This week is Shetland Wool week 2021. The first time I visited Shetland, was for a Wool Week in 2015. I stayed at the hostel in Lerwick and every bed in every room was taken by wool week visitors. I fell in love with Shetland, its culture of knitting and the tangible, visible history across the islands. I also visited St Ninians for the first time and squealed with joy at just seeing it. I still sometimes squeal at seeing St Ninians.
Since 2015, I revisited again and again – for Up Helly Aa in 2016, a few more holiday trips, an Artist residency at the Booth in Scalloway in December 2017, and an R&D trip to Unst in 2018. All of these trips deepened my love of the social history across the islands and my love for Shetland knitting. I remember meeting Hazel Tindall in the Textile Museum one day in May 2017, and I recorded her talking about her Grandmother collecting the peats for the rayburn. (At that time, I had a passion for old stoves left in abandoned croft houses) I still have that recording and I have always been in awe of Hazel, her skill and her warm character. She makes me smile when I see her. She is a Wool Week Goddess. I met her for lunch a couple of months ago. We went to the Mareel. It was a joy to be with her, such an honour.
Six years after first visiting Shetland, it is once again, Wool Week. It is not a face to face Wool Week where thousands of participants descend upon Lerwick and the surrounding areas to enjoy workshops, trips, visits to museums and of course both Jamieson’s wool shops, but a virtual wool week. Next year will be real, I know it. But, in 2015, it was my first experience of being here – I sat by the pier knitting and watched an otter come in carrying a huge fish. He didn’t know I was there until I moved. I mean, a city girl watching an otter whilst sitting on the pier knitting in the town – who would have believed it?
Here is a blog from that time https://www.travelblog.org/Europe/United-Kingdom/Scotland/Shetland/Wick/blog-901174.html
This week, six years later, I am teaching Online Colour blending sessions in the Virtual Shetland Wool Week programme -2 this weekend, 2 next weekend and on Friday, three ladies are coming to the house to do a face to face colour blending session and incidentally, they are from my home town of Matlock. Seemingly, we are 6 degrees of separation, or maybe just one degree.
I’ve been teaching online sessions since January when one of my supporters asked for a class, in December, for her friends for a Christmas present. I said that I was busy with the house but would do a workshop in the January. It happened the last weekend of Jan, – I got in by the skin of my teeth and since then have been teaching up to 4 sessions every month ever since – except when I took a 6 week break to work on the Dear Susan Project. I would very much like to thank that supporter who truly developed my own Creative Practice.
This weekend, I have met ladies from America, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland. Today, I had two ladies join me from Canada and America at 2am and 5am their time – I felt honoured and flattered that they were so dedicated to join me in the middle of their night.
Every time I do an online workshop, I feel warm and happy afterwards. I get so many messages after the sessions that I know that all the hard work to teach, inspire, engage with and to share skills is worth it. Some of the ladies over the last 6 months have also become my international online friends – especially Cait St. George, whom I met through a session with Cream City Yarn in Milwaukee. Cait became my test knitter for Dear Susan and also number crunched the pattern. The Internet and Instagram has made these sessions possible and I want to thank every one who has attended a session already, everyone who is booked on to a session and to future bookers. You make my creative practice valued and I value every one who has joined me. If you would like to join a colour blending workshop, I have a couple of places left on 17th October and I am taking a waiting list for November (dates to be confirmed) If you go to my online workshop tab, here on the website, you can see information of the classes.
Here’s to Shetland Wool Week 2021.
I look forward to seeing your work – tag me on Instagram. Tracey 😊
Oh yes, I have 20% off all of my knitting patterns during wool week.
The code for the basket is Wool Week Workshop
and patterns are here