Rambling around Shetland, 1

posted in: Creativity, Serendipity, Travel, Wool | 5

During my time in Shetland, I focused on things I could not do elsewhere, because the time was short and precious. But there were also hours when none of the places I needed to access was open, or errands needed to be done (food, post office, map acquisition), and so on. Also my lack of familiarity with places to park in Lerwick meant that I left the car where it was easy to find a spot and walked to the other places that I needed to be—combination local-area transportation, exercise, and simply looking around (which can be informative).

Shetland weather varies a lot. During most of my trip, and for most of the places I needed to be, it was rainy.

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That said, often it was possible to wait half an hour or drive five miles and be in a different microclimate.

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Example above: fogged in on the east side of Mainland, and clearing on the west side.

High Level Music is a shop in downtown Lerwick that I hadn't had time to visit before, and which I'll need to explore more on the next trip. At least I got into it and looked around on this journey. (Although technically the address is Gardie Court, it's part of the Commercial Street area that is almost completely limited to pedestrian traffic.) I wish I had more time in my life for music!

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Of course I stopped in at Jamieson & Smith early in my visit (and later, too). It's shearing season, so there was almost no room to maneuver in the wool sheds.

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So Oliver Henry, the wool buyer, brought an unusual fleece into the shop area to show me. Sorry he's tilted, but I wanted both Oliver and the fleece, and I'd backed up as far as I could. . . . (If you like wool and/or sheep, don't miss the link at the beginning of this paragraph.)

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Jamieson & Smith introduced a worsted-spun fingering-weight yarn a couple of years ago at Shetland Wool Week. They are now making (but have not officially released) a worsted-spun Aran weight. I bought a ball and swatched with it—the first of two swatches from this yarn that I'll make for my breed-specific reference collection.

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That gave me the idea for another experimental project. This is the first attempt, although I've since started over with a slight modification. I'm using the fingering weight because I needed both worsted- and woollen-spun yarns of the same weight in the same color. I'd intended to use a lighter color, but this green was the best choice to limit the variables (thanks to Ella Gordon for helping me quickly narrow down the options once I'd given her the outlines of my idea).

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The pattern is Martina Behm's "Leftie," although instead of doing color contrasts I'm alternating the worsted and woollen yarns.

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On the next iteration, I've made a slight shift in the pattern so that the different qualities of the two types of yarns will be more evident. I'll show more photos later, after it's farther along (it's coming nicely).

I perused a lot of weather forecasts while in Shetland. The Norwegian maritime forecasts seemed to be quite good, overall. 

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Still, the best way to figure out the weather was to look out the window. 

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And then figure it would change before I got my boots on and went out the door.

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The Metcheck forecast system had a whole lot of appeal in the graphics-and-usability department, although I wasn't in Shetland long enough to really get adept at using all the content. The windspeeds turned out to be extremely useful. The rain projections were averaged over the whole area, and real-time evaluation out the window worked better for planning.

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Here's today's Metcheck narrative overview for northwestern Scotland, which is where I am:

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A look out the window a short while ago suggested that it's accurate.

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Yet the drive down the coast may be pretty anyway.

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5 Responses

  1. I can’t imagine being there and doing what you are accomplishing — amazing!

  2. Wow, Fair Isle guitars. That is just the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
    Caroline

  3. Caroline, I agree. And they’re not just any old guitars. They’re good guitars.

  4. PS did you know that the featured breed this year at Rhinebeck is Shetland??
    Caroline

  5. Caroline, I did know that Shetland is featured at Rhinebeck this year, and I was working on some ways to get there, but so far they haven’t come into focus.

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