So having stocked up with yarn and fleece at J&S, yesterday we went over the hills to Sandness, heading for Jamieson’s mill.
Woolly life in Shetland is definitely more complicated than it could be, due to the names of the two main yarn companies!! Jamieson and Smith is one; Jamieson is the other. Jamieson and Smith is basically the same as Shetland Wool Brokers, and is generally called J&S. Jamieson’s (pronounced Jimmy-son) is a different company. J&S do 2 ply jumper weight as their main 4 ply/fingering weight; Jamieson’s does Spindrift.
(And as you are going to ask, both companies produce excellent yarns, and I use both. They are not the same – they do feel different. Of the fingerings, I prefer J&S yarn but Jamieson’s have a wider colour palette…. For lace knitting, J&S have much the better yarns, while for arans, Jamieson have a wider colour range. J&S tops are fantastic for spinning as well as dyeing and felting. Jamieson’s carded fibre is coloured and great for felting, but doesn’t spin well.)
Jamieson have their spinning mill over on the ‘West Side’, about 25 miles from Lerwick. The drive over is spectacular in all weathers – sun, rain, fog…. I have done them all! This time it was a bit windy, but not gales, and a bit rainy, but not constant.
Once you are out of Lerwick and beyond Weisdale, the road gets narrower, first with sections of single track, and then beyond the turning for Walls, all narrow single track with passing places. There are several miles without habitation, just peat with stony outcrops and shallow bits of water which dry up if there is no rain for a bit. Sheep live here, but not much else.
Then you start to come down off the hill to the west coast, with its border of (relatively) good, green farmland, and the village of Sandness.
Jamieson’s not only spin their yarn at the mill but they also make garments from that wool and do some of the finishing there. (The rest is done in Lerwick.) As the knitting machines sometimes drop a stitch, or go wrong in others ways, they have scrap pieces which they sell for felting or whatever. They also have carded ‘remains’ for felting. This is what we had come for.
We are, as they say, not disappointed! A huge great box of knitted bits for foraging in. It is always pot luck as to whether they have any, and if they do, what colours. This time we had plenty of choice. We were given a big black plastic sack and told to get on with it. We did!!
Katherine and I shared one bag quite happily. These ‘mistakes’ used to be waste, but since Burra Bears came on the scene, there has been a trend towards using the pieces for a variety of projects. Very eco-friendly, and fun…
I also wanted some of their carded remains. This is not nice for spinning, but great for felting. I have several colours at home and wanted more for use in workshops next year. Again I was lucky – they had some lovely colours.
Once we got back to the flat, we emptied the bag onto the floor and picked out our own:
Now all I have to do is get it all in my case….