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Shetland Wool Week set for a very special year  

Published: 24 September 2019

Oliver Henry Patron Shetland Wool WeekThis Saturday marks the start of the 10th Shetland Wool Week.  The event has grown into one of Shetland’s biggest annual festivals and attracts people from all over the world for 9 days of workshops, tours, classes and events all celebrating Shetland Wool.

Organisers the Shetland Amenity Trust estimate that nearly one thousand people will be attending events this year and are warning Shetland to be prepared for a ‘woolly invasion’.  The number attending the event is estimated to be an increase of up to 50% on last year.

Victoria Tait who manages the event on behalf of the Trust said, “For our tenth year we have taken Wool Week back to its roots as a celebration of the wool industry, crofting, and the local community.  The community have really risen to the challenge and are offering events and exhibitions all week long from Unst to Fair Isle, Whalsay to Foula.  We also have croft tours on every day during Wool Week which are proving very popular.”

The very first Wool Week took place in 2010 and was a small event with only a handful of classes.  This year there are over 400 events on offer throughout Shetland, and for the first time there are trips to Foula as part of the Programme and the number of trips to Fair Isle has been increased, all of which sold out almost immediately.

Victoria continued, “From our research we estimate that the event is now worth over £1million to the local economy annually but could in fact be much higher.  The profile of Shetland Wool and Shetland itself has been raised dramatically by the event and can be seen in the growing demand for both Shetland Wool and year round textile tourism.”

Each year the event has a local patron with this year’s patron Oliver Henry, ‘Man of Wool’, proving a popular choice.  Past patrons will be in attendance at the event this year and have contributed patterns to the 2019 Wool Week Annual, which is the biggest ever, containing 16 patterns.
All the garments will be on display in the Shetland Museum throughout the week.

Key highlights include the SWW Hub, where there will be a chance to knit, mingle and take part in the many exhibitions as well as meet the MRI Makkers.  There is also the popular ‘Makers’ Market’ which will take place on Saturday 5th October from 11am to 4pm at the new Anderson High School.  There will be a vast array of high quality Shetland wool products on offer with over 30 stall holders exhibiting and refreshments provided by the school.  Organisers of the event will also be launching ‘Fair Isle Friday’ on Friday 4th October and are asking as many people as possible to get involved, to wear their Fair Isle on this day, and to share photos on social media using the #SWWFairIsleFriday.

To find out more and view the full programme of events you can pick up a programme at the Shetland Museum and Archives and other locations  or go online to www.shetlandwoolweek.com.