making things “locally”

As my business has grown over the past few years I have learned a lot about making things locally. Working with Scottish, Irish, and English producers, I’ve made my own books, and yarn, and knitwear. I’ve collaborated with many different types of manufacturers, from printers and spinners to dyers and wool producers. Being able to… Read More

at Uist Wool

When you get involved in manufacturing yarn for hand knitters, one of the first things you learn about is just how bloody difficult it is just to get some elements of wool production done. I’m talking about the messy, dirty, non-glamorous things; the things like wool sorting, grading, and scouring (washing) or things that involve… Read More

croft, craft, creativity

One of the many things I really like about the communities and cultures of crofting is their distinctive effect on the way people work. What I mean is this: in towns and cities, jobs tend to become more and more specialised, people do what they do within smaller and smaller categories, individual work occurs in… Read More

Shetland Oo: making a book

Hello – it’s Tom here – for a change. Kate is busy working on her Islay project, and I’m taking a break today from shipping out orders. I wanted to say thanks so much for your interest in our Shetland Oo book. Apart from being my first major project as a photographer, Oo is the… Read More

Gudrun Johnston & Mary Jane Mucklestone

One of the best things about working in the field of hand-knit design is that it really is an industry which abounds with good eggs. In my view, two of the very best eggs around are Gudrun Johnston and Mary-Jane Mucklestone: great friends, talented designers, and Shetland enthusiasts. Gudrun spent her early years in Shetland,… Read More

sound and vision

My good friend Felicity Ford (aka Felix) is as enthusiastic as I am about Shetland and its wool industry. In 2013 (when she was patron of Shetland Wool Week) Felix worked on a number of field recordings for her important project, Listening to Shetland Wool. From the baas of lambs caught on the breeze, to… Read More

GlobalYell / Shetland Tweed Company

Shetland abounds with wonderful creative spaces, but surely one of the most inspiring has to be the charity that Andy Ross has established, nurtured, and developed in Yell. From its beginnings as an organisation focused on music and music teaching, GlobalYell expanded its focus a decade ago to textiles, and to weaving in particular. Over… Read More

Uradale

One of the really fascinating aspects about our Shetland Oo project has been finding out more about what motivates Shetlanders who work with wool, and what really makes them tick, both personally and politically (because yes, in so many ways wool is political). Ronnie Eunson and Sue White of Uradale farm, near Scalloway, are particularly… Read More

Shetland Tannery

As part of our work researching and documenting Shetland Oo, this past August, Tom and I met Natalie Cairns-Ratter of the Shetland Tannery. I’d acquired several of Natalie’s beautiful sheepskins on earlier Shetland visits, and was intrigued to learn more about the tanning process, and how her company came about. Small-scale tanning was previously a… Read More

sprint finish

It has been something of a hectic week here. Tom and I have had our heads down completing our new book, which, all being well, will go to the printers next week. The title we’ve settled on is Shetland Oo: Wool, Textiles Work, and those of you who were keen on the idea of a… Read More

Lives in oo

So this is the new project we are working on which has (until today) been very much under wraps! It has been on our minds for some time now for Tom to pursue a project exploring the documentary photography he particularly enjoys. . . and what better subject than a place we dearly love, and… Read More

The Buachaille song by Felicity Ford

At the end of last September, I travelled to Shetland for Wool Week. I’d spent several previous months exploring a new-to-me world of yarn development, and the result – Buachaille – was about to be launched with the Seven Skeins Club. At home, so many boxes of yarn had arrived that the bathroom floor had… Read More