A knit-along, beautiful kits, inspiration, heritage and a donation. We can't wait to knit the 2021 Shetland Wool Week hat with all of you!
A year ago, as we were slowly adjusting to the “new normal” of Virtual Knit Group, and curb collection from our favourite yarn shop, we found comfort in knitting the lovely hat that Wilma Malcolmson, patron for the 2020 Shetland Wool Week, had designed in honour of her mother: the now famous Katie’s Kep. Janice had put together beautiful kits of Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift, expertly choosing the colours, and the Baa! community knit along produced a wonderful array of beautiful Keps.
A few months later, when it was announced that Shetland Wool Week 2020 would be cancelled, and that Wilma would remain as the patron for 2021, we were all hoping for another of her delightful designs. And we waited patiently, knitting a few more Katie’s Keps… until a couple days ago, when the new pattern got published! Hurray!
Da Crofter's Kep, a tribute to the crofters of Shetland
Wilma Malcolmson has done it again! She has created a beautiful kep, Da Crofter’s Kep, in honour of her dad, Tammy Fraser, and of “the people who work the land [t]here in Shetland”.
In her words: “For generations, and in all weathers, their commitment to their land and livestock has ensured that families are provided for and a special way of life has not been lost. Without them there would be no Shetland sheep, no wool and no yarn... imagine that!”
…no we cannot really imagine, for we love our Shetland yarn! As you may know, Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift is Janice’s favourite yarn, and quite possibly mine too! Why? Simply because it is a wonderful woolly yarn. It is perfect for traditional fair isle garments of course, and all stranded knitting in general. It also gives a wonderful light and warm woolly fabric to all projects. And the array of colours is unrivalled!
Why we love Jamieson's of Shetland Spindrift
On top of the wonderful qualities of the yarn itself, Baa! is particularly fond of the fact that Jamieson’s of Shetland is a family-owned business, and has kept all of its production on Shetland. Not only are the local savoir-faire and traditions preserved, but this structure also has ecological advantages, giving Spindrift yet another reason to love it.
"Jamieson’s is a family-owned business, which has specialised in wool from the native Shetland sheep for 5 generations. The family are dedicated to the survival of this unique fibre and as each new generation joins the business, this promotion becomes their life’s ambition. In 1981, they opened Jamieson’s Spinning, Shetland’s only commercial woollen mill. This unique mill, built in Sandness, completes all the stages of yarn production under one roof. This includes grading, scouring and dyeing fleece before colour blending, carding, spinning, twisting and balling to produce their 100% pure Shetland yarn."
(Source - "About Us", Jamieson's of Shetland.)
A “Baa” Crofter’s Kep Knit Along!
After the success of the Katie’s Kep knit-along in the Baa! community in 2020, it was only natural that we launch a Baa/Da Crofter’s Kep knit-along! Will you join us?
Have a look at the Da Crofter's Kep kits that Janice has expertly put together! There are 10 kits so far, and I love them all! You will find kits based on the five original hats as shown in the pattern, but also many more, inspired by lovely pictures of talented photographer Jenny Anderson (Janice’s youngest daughter). Travel the world in pictures, and knit yourself a kep to match! Isn't it dreamy?
Get your free pattern from the Shetland Wool Week website -- scroll down a little for the link to the PDF pattern. Any question? Contact us and we'll help!
Unsure about technique? Would you like some tips? Join us during our Virtual Knit-Along on Zoom and we will be delighted to help you. Or simply join us to ooooh and aaaaah on colour choices and knitting progress!
Baa!'s support to Shetland Wool Week
Like Wilma Malcolmson, who raises awareness about the legacy from the crofters of Shetland, the traditions and savoir-faire that must be protected and carried on, Baa! would like to participate in this effort to preserve and promote the heritage of Shetland.
Shetland Wool Week is run by a small charity, the Shetland Amenity Trust, who's mission is "to safeguard, enhance, and promote Shetland's heritage, ensuring it is accessible to be enjoyed by all. Shetland Amenity Trust constantly strives to preserve and enhance everything that is distinctive about Shetland's cultural and natural heritage, promoting access to it whether physical or intellectual."
With the cancellation of last year’s Shetland Wool Week, and in these uncertain times, the Shetland Amenity Trust are facing challenges. As a result, Baa! has decided to donate £1 for every Da Crofter’s Kep Kit purchased, to this charity in support of the Shetland Wool Week event.
Join the Baa's knit-along!
Ready your pins and your pattern, grab your 6 colours of woolly goodness, and let's get started!
If you wish to place an order from overseas, get in touch via the website or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are happy to post direct but prefer to give you an individual quote for shipping.
Please share progress of your Kep’s with us. If posting on social media, use tag #baacrofterskep so we can see all your wonderful knitting! We can’t wait to admire your in-progress and finished keps!
PS: Yes, I couldn't resist, and have already a first kep on my needles, out of my Spindrift stash, because I cannot really rely on the post between the UK and Middle East these days. So here is my not-so-subtle version, with Rosewood as MC, and Madder, Sunrise, Daffodil, Natural White and Granite as contrasts. I like it, but I will definitely knit another one or two with the more subtle colours chosen by Janice! I don't know about you, but Loch Maree and the Black Sands of Iceland are calling my name...