A Potpourri of Shetland Events…

…since we’ve been without broadband for several weeks. This problem was self-inflicted and not due to any weather conditions.

Shetland Wool
Over the last several years, quality control has become an expected and commonplace routine for producers. Shetland wool goes through a rigid quality control in its own special way when, each year with local agriculture shows, inspections and grading of wool are carried out and the results exhibited for the public. But, afterwards, when the wool is going to be used to produce sweaters or the intricate Shetland shawls, how do these things get the seal of approval?

The best way found over the years is to have the knitters themselves gather together and judge knitted products. Each year, a solemn meeting is held in Shetland where knitters, through an organization called The Shetland Knitters, Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild, meet and take out their enlarging glasses to do a thorough inspection of sweaters, shawls and other hand-knitted products to judge if these are to the standards and expectations set up from hundreds of years of knitting.

So it was again this year. After each participating example is put under the enlarging glass and critically scrutinized by the guild, the public is then allowed to see for themselves the superb and awesome quality of knitted Shetland handcraft. This system of self-examination seems to strengthen knitting handcraft for generations to come.

Eco-Wool Producers
When confronted with a choice of “organic” or “non-organic” food and products, it is often a puzzle and search between an array of different symbols and markings describing different degrees of environmentally sound/unsound products. But, one thing that can be easy to identify with Shetland products is the almost total organic lifestyle Shetland has.

The last five months have shown that sheep, a base product of Shetland where for every Shetlander there are 13 sheep, peacefully roam the grassy crofts at will and eat grass that more or less is never plowed, seeded nor fertilized. So, the lambs that are sold or the wool fleece that one buys are free of any additives that would be expected for…hmmm…other parts of the European Union. You can probably trust that any Shetland home grown product is “chemical free” and you purchase a superb quality that would make…hmmm…Bryssels jealous.

Photo:Shetland Organic Producers’ Group exhibition at wool and knitting awards

One particular group that is representative for organically grown Shetland wool is Shetland Organic Producers’ Group and who have an official EU stamp of approval for their products and methods of production. This is great and I can highly recommend them. If you’re not “sheepish”, contact ’em and they probably can ship genuine organic Shetland wool or yarn to ya. If you’re a great knitter, why settle with something less than Shetland wool?

Personally, I cannot understand why Sweden, or any other Nordic country, would want to import other lamb meat than Shetland lamb; closer with shipping and organically raised. So, allow me to coin a new marketing phrase… Shetland croft products are organic…by nature! (Gotta get me a bumper sticker with this.)

Halloween in Shetland

Yes, All Saints Day came to Shetland. We loved it! The pumpkins were carved, sweets were in supply and small ghosts, goblins and other strange creatures or princesses came to our (former) place of domicile. There were no special times to do “Trick or Treating”. The night was beautifully…Halloweenish. It was “horridly” great fun. Judge yourself by these photos…

Photo: The Great Pumpkin of Shetland

Photo: Really scary visitors!

…and, a few more from Shetland…
Photo 1: Lerwick “Skyline” Pan

Photo 2: Lerwick Downtown- Market Cross Pan with snow

Photo 3:Lerwick looking east with Clickimin Leisure Center to right

Photo 4: A wintery Scalloway, Shetland

Photo 5: Northlink Ferries and Holmsgarth Ferry Terminal- Lerwick, Shetland

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