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Eighth Shetland Wool Week begins this weekend

Zoom The eighth Shetland Wool Week will be kicking off on Saturday 23 September for a nine-day celebration of Shetland’s textile heritage and wool and crofting communities.

The festival, which is run by the Shetland Amenity Trust, is going from strength to strength, and expects to welcome some 500 visitors to the isles from all over the world.

Events, talks, demonstrations, workshops, and tours are planned for every day of the week and take place from the very south to the north of the islands. In addition to many tutors from the local community, including Donna Smith, Hazel Tindall, Elizabeth Johnston, Niela Kalra, Joanna Hunter, Anne Eunson and Terri Malcolmson, there are also a number of visiting tutors, with a focus on Iceland and Sweden.

This year the programme is bigger than ever with over 300 events taking place, which include knitting, weaving, spinning, felting, crochet, colourwork, dyeing, tours and talks as well as a host of free exhibitions, demonstrations and drop-in events.

The festival is an important date in Shetland’s calendar and has a growing number of supporters. Carol Christiansen, curator and community museums officer at Shetland Museum and Archives explained: “While Shetland Wool Week has always been about wool, we have been surprised and delighted that so many participants are thirsty for information about Shetland’s cultural heritage too.

“The community museums and groups play a crucial role in SWW and it’s encouraging to see the range of open days, demonstrations and exhibitions open to everyone, taking place in community halls, such as Ollaberry, Whalsay, Unst and Yell.”

The SWW ‘Hub’, which is located in the Gadderie at the Shetland Museum and Archives, will be open all week from 10.00am – 7.30pm. Everyone is encouraged to drop by to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and take in the special exhibitions. Copies of the SWW Annual 2017 – which is now in its third edition – will be launched here on Saturday. The Annual, which in the past had been an instant sell-out, features 12 knitting patterns from local and international designers and five essays. There will also be a range of SWW merchandise available, featuring a specially commissioned motif by Natty Maid of a striking black and white Fair Isle jumper mounted on a jumper board, inspired by a 1913 child’s jumper from Fair Isle in the Shetland Museum’s Textile Collection.

Another highlight of the week is the Makers’ Market on Saturday 30 September at Islesburgh Community Centre from 11.00 – 4.00pm. This is a popular event and features a broad range of producers who do not typically appear at other craft events.

The opening ceremony takes places on Sunday 24 September at the Clickimin Centre. Tickets for the evening are already sold out but it will be streamed live on SWW Facebook from 7.00 – 9.00pm. Victoria Tait, SWW co-ordinator said: “We’ve got a great line up for this year’s opening ceremony, with talks, a discussion panel, light bites from the Splediburn Café on Bressay using local produce, as well as music from Vair. It will also be our second SWW fashion show, which has been curated by Faye Hackers of Shetland College, UHI. For those who are unable to attend the opening, there will be a chance to see the garments throughout the week as they will be on display at the Old Bressay School from Monday 25 September until Sunday 1 October.

“There’s a real buzz and enthusiasm for the event and we’re looking forward to welcoming people from near and far. Keep a look out for all the ‘Bousta Beanies’ as designed by this year’s SWW Patron Gudrun Johnston.”

There is a small number of tickets available to workshops and talks and folk are encouraged to take a look at the SWW website or drop by the museum to make any last minute bookings.

For details visit: www.shetlandwoolweek.com and for all updates follow the SWW social media.

Shetland Wool Week takes place from 23 September – 1 October.