 2 x 2 rib for an inch and a standard loose bind off

Socks Version 1
Socks Version 2
Socks Version 3

Shetland Wool Week 2017 Free Pattern Released

Shetland Wool Week 2017 Hat Knitting Pattern

Free Knitting Pattern

The official 2017 Shetland Wool Week ‘Bousta Beanie’ knitting pattern has been exclusively designed by Wool Week Patron Gudrun Johnston.

Knit the hat in any of the suggested colour variations, or come up with your own colour scheme, and wear it to Shetland Wool Week 2017 – identify your fellow Wool Weekers and compare hats at the opening ceremony!

To receive the pattern all you need to do is complete the form (at link below), and remember to share your pictures using #boustabeanie or #shetlandwoolweek2017, we can’t wait to see your creations.

Ravelry Source = https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bousta-beanie

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Sock Knitting Exploration

I’ve decided to do a project exploring fiber content and construction techniques for socks.  At the rate I knit it could be a lifetime project!

For my first project ….

Used FLK  (Fish Lip Kiss) pattern for sizing and heel. Since it’s my first time using this pattern I used plain knitting for the body of the sock.  This is only the second pair of socks I’ve ever knitted.  I want to work up to Magic Loop for both socks at one time but this pair was done on two circulars, and I did an inch on one sock then an inch on the other sock in order to avoid the dreaded SSS (single sock syndrome).  It worked!

This variation used Wooly Yarn (nylon wool blend, see Halycon yarn for example) held doubled with my yarn in the heel, and the next one will use 100% mohair for the heel.   The yarn used was Rambler’s Way Handpaint Rambouillet DK (100% American wool and spinning) which is spun with a high twist.  Loved the yarn!  It is super springy and knits soooo easily.  I had to watch out for splitting the yarn (my knitting Achilles heel) and accidentally creating yarn overs when increasing.

I used Turkish Cast On (my 1st time – love it!) and kept each sock separate (on it’s own set of circulars).   The Woolly Yarn used for the heels was hard to use as it kept sticking to my fingers and I split the yarn frequently – luckily I didn’t have to do any frogging!.  It took about 40 hours of knitting for the pair.

They fit fairly well initially but stretched lengthwise while wearing.  Due to the size of the yarn they don’t fit in regular shoes but are fine in boots or slippers.  I was surprised to find I did not like the feel of the purl bumps on my feet so am wearing them inside out with the knit side facing in.  So far they are holding up well.

 

 

Learnings:

High twist is needed for 100% wool yarn to wear well, particularly low micron wools such as merino, rambouillet, cormo, etc.  I use 25-50% mohair in all my own yarn blends to ensure good wear performance.  Size (weight) of yarn impacts which shoes the socks will fit into. Soft springy 100% yarn will stretch significantly so this needs to be taken into account for sizing.

Next….Same pattern, same wool, two at a time (TAAT), 100% mohair heels – thinking about a stitch pattern for foot and leg.  See Sock Knitting Exploration Version 2.

Project info

Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist

US 4 – 3.5 mm

: Rambler’s Way Handpainted Rambouillet DK, = 600.0 yards (548.6 meters), 10.58 ounces – I used half a skein;   : Sunglow;: Discontinued Brand Name Yarn

Construction Details:

Toe up, each sock on it’s own circular working one then the other about an inch at a time

Turkish Cast on (4 stitches = 8), wedge toe, increased (inserted a backwards yarn loop) 4 stitches/ row up to 24 stitches then increased every other row up to 40 stitches total

Foot and leg: Stockinette (on circulars so straight knitting)

Heel: Carried Wooly Yarn with Rambouillet yarn

Finish: 2 x 2 rib for an inch and standard loose bind off

Socks Version 1
Socks Version 2
Socks Version 3

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Gift Idea

How about a hand made yarn bowl filled with a skein of luxury farm fresh yarn?  Take a look at these beautiful combinations for inspiration…

For those who like colors….

 

and those who like natural colors….

Skeins can be wound into center pull balls for knitting or rug hooking convenience at no charge, just ask!

Wendy Kastan’s yarn bowls can be found on her website WendyClay.com She also makes beautiful buttons.

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2016 Shetland Wool Week Free Pattern

It’s available!

The official Shetland Wool Week 2016 hat pattern is being launched today at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. You can get a PDF version from the Shetland Wool Week website. You’ll need to enter your name and email to receive a copy of the pattern.
This year’s pattern is called ‘Crofthoose’ and it has been exclusively designed by Ella Gordon, the patron for 2016.
Ella Gordon said: ‘I have always loved the little crofthouses you see dotted all over Shetland. I am known for making cushions in the shape of traditional crofthouses and my design for 2016 is another use of my favourite motif. My hat is a great introduction to Shetland inspired colourwork using traditional skills and a contemporary pattern.’

Shetland Wool Week