Cold sheep – NOW!

Right, that’s it. I never, ever, have to buy wool again. Or fleece. Or anything in anyway associated with Ovis aries or any of its relatives. I say ‘no’ to sheep (but very quietly, so they can’t hear and take offence).

The Jamieson’s delivery has arrived. There is wool all over the kitchen.

I was ecstatic when the postie arrived, and greeted him with a shout of ‘it’s my wool!!’. He looked a little startled – was it me, or did he begin to back off slightly? – but recovered when I explained that it was as though he’d suddenly been sent a ticket for a Premiership football match. ‘Nothing’s that good,’ he answered. Oh yes, it is.

Calm down, Kate. Deep breaths. So what have I got?

First off, some Shetland Heather in Leprechaun to knit another version of my favourite winter sweater:

I lived in the red one while we were in Shetland, but I don’t think it is quite as warm as the late-lamented Hunter’s of Brora brown-flecked original. This will be; there’s more body to the wool.

Then I got some chunky from the bargain bin. I ask you, having a bargain bin – wasn’t it inevitable I’d buy something out of it? It would have been impolite not to have done so. It is in the ‘Mirrie Dancers’ colourway – black with flecks of bright colour, like the Northern Lights for which it is named.

And I’m going to knit this big sweater from Erica Knight’s Simple Knits for Easy Living (out of print, but I’ve got a copy from the library). It’s been described as ‘not exactly flattering’ on Ravelry, but I don’t care about that – I want warm, especially if we have a re-run of last winter. And anyway heating oil is a silly price. Who needs to plunder the planet when they’ve got wool?


Of course, I did have to buy stuff for a Fair Isle. Here it is, together with what it will magically become:

The colours aren’t quite accurate here – I blame the weather outside for the funny light – but nonetheless a couple may be too close to each other to be really effective, though maybe all I have to do is be careful about the placing. I’ll knit a swatch up and see how it looks. And that’s it with the Jamieson’s order.

Oh, yes… I did get something at Jamieson and Smith. How could I forget that?

It’s their 2 ply laceweight. I fell in love with the knitted up version of the shawl that was in the showroom, though I wanted something more lightweight. Fortunately I’d taken a calculator (sad, I know, but be prepared) and a few quick clicks, and there I was. Eight balls and one shawl pattern.

I cast on while we were in Shetland but had problems with the lace. The pattern is written out rather than charted, and these days I do prefer to use a chart, so I put it down to that and/or trying to knit and chat and be careful with my thumbs all at the same time. (And have the odd whisky, not that it would have had any bearing on the matter at all, oooh no.) When I got back I charted it out, and still couldn’t make it work – probably me, as there’s no sign of an errata anywhere – so I’ve rewritten it slightly. Still beautiful.

And then I also bought something which – hush – wasn’t for me to knit up.

While we were in the airport sorting out the hire car when we arrived, I wandered over to the tourist office where I found a display stand. And in the display stand were some beautiful knitted pieces – very, very unusual ones. The card with them said that their creator – Neilanell – had a studio very near to where we were staying, so we somehow found our way there. (We could also have followed the Shetland Craft Trail – there’s an interesting range of crafts other than knitting on that, too.)

Oh, the colours, the colours… and the textures:

This is the shawl I bought – green and turquoise. It’s a) huge and b) merino, and made on a hand-manipulated knitting machine, though Neila is also a knitter and spinner (yummy art yarns). Look at the texture of the reverse, and you can see a little of how it works:

And work it really does. One of my friends bought a golden cardigan / top in two very close shades, and the texture gives it such a richness. It was fascinating playing around and looking at the way the different colours work together, and at what you can do with the shapes (the cardigan can be worn right way up and upside down, not that those terms really have any validity because there isn’t a right way up), and Neila is very welcoming indeed – so do visit her studio if you’re in Shetland. It was refreshing and inspiring to see something new and different going on. And I forgot to mention the way her pieces feel – mm…

Ah – there seems to have been a green thing happening. It’s odd how you can be unaware of it when it’s in progress, but it’s probably not surprising: green has always my default choice. According to the man I bought carpets from – who was able to guess I’d chose green throughout the house before we said anything more than ‘bore da’ to each other – it’s because I’m adaptable and tolerant (and possibly susceptible to flattery – ed). Hm.


10 thoughts on “Cold sheep – NOW!

  1. Annie

    Ooh er … such lovely yarn 😀 I am so tempted to look at Jamieson’s online store, but I am reminding myself that my money is promised to Woolfest on Friday! I do have some of the pale grey Jamieson and Smith 2ply laceweight in my stash, and the temptation there is to get mine out for a quick sniff and a fondle (sorry, that sounds rather dodgy doesn’t it) 😉

    1. kate Post author

      I do hope you managed to survive Woolfest relatively unscarred… I’d been quite careful – well, for a given value of ‘careful’ – at Wonderwool, so I thought I was OK going a bit mad in Shetland. After all, I thought I wouldn’t be back that way any time soon.

      Except I loved it so much I am, of course, already thinking about going back… but not until I’ve knitted everything up!

      (Fondle away. It could be worse…)

  2. Knitsister

    What can I say…Fabulastic, greatalastic, wonderfully gorgeousnesses!!!!!!! I am not jealous at all as you can guess 😉 I just adore the first lot and the colour, which pattern is the jumper? Do I know it? Can’t wait to see all the finished items…get knitting! Hope your hand is up to it!

    1. kate Post author

      I keep squealing with excitement and fondling the wool. Unfortunately I can only do about four lines a day at the moment, so don’t hold your breath… hm…

      The sweater is a really ancient pattern from a company called Yarnworks, but they were a bit unusual for the 1980s and most of their patterns haven’t dated that badly. Unfortunately, it’s not on Ravelry, so I can’t point you at pictures (though I did try and photograph the book in my ‘story of a sweater’ post, it didn’t work very well).

  3. Harriet

    I LOVE that Leprechaun wool – what a colour. And the Erica Knight jumper is one of my favourites. Made it years ago and it still comes out on the coldest of days. Any number of layers can be worn under it and it still looks good. Knits up quickly too!
    Lovely post, your trouble with lace knitting made me laugh out loud. Surely shetland 2ply and Scottish whisky are a match made in heaven?!

    1. kate Post author

      Glad to know the sweater works – I’ve been intending to knit it for years… always a sign that a pattern is right if you can keep it in mind for more than about a month. It sounds ideal, just what I need – thanks for the confirmation, Harriet!

      I feel I probably hadn’t had enough whisky… A couple more glasses and I’d not have bothered too much whether it worked or didn’t!

  4. Michelle

    HA! Every time I buy yarn, I tell myself that I won’t have to buy more for… a long time. It just never goes according to plan! You’ve got quite the queue ready to knit! I’m sure you’ll have those projects whipped up and a yarn shortage again very quickly!

    1. kate Post author

      Snap! And this time I had the perfect excuse — I knew I wouldn’t be back in Shetland for a while. I suppose it could be worse; it could be crack…

    1. kate Post author

      Another person who’s as bad as I am – imagine what it was like in the shop! There were these huge cardboard boxes just full of yumminess… agh…


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