Settling down with a steaming cup of tea, you are looking to be transported to wild and distant shores. And a captivating new world you never even knew existed.
You might have seen snapshots of life on these magical islands online, but details are breezed over, and you're left trying to stitch together ho-hum snippets and one–dimensional soundbites.
You’re curious about finding a more authentic representation of what life there is really like for the people who call it home.
Not just the textiles of today, but where they’ve come from, and how their threads knit the community together.
There is something therapeutic about unearthing the simplest of details of everyday life in a new and intriguing culture. But you want to hear it from the perspective of a neighbour, not just someone briskly passing through.
So I wanted to bring you first-hand accounts, intertwined with tales from the past. From the hardships of island life, to the innovative solutions that let us live off the land here.
You can get to know many of the people in our thriving wool industry, from crofters to craftspeople, living everyday lives. Now you can experience what life is like as a local, in this place I now fondly call home. And that has welcomed me so generously.
I first came to visit Shetland in 1999 on a school exchange trip. Even though I had grown up in the Czech Republic, I felt welcome here straight away — like I was already part of this unique island family. My first memories of Shetland were at the most breathtaking spots on long coastal hikes, being shown around by my host family. Through their generosity, I fell in love with the place.
I was also intrigued by the culture, curious about the intertwining of Scottish and Scandinavian traditions.
For you, I’m sure there are places that are like a magnet. Just the feel of the place keeps drawing you back, again and again. That’s how Shetland felt to me.
After a couple of summers working in one of the local hotels — Herrislea House in Tingwall — I fell in love with a local. And I knew I had to move here for good.
These wide open spaces leave you heady from all that fresh air. And the winters can be hard. Living here isn’t for everyone. But these isles are a rugged treasure, a fleck of gold in the open ocean.
I wanted others to experience its specialness too. I’m so very proud of myself for taking the leap — leaving a traditional 9-5 job — and following my passion. And so Shetland Wool Adventures was born: the best way for you to explore this beautiful place… like a local.
And if you were curious, that's hello in Shetland dialect, and also Czech!
A sense of place that Lonely Planet can only dream of.
Shetland Wool Adventures group knitting tour guest
"I think Misa's biggest asset is Misa. Honestly, I think her biggest selling point is herself. She's just a remarkable person. She's a very giving person. A very warm person. She has made friends with or is involved with a lot of the people in Shetland that you want to know or hear from or learn from. And so she can put those types of educational opportunities together. And that's a huge strength I think.
Because of Misa’s many connections, there's a warmth between the workshop facilitator, the student and the instructor. There’s greater patience, the teachers are very engaged. And that translates to the students. This feeling and attention to detail isn’t something you would experience in a typical workshop setting."
Thankfully, as the world opened back up, people were able to visit us here again in person. But, knowing that travelling here isn’t possible for everyone — and after being overwhelmed by the positive response I got from publishing the first Journal — I am so excited to continue the adventure with this publication. And share more stories and culture of Shetland around the world, with the birth of my newest venture, 60 North Publishing.
I have always had a passion for print. And for those images that tell tales of a thousand words. And am I the only one who smells new books when you open them?
Sometimes decisions are taken out of our hands and we simply have to act. In the Spring of 2020, our lives – as we knew them — unravelled overnight. I was deeply disheartened to have to cancel my tours. I was worried for the future of my company and for our isolated isles, teetering between the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and the North Sea on the east.
I wanted to connect Shetland with the rest of the world. Even if no one was able to visit for the time being.
Bringing these stories to you on paper was the next best thing. The Journal was established to take these deep and honest island insights and preserve them, celebrating our people, the place, and the past.
You’re not just breezing through Shetland’s cultural hotspots — see Shetland through the eyes of the people who live there.
The nuances, the emotions, the connections between the people and the land, formed by the harsh conditions
Unveil narratives from the past and see how they’ve passed down through generations, to become the stories of today.
Amidst the challenges of living at 60° North, where winters are harsh and storms roll in from across the ocean, my very own kitchen garden still gives abundantly.
Savour inspiring recipes — and excerpts from my very own published cookery book, A Year In My Shetland Garden — using seasonal home-grown and foraged ingredients to create deliciously wholesome meals and sweet treats.
You can connect to the islands’ most creative knitwear designers from the comfort of your cosiest armchair, with 6 new modern and approachable knitting patterns in each volume.
Explore colour and texture with confidence, developing your knitting expertise and honing skills such as Fair Isle and lacework for which Shetland is renowned.
Guided by Shetland’s most prolific knitters, you can keep your hands busy, stitch a gift for a loved one, or unwind after a busy day, by engaging in this timeless craft passed down through generations.
Whether you knitted at your Granny’s knee, or bought your first pair of needles after discovering the knitting community online, we take inspiration from those who have stories to tell.
It’s the characters and personalities that illuminate these stories, crafting a sense of kinship between those with which we share a passion for creativity and making, all across the world.
Learning about the heritage of this craft can take our own knitting practice to a deeper level, where we feel more connected to the stewards of making both past and present. Just by being here, you are helping to keep these stories alive.
Start exploring where these crafts have come from, embracing traditional techniques with a modern twist and familiarising yourself with one of the great epicentres of knitting. The Journal will bring you closer to the rich history and vibrant present of this captivating craft, directly from its beating heart.
Since living here, I’m proud to have worked with many fantastic organisations. When I’ve not been hiking the stunning coastal walks with my camera, I’ve contributed to the successes of Shetland Islands Tourism Information Centre, Visit Scotland, Promote Shetland Shetland Museum & Archives, and Shetland Wool Week. These experiences have allowed me to deepen my understanding of Shetland and its heritage, as well as sustainable destination management.
Journal reader from Northamptonshire, England
“Anything to do with the history of yarn is my passion. I learnt from every woman around me, they were always trying new patterns. I was thinking that my buying it was helping talented people survive on a remote island to keep traditions going. We must pass on the ways.
I always look forward to getting the Journal. I see the cost as my luxury treat and it is one you can enjoy time again unlike wine, chocolates or cake. At my age, it's experiences that can be remembered, like teaching my granddaughter to spin.”
Even if you are reading the Journal from afar, you can become deeply connected to Shetland in a very real way. By supporting small Shetland businesses, where the money you spend stays within the local economy, you are making a direct contribution to keeping Shetland and its great heritage alive. And investing in its future. For every journal you buy: thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Follow the journey, from sheep to spinning wheel, to the dance between yarn and knitting needles — no need to step foot on a plane. You don't even need to leave the comfort of your living room.
The relationship between nature and people has always fascinated me. These islands hold millenia of memories, stories, human history and wisdom. Through the Journal, we can preserve them and keep them thriving.
Journal reader from Pasvik, Norway
“Social media is kind of superficial for knitting content. It doesn’t go in depth. So I bought the Journal as I had a desire to learn more in depth about everyday life of people and handwork.
I often wonder, how did Shetland women ‘manage it all’? How was life lived in isolation? The historical meaning of handwork, I believe, holds the key to a more sustainable society and climate change. Knitting for example was not a leisure activity as many see it today, it was a means for surviving.
I remember one about lighthouses (I find lighthouses fascinating! People actually lived in them, such an important job!) and one about the ‘multitasker knitter’. These are the kind of stories I personally want to read about, everyday moments. After all, as Annie Dillard says: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives’.”
keep your hands busy with traditional and contemporary designs
dream up a little bit of Shetland, right at home
where, why and how things are made
meet the inhabitants living off the land
unearth the roots of Shetland culture
Discover hidden treasures in our most recent volume of the Shetland Wool Adventures Journal. And you will be supporting our little islands, too.