I work at Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers in the North Road, Lerwick capital of the Shetland Islands a remote archipelago far out in the North Sea over 100 miles from the U.K. Mainland.
Shetland is renowned in the global Textile world for its exceptionally fine wool fibre shorn from the distinctive Shetland sheep. I have worked with Shetland Sheep, Wool, Real Shetland Knitting yarns plus other unique textile products for over 50 years. My main duties are handling annually over 80% of the Island’s wool clip, grading and hand sorting the fleece. I have been judging Shetland wool and Shetland Rams wool on the hoof for over thirty years.
I was educated at Hamnavoe Primary & Secondary School Burra Isle, Lerwick Central School and the North of Scotland College of Agriculture Aberdeen.
My notable achievements in employment have been my involvement in helping revive Shetland’s past textile strengths such as hand tufted rugs and carpeting 1992, reintroducing undyed Natural yarns 1997 with Yarns International, U.S.A. More recently I have been working along with Shetland Museum and Archives in reviving original Shetland worsted Lace and Heritage jumper yarns as well as local historical projects.
I have been personally responsible for carrying out the wishes of my employer & the Campaign for Wool which resulted, in setting up Shetland Wool Week. This formed part of the International Campaign for wool. Along with local community partners the very first Shetland Wool Week 2010 brought together the community of wool producers, knitters, manufacturers and craft workers to bring one of the finest wools in the world to the global stage.
On accepting the role of patron of Shetland Wool Week I became aware I would have to be involved in social media, something I know little about and left to others. Recently I wrote the story of J & S since its conception however we had to reduce the content therefore missed a lot of detail. I wrote my own story of my journey with sheep and wool of which 52 years have involved working for J & S. I felt it fitting in my position as patron to take extracts from my wool journey and put it in a blog format, I hope it is of interest to you the reader.