The native sheep of the Shetland Islands, the northernmost group of Scotlandís island, produce a unique wool originally considered too fragile to be spun on industrial spinning machines. There was a strong local tradition of hand-spinning and knitting, but the local wool was sent out to be blended with coarser wools to withstand commercial yarn production.
Jamieson Shetland Spindrift
Shetland Spindrift Nighthawk
Jamieson Shetland Yarn
Shetland Spindrift Granite
It was the efforts of the Jamieson family that brought about 100% Shetland wool knitting yarn as hand knitters know it now. The family business, started in the 1890s, began when Robert Jamieson exchanged goods for cottage-produced knitwear which he sold off-island. His son Andrew became a wool broker, buying the local wool and sending it to the mainland to be blended and spun. It wasnít until 1981 when the family opened Jamiesonís Spinning in Sandness, the Shetland Islandsí only commercial mill. The mill produces 100% Shetland wool yarns in variety of weights. The entire milling process from scouring to dyeing, blending, carding, spinning and balling, takes place in the family mill. The line has expanded to include woven fabrics and machine-knit Fair Isle knitwear as well as the hand knitting yarns.
At River Colors, of course, itís the yarn that interests us and our customers. We stock Jamiesonís Spindrift, the traditional 2ply fingering weight used in Fair Isle colorwork. Each 25g ball yields 105 m of yarn, generally knit on 2.75-3.5 mm needles (North American sizes 2-4). Jamiesonís produces Spindrift in over 220 different colors with evocative names like Peat, Moorland and Thistledown, as well as traditional undyed fleece colors like Shomit, Eesit, Mooskit and Moorit. Simply Shetland, the North American distributor for Jamiesonís, provides pattern support with traditional tams and cardigans.