Sometimes there is poetry in a fiber – as there is in J&S. It has a little of all of the characteristics a fiber enthusiast might wish for. It is wool with a natural and textured touch. It comes in small doses so that one can play with color without guilt. It is fingering weight, opening up a world of possibility from shawls to hats and sweaters. It comes with a story.
I discovered Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Woolbrokers Ltd) at a Chicago yarn shop. It was love at first sight and touch. With a little research I learned more about this wonderful company. Its unique yarns are well known and adored by knitters who have a passion for colorwork and a favorite for fair isle knitters and weavers.
Jamieson & Smith (or J&S) was born in the 1930s and continues the traditions that were originally established. For example, they still purchase 80% of the Shetland wool from local crofters. The preparation is done in the shed adjoining their shop in the old North Road, Lerwick.
Even through email we could here the lilt in the story told by Kharis, our J&S contact.
“Crofters once sent their fleece to the mainland, usually Brora’s (no longer in operation but my Mam remembers the wool from their croft going there when she was peerie) to be “treated” before being returned to the islands. J&S continues this tradition with Haworth’s Scouring (using environmentally-friendly and efficient processes), with companies based in West Yorkshire, renowned for their textile heritage.”
All J&S products carry the 3 Sheep Logo guaranteeing that the wool is 100% Real Shetland Wool from pure bred Shetland Sheep born and raised on the islands. The rather harsh environment brings out the unique qualities of the Shetland breed of sheep. Wool of this breed of sheep raised in more gentle environments will not have the same strength and softness as sheep raised in Shetland.
We invite you to meet the J&S Jumper 2-ply yarn, fingering weight in the 40 colors that we have displayed on our art installation. Knit fair-isle or just play with color. We hope you will come to love all things Shetland!