The Jam Factory Knitters' tour to Shetland was a great success. The weather was astonishingly kind to us, so much so that my more southerly friends don't believe it is ever wet and windy up there... We stayed right in the centre of the capital Lerwick, next door to the fabulous Shetland Museum. We did suitably "knitty" type things from Lerwick and up on the West and North Mainland for the first few days, including a tour of the Museum, a visit to Jamieson's Woollen Mill and Shop and a visit to the delightful little museum at Tangwick Haa. Then on 1st June we headed off to Fair Isle. We had a rough but memorable trip on the ferry over the notorious bit of sea from Grutness but once we were there the climate was positively Mediterranean! We stayed on a croft with Kathy Coull who gave us the most wonderful time and introduced us to many of the other talented people there: knitters, spinners, musicians and makers of traditional spinning-wheels and straw-backed chairs. We had lessons in spinning and Fair Isle knitting in the round using a knitting belt - and the opportunity to gain a little insight into life in an isolated yet creatively stimulating environment.
This was a pilot trip to Shetland for Stile Knits and we will certainly repeat it - more details on the website soon. Here are some of my pictures from the trip. Ross's Travelblog also has some excellent pictures and inspiring writing about the experience.
Meanwhile there is another interesting opportunity for knitters to visit Shetland in the very near future as the In the Loop Conference 2 is being held at the Shetland Museum and Archives from 1 to 5 September. This is being organised jointly by the Museum and the University of Southampton. The programme looks enticing and the two knitters we met on Fair Isle - Kathy and Anne Sinclair - are both presenting papers about their knitting interests. It should be a really good week. See http://www.soton.ac.uk/intheloop/ for more information.
Contact me if you are planning to go as I hope to be there and may be able to give you some advice and help about accommodation etc. You can find more information about visiting Shetland at Promote Shetland.