Shetland Knitting Tour

May 14, 2024

Image of fresh flowers on a wooden table to welcome visitors for their Shetland Knitting Tour

A New Chapter: Reflecting on Our Journey and Celebrating a Successful Start to Our 2024 Tour Season

The curtains have closed on our first Shetland Knitting Tour of the 2024 season, and it was nothing short of magical. As the Shetland sun shone brightly for us and our guests experienced the very best of what these islands have to offer.

Returning to tours after a hiatus since 2019 wasn’t just a restart; it was a renewal. The past few years have been a transformative period. With the pandemic halting our tours, we pivoted to publishing with the Shetland Wool Adventures Journal and other publications, which sustained our connection to the world of Shetland wool. Yet, the call to return to what I love most—sharing Shetland in person with guests—was irresistible. The decision to pivot back and focus on tours again was daunting but filled with a sense of purpose and excitement.

Every aspect of the first tour of the season was marvellous. The guests adored their stay at the Aald Harbour Hoose, where Elizabeth’s warm hospitality and culinary delights became a highlight of their journey. The excellent weather was the cherry on top, with sunshine accompanying us for most of the tour, setting a spectacular backdrop to every adventure.

Join us as we reflect on the Shetland Knitting Tour of 2024

Our journey took us through the heart of Shetland’s wool industry. At Jamieson’s of Shetland, we experienced the fascinating process of yarn making—from fleece preparation to spinning and finally to the creation of their beautiful garments. Oliver Henry’s demonstration on Shetland wool at Jamieson and Smith provided deep insights into what makes Shetland wool so special and unique.

Our guests engaged in a variety of classes, learning techniques in Fair Isle, lace knitting, and colour blending, all while visiting crofts and farms. Notably, a visit to Ronnie Eunson’s Uradale farm and Donna Smith’s home offered a first-hand look at the local farming and crofting life.

We also travelled to the most northerly island, Unst, to admire Shetland fine lace, and explored the West and South of Shetland, adding a rich layer of natural beauty to the learning experiences.

The smaller group size truly enriched our experience. It fostered a close-knit atmosphere that allowed everyone to form genuine connections, not only with each other but also with our knowledgeable tutors, guides, and the local people they met along the way. This intimacy transformed the tour into a deeply personal and memorable exploration of Shetland and new friendships have been forged. 

Woman teaching people how to knit during a Shetland Knitting Tour

Deep Dive into Shetland’s Culture through one of our knitting tours

This tour wasn’t just about seeing Shetland but experiencing it through a deeper connection to the craft and heritage that are as enduring as the wool itself. Overcoming the challenges of the past few years has not only tested our resilience but also reinforced our commitment to sharing the authentic Shetland experience. Our guests left with not just memories, but new skills, deeper knowledge, and a profound connection to this incredible place.

As I reflect on this successful start to our season, I am filled with gratitude and excitement for the future. Restarting the tours required not just logistical planning but also a rekindling of the spirit that drives us. This tour reaffirmed our mission to provide deeply personal and educational experiences that resonate with the essence of Shetland. Here’s to more adventures, learning, and friendships in the beautiful Shetland Isles.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on this journey, and to those who will join us in the future, we can’t wait to share our home with you.

A Week of Discovery and Connection – take a look at what we got up to

Day 1: Arrival & Warm Welcome

Our first tour since the pause welcomed guests with a special dinner where we discussed our exciting itinerary and introduced the rich textile heritage of the islands. This gathering was particularly poignant, symbolising the renewal of our shared journeys and our commitment to our guests’ experiences.

Day 2: Exploring the Westside during our Shetland Knitting Tour

We ventured to the Westside, where the story of our textile heritage continued at Marion Anderson’s Breckenlea croft, and Jamieson’s of Shetland spinning mill provided insights into the fascinating process of yarn making. The day was a blend of education and inspiration, showcasing the lifecycle of Shetland wool from sheep to shop.

Day 3: Museum Insights and Fair Isle 

The Shetland Museum & Archives offered an in-depth look at textiles of national significance. This was complemented by a Fair Isle knitting class led by Donna Smith, enhancing our understanding and skills in Shetland’s most iconic knitting style.

Day 4: Northern Adventures to Yell and Unst

Our journey to Yell and Unst, the most northerly island, was filled with historical and natural discoveries, highlighting the island’s Viking heritage and traditional knitting practices showcased at the Unst Heritage Centre.

Day 5: Organic Farm Visit and Hap Knitting

At Uradale farm, we discussed the sustainability and beauty of native Shetland sheep, setting the stage for a hap knitting class with Donna Smith, where we delved into the traditional construction techniques of Shetland shawls.

Day 6: South Mainland Landscapes and Colour Blending

The spectacular landscapes of the south inspired our colour-blending class with Terri Malcolmson, drawing from the vibrant natural and cultural hues of Shetland.

Day 7: Farewell with Lace – the end of our Shetland Knitting Tour

We concluded our immersive, activity-filled week with a lace knitting workshop by Elizabeth Johnston, tying together the threads of Shetland’s lace knitting traditions.

Ready to join us for our 2025 Shetland Knitting Tours?

If you would like to book your 2025 Shetland Wool Adventure you can join the waitlist here. Join us on an unforgettable journey to discover Shetland and our unique textile heritage. Our immersive tours are designed to give an insight into Shetland’s knitting traditions and local textile industry. Each trip offers a carefully planned blend of workshops and classes aimed at opening up the world of Shetland knitting, with walks and excursions to explore and appreciate the landscape and history of our islands.

And if you can’t join us in 2025, you can always enjoy a taste of Shetland through our Journals.


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