My 2019 Shetland Wool Week Experience Part 2

Sunday is normally my day of rest; usually spent writing my blogs, a Sunday run or occasionally watching a live game featuring Chelsea. Not this Wool Week Sunday! Our first visit was to the Museum and Archives, the various exhibitions and, of course the hub; focal point of Shetland Wool Week. We began with the hub and met up with Victoria and the rest of the hard working staff. They had seen a record number of people pass through the museum door on the first day. I met up with several old friends from previous wool weeks.

The Hub

We visited the various interesting exhibitions on show at the museum; the Nottingham – Shetland Knitted Lace research project, Lace Knitting from the Sea, Exploring Wool and Craft, Reconsider Wool, and Of the Land: Icelandic Wool.

We made our way into the centre of the town and on the way stopped to browse at the various wool related windows on display. We met with loads of Wool Week participants on the way to the hub and stopped for photos. Two in particular were old friends of mine, Mary Henderson, the designer, who was attending her tenth wool week, and accompanying her was Victoria Wickham who was on her 9th wool week visit.

Oliver and Friends
Smith and Robertson Fair Isle Window Display

 Our first stop was to visit Jamieson of Shetland’s shop in the centre of town and to have a chat with the person in charge of the shop, they were extremely busy so we did not take up a lot of her time.

Oliver at Jamieson of Shetland

Our next port of call further south along the street was to Vaila Fine Art and home of the Shetland Organic producers. We spoke with the owner and chatted to some of her helpers. One gentleman in particular had been chairman of the Amenity Trust and had been involved with the late Jeemie Moncrieff in developing Shetland Wool Week through the years.

Oliver at Organics

We then travelled home stopping first for lunch at a local café called the Dowry, we were very fortunate as most of the tables were taken up by wool week visitors! Fairly obvious proof that it was not just textile shops who were benefitting from all our visitors.

I went home for a short rest before travelling to the Clickimin Leisure Centre and the venue for the opening ceremony; this is our main leisure centre and the only establishment in the islands that could seat 500 guests! Catherine and I were seated with past wool week patrons and quite near the stage. There were a few speeches until I was called to the stage, Victoria and I had prepared a short speech and an introduction to HRH the Prince of Wales so I felt fairly confident. That was until I stood on the stage and saw the mass of Roadside Beanies; I was totally at a loss for words, extremely unusual for me.  I experienced a mixture of emotions apprehension, realisation and pride, the fact that so many people had knitted my Beanie in such a vibrant mix of colours, telling the story of my childhood crofting, fishermen that played such a huge and important part in the way of life in our islands.

Before my introduction of HRH the Prince of Wales, I explained briefly about the work of the Campaign for Wool and its role in setting up Shetland Wool Week. Who better to further elaborate on the work of the Campaign for Wool then its patron and founder HRH the Prince of Wales? This was a great honour for me and I had a sense of fulfilment as I had, in fact, carried out his orders all that years ago.

Claire and I at My Opening Speech

I will post a separate blog on the Seasons of the Crofter competition, Jamieson’s story competition and the Textile Charity Auction initative later on.

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