Our first stop, and for Jean and I (Kath is a non-knitter), the long anticipated highlight of the trip to Shetland, was Jamieson & Smith. J&S, a shop located in Lerwick, sells yarn made from the fibre that comes from the Shetland sheep that sprinkle the islands. The building it occupies is divided into two spaces. The first holds the raw fibre, which gets sent to a mill in England to be processed.
The wool sorting room was the prelude to the big moment, the one I had been dreaming about and anticipating since the moment we purchased our plane tickets to Shetland. It was time to enter the front door of Jamieson & Smith's. I think you can gauge from our smiles how excited we both were! We might just have been edging from excited to giddy.
I also bought the yarn to knit the Scatness Tunic, a pattern that Kate Davies features in her Colours of Shetland book. I had decided before the trip that I would buy, over the counter instead of online, the yarn for one of her beautiful patterns. And there was a last minute slip when, completely overwhelmed by yarn fumes and the excitement of the moment, I also purchased the kit to knit up the peerie jumper you can see in the top left picture collage - it's the one on the right side of that picture. (By the way, the word peerie is the Shetland word for small.)
As we entered the croft house the pleasant smell and warmth of a peat fire burning in the hearth greeted us, as did the volunteer who works there. It took our eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim light, but once they did we looked at our surroundings in amazement. It was hard to believe that the two small rooms we were looking at could hold a large family.
We stopped at several small knitting studios as we journeyed along, and one of these stops turned out to be an unforgettable and quite unexpected experience. Unbeknownst to us we had landed in the studio of the lady who knit the sweaters for the two Shetland ponies used in pictures to promote tourism in Shetland! As we browsed around her studio admiring her work, she casually mentioned she was The Lady, Doreen Brown. Then she invited us into her home, sat on the couch in her living room and gave us a demonstration of how to use a knitting belt.