Plan: Considering it’s the last full day in Shetland, visit any sites near Lerwick that were previously missed before driving North. Stay at Westayre B & B in Muckle Roe and visit Eshaness area. If there’s enough time visit Tangwick Haa Museum in the afternoon.
It was our last day in Lerwick so we packed up the car and headed over to Jamieson & Smith (Wool Brokers) Ltd. (know as “the wool brokers” to locals). It was one more place I was itching to see but hadn’t managed to visit earlier since it’s not within the easily reach of the main part of town.
As you can see it’s a very unassuming place from the outside but once inside I knew was in the right place. The shop isn’t huge but they’ve somehow managed fit three floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with yarn, wool and knitting accoutrements along the walls. All are easily accessible by customers as well as staff. I had no problem dashing from one bin to the next pulling out skeins to compare one with the other. My purchases quickly piled up on one of the counters in the middle of the shop. The two women working that day were very pleasant and eager to help. It was a delight to chat with both women. Both were avid knitters and/or spinners.
Like a kid in a candy store, it was difficult to limit my purchases to the space left in my luggage. After about an hour of fondling yarn and chatting I settled on some lace weight wool, a few skeins of jumper weight wool, a knitting belt with needles, four 100gm bags of combed Shetland wool and a poster illustrating Shetland sheep markings. Needless to say, I could have spent hours there talking with those women but needed to get going. Before heading north I wanted to stop by Wilma Malcolmson’s studio which about 10 miles south of Lerwick.
A fellow Feral Knitter who had been to Shetland a few years ago mentioned that Wilma’s studio wasn’t to be missed. I was planning on stopping by there the previous Sunday but somehow missed it. When someone else from the island mentioned that I must drop by there to see her work I knew we had to go down there again, even if it was out of the way.
The studio was not far off the main road and not hard to find. We just had to follow the sign that pointed to Shetland Designer. I suppose we had missed it the last time because I hadn’t connected Shetland Designer with Wilma Malcolmson. As promised her studio was a feast for a Fair Isle knitter. Not only did she have a large range of knitwear for sale but her studio was right next to the shop within easy view of customers. In the studio she had several color stories prominently displayed with each displaying several carefully arranged knitwear pieces next to an inspiring photo or illustration. All were quite different from the others. As a knitter I knew her work was exceptional but my husband, who wasn’t impressed with Fair Isle sweaters, surprised me by holding up several and asking my opinion on which to buy. As we drove off he commented on how distinctive the colorways of her knitwear is in comparison to what we had previously seen. Unfortunately Mrs. Malcolmson was not there when we stopped by.
With my two “must sees” out of the way we headed north to check in at Westayre B & B before heading farther up to Eshaness. I’ll leave that part of the day for my next post (hopefully tomorrow).
I’m sorry to keep drawing this whole trip out over many posts but you’d be surprised at how long it takes me to sort through photos, load them and then write about my experiences. I write about as fast as I knit – average to slow – but, I hope that this info will be of use to other knitters considering a trip to Shetland. It’s a wonderful place to visit, especially if you’re a knitter interested in learning about traditional knitting.
I love the suspense. Drawing it out like this gives me something to look forward to. I am really enjoying your travelogue. Thanks.
Don’t apologize, it’s an amazing account. Wilma Malcolmsen is incredible. And it’s great you got to visit J&S.
No apology necessary. It’s a treat to read about your trip, and having it in several bite-sized posts makes it easier to digest! If I ever get to Shetland I know what I’ll be re-reading prior to the trip! 🙂
Oh absolutely no apology necessary :)! I’ve been looking forward to each installment of your trip as well. I am very inspired to hopefully journey to Shetland one day too. I’ve always longed to visit in this vacinity anyway, but your travelogue is just making it all that much more intrigueing. Speaking of being intrigued, the mention you made of knitting belts has definitely piqued my interest. I’m going to have to look up more about them…..
i’m enjoying your travelogue!
Please don’t apologize. I’m enjoying all this so much. I don’t expect to ever get to travel there myself, so this is a real treat.