Fernlea Maakin To Feature In Auction for Shetland Wool Week

With Shetland Wool Week 2020 curtailed due to the Covid19 pandemic, tonight’s post comes with mixed emotion. We remember all to clearly how supportive Shetland Wool Week visitors were last year, raising over £15,000 for us during their time here. In the absence of a virus which has seen virtually all wool festivals globally cancelled, we’d most likely have already raised enough for Shetland’s own MRI Scanner. We had thought, it would’ve been nice to host a night with the MRI Maaker’s during Shetland Wool Week, not to raise funds, but to say thank you to the many visitors who would have been a significant part of our already achieving that goal.

Sadly that was not to be. The organisers who bent over backwards to help us last year unable to put on the event they’d have wanted. The decisions made can’t have been easy, but we’re sure you’ll return in person in future years. At the moment we must accept the restrictions put in place to protect our most vulnerable. Particularly in a place like Shetland where the intensive health care required to treat the most severe infections is so logistically challenging to provide in any large scale.

We’re glad that Shetland Wool Week has managed to find a format to go ahead in some way despite everything. Much of that will be virtual and absent of the usual first hand experience of our local ways and cultures. The same modern technologies that have made the MRI Maaker’s successful playing it’s part for Wool Week. Along with the many local businesses that depend on it.

Those who depend on care homes and daycare centres have been particularly affected by restrictions since March. So we were all the more excited to receive a package from Fernlea today! Within it the fantastic sum of £310 which they’ve raised in their own way for us. There’s also some hand knit items from the Harriet Collection (more on this later). Which brings us perfectly onto what we’ll be doing over Shetland Wool Week.

Over the course of the week we’ll be adding finished items to the online store right here. In between online courses or whatever else takes your fancy from SWW2020, something may catch your eye. The organisers have, again, very generously given us a free listing in their virtual Maakers Market. Rather than having a weekly auction this week, we’ll also be having a one off Special Shetland Wool Week MRI Maaker’s Auction. These items will be listed throughout the week, so you can view them in your spare time. However for these selected hand knit items, all in Shetland Wool, bidding will only be available for 24 hours on market day, Saturday 3rd 2020. Bidding will run from midnight to midnight GMT. Auctioned items will include knitwear we received from the Fernlea Maakers, all over 80 years young!!

Please keep in mind though, that workload outwith MRI Maakers remains high (No weekend off for Billy again this week). So items bought/winning auctions may not ship the following day. Auction bids exclude shipping costs (typically between £5 and £20 depending on size and country).

We’d like to thank Shetland Wool Week for including us again, their support along with all of yours from around the world is truly appreciated. Thank you.

Hope you enjoy what they’ve managed to put together for you in these trying times, Shetland Wools are sure to last into the better times ahead.

New Weekly Online Auctions as Local Stores Lend a Hand

With the MRI Maakers unable to continue with their fortnightly knit nights, we have had to review how we move forward and still raise funds for the scanner in a safe and manageable way.

Many local stores have kindly taken some of our finished items to sell on our behalf. The proceeds will continue to be donated directly to the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal fund through us but they provide a valuable and much needed outlet while there is no option of local craft fares. Stores listed at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, our online store remains open. Although items may not be shipped the following day, we will ensure they’re dispatched as soon as possible in the current circumstances.

Our last Auction, the 3 piece hand knitted set, was popular and so at a recent MRI Maakers Zoom meeting, it was agreed we should try one or two auction items each week. This will provide an exciting way for people to support us and at the same time keep things logistically manageable given other commitments. There are a number of more unique items which we feel are well suited.

To start our regular auctions, we begin with a prize winning Triangular Lace Shawl, hand knit by Janette Budge, someone many of you will know of. The listing is available to bid on now via the following link – Triangular Lace Shawl

Thanks as always for your continued support. And thanks to the outlets listed below for making some of our hand knit items available to local folk tourists alike.

These outlets are…Mainlands Mini Market, Dunrossness.
Bigton Community Shop.
LHD. Marine Supplies. Esplanade, Lerwick
Robinson &Morrisons, Weisdale.
Tagon Stores. Voe.

Post Lockdown Update & Harriet’s Hand Knit Auction

The pandemic has brought challenges and difficulties for everyone around the world, and the fundraising efforts of the MRI Maakers is no exception. The fortnightly knitting night was suspended slightly ahead of the UK lockdown with the majority of regular maakers being in the higher risk groupings. Thankfully we were able to bring some cheer with the Jamieson’s of Shetland bauble auction before things became all the more difficult.

With Billy working in estates at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, he was heavily involved with the many extensive alterations needed to accommodate Covid 19 patients and provide safer working areas for staff. Not was that difficult in terms of time and urgency, but for a significant period while the situation here was at it’s worst, he had to move into temporary accommodation to avoid the risk of bringing the virus into a vulnerable household. Thankfully, for now at least, that aspect is a little less tense and he is back home. However, at work focus has now moved to modifications aimed at providing safe pathways and areas for elective care. So time constraints remain well above normal as more routine procedures are made available.

All of this means that over the past few months our online presence has been virtually non-existent. While we’ve done our best to keep up with orders some were delayed much more than we’d have liked. Some messages/emails slipped through the net, particularly while Billy wasn’t at home with limited time and access. So there’s a little catch up with those to do now they’ve been identified. Sorry for any inconvenience, but we’ll resolve any outstanding issues ASAP.

Sadly, with work commitments as they are, we still can’t commit to processing physical orders within 2 working days. Where we can, we will, but it won’t always be possible.

The fortnightly knit nights also remain suspended for the foreseeable future. The GBH servery remains closed to the public and access to the hospital is understandably very limited.

Moving Forward

We do however still have quite a bit of stock, and our volunteers are busy trying to make it available in local stores. We’ll post a list of where you can find our fundraising items shortly and we’re grateful to any local stores who have been willing to help us sell them.

Work behind the scenes for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal has been ongoing. This week the Shetland Charitable Trust unanimously agreed to contribute the fantastic sum of £500,000 towards the appeal. Currently the totaliser shows just over £815k but this doesn’t include the Charitable Trust’s donation. Meaning the total raised so far is over £1.3 million. Over £91,000 of that total has come from the hard work of our MRI Maaker volunteers with your support.

We’d obviously love to get the MRI Maakers total over £100k, it’s the next obvious milestone to aim for while the Scanner Appeal continues to raise the remaining £300k needed. With that in mind, Harriet has been busy during lockdown knitting a matching set from her collection of patterns.

The set, all knit by Harriet herself, comprises a Harriet’s Hat, Harriet’s Reversible Cowl, and Harriet’s Fingerless Gloves. We’ll be auctioning this unique set, made by the designer herself, with bids closing on Saturday 29th.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the last auction, and the Cowl knit by Gracie Arthur was highly sought after. So we thought this was a great way to start a safe final push to get our own MRI Scanner. The pandemic has demonstrated how important it is to have one here locally where it’s needed. Cutting down on unnecessary patient travel and risk.

Thanks as always for your continued support, and apologies for the lack of regular updates recently.

Jamieson’s of Shetland Bauble Auction Brings Welcome Good News

In these times, with so much focus understandably on unsettling and frankly scary circumstances, we need to take time to share positive news to keep our spirits up. So we’re more glad than ever that we delayed the Jamieson’s of Shetland Christmas Bauble auction until now.

The response in terms of baubles, and even gnomes, sent in before Christmas was outstanding. 264 baubles in all, and we auctioned 7 gnomes too. The gnomes finished first, and this morning we announced they’d raised £237.55 with the baubles still being bid on. Honestly, that total alone is breathtaking, but then, there’s the baubles themselves.

We’ve now totalled the winning bids, and can now say that the baubles alone will have raised an overwhelming £1208.27 when the payments have all come in. That means, all together, the appeal has raised £1445.82!

It is a truly heartwarming display of generosity in the midst of all that’s going on, a reminder of all that humanity can be even in troubling times. Thanks to each and everyone who has contributed in any way.


Jamieson’s of Shetland Bauble Auction Popularity Caused Email Issue

The eagerly awaited auction of baubles donated to Jamieson’s of Shetland to raise funds went live this morning. They were an instant hit, and when everything had been added, we looked forward to putting our feet up.

Unfortunately, it seems they were… a little too popular. Auctions are heavily dependant on emails for account set up and bid notifications. With the site experiencing traffic not seen since the airing of Island Medics, resulting emails caused the mail server to fail.

We’ve spent much of the evening resolving the issue and switched to a different set up.

Those who managed to register and start bidding before the auctions began may not have noticed any issues. It’s possible you may have missed notifications about being outbid however.

Sadly though, there have been many who signed up for accounts and didn’t receive confirmation emails. If this has happened to you, you should now be able to enter your email address and request a new password. After that you’re good to go and thankfully there’s still plenty of time left.

This will also mean that anyone who used the contact form to request help will think their message has been sent when it hasn’t. Anyone who purchased pattern downloads during the affected period won’t have received confirmation emails with download links either.

If you’ve had any problems, and resetting your password isn’t the fix you need, the contact page has been tested and is working again now.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Glad it’s all sorted now, happy bidding. You might want to check your bids – All Auctions

Thanks for your continued support.

Jamieson of Shetland Bauble’s Auctioned With Total Over £86,000

It’s no secret that Jamieson’s of Shetland put a lot of effort into their window displays. With various local events throughout the year, each change in display becomes a delight for shoppers and passers by alike.

The Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal was front of mind when they were thinking about their Christmas window last year. After asking if we’d be able to auction knitted/crocheted Christmas baubles, they quickly set to work. Appeals for people to make and send baubles for the display quickly went viral. People from all corners of the world sent, literally, hundreds to them! Most of them can be seen here although many more arrived right up until Christmas.

It didn’t stop at baubles either. People sent in knitted gnomes and sheep too. All of which took pride of place in the Jamieson’s of Shetland window throughout the festive until the Up Helly Aa season begun.

We decided to wait until after Up Helly Aa had passed before actioning everyone’s generous contributions. They would otherwise have been lost in a sea of posts about, what is, such a significant local event.

There are several individual Up Helly Aa celebrations across Shetland, not only the, albeit largest, one in Lerwick. With most of those now behind us, and having taken the time in between to test the auction facility here on the site, we’re now ready to make them available.

There are too many to auction individually, and some are very obviously sets, so the action will be in bundles. Anyone who has been eagerly awaiting this, and hasn’t already done so, should start by creating a customer account by clicking the My Account tab. While it can be done during the bidding process, it’s easier to set one up first.

Auctions will each run for two weeks from the time each lot is posted, and there’s no limit to how many you can take part in. Successful bidders will be sent their baubles/gnomes, a printed picture of Billy O’ Middle Toon outside the window display, and general information of where the item(s) came from without revealing people’s personal details. Lots will begin going live tomorrow (Sunday 8th March) leaving plenty of time for Mr/Mrs postie to deliver them before they’re used in earnest again.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, from all over the world, who sent baubles/gnomes to Jamieson’s of Shetland. It truly is breathtaking. We’d also like to thank everyone in Jamieson’s of Shetland for thinking of, and making this possible as well as their support throughout. Thank you.

With the current total raised by/in connection with the MRI Maakers now at £86,624, we’re sure this will take us still closer to the £100k mark which is absolutely incredible.

From Around The World To Around The World in £83k

We received an outstanding amount of support from visitors during Shetland Wool Week last year. Not only did the week raise over £15000 for the MRI Maakers all together at the time, but some avid knitters donated items for us to sell before they left.

This green beenie was donated to us through Loose Ends on Commercial Street in Lerwick by Lesley Carlsson. It was one of a few things she kindly donated having been drawn to our cause while she was here. It is just one, of many, donations we’ve received from around the world.

Last month we received, among other things, a package from closer to home. Annemarie Larkin (Socks for Sanity) from Newcastle Upon Tyne sent a package including baby items which we listed last week. Also in the box were these hand knitted socks. One of several kind donations from elsewhere in the UK.

Meanwhile, here in Shetland we’re still working through several boxes of knitted items donated from people here at home. There’s a huge variety, which we’re gradually adding to the online store. Though much is taken to craft fairs too.

Jessie Cogle, for example, donated several chunky hats like this one. Some of the others have already sold, but you’ll find the remaining ones in our online store in the knitted hats section. Jessie is one of our MRI Maakers who contributes in this way but can’t attend the Maakin nights. There’s quite a few knitters like her, and we’re very grateful for the variety of things they contribute.

Then of course we have Maakers who are able to come to knit nights, and take with them things they’ve made from the donated yarns. We come home with finished knitwear after each meeting. From official hats etc. from the pattern collection, alternative colourways, and various other unrelated knitted things, we get it all. Barbara Rosie came with this lovely lace scarf on one such night.

These are just a few examples of how charitable knitters have been supporting us from all over the world. Their efforts have made a huge difference to our fundraising total, now well over £83,000. None of it would achieve anything if it weren’t for the many people who support us by buying things. All of the pictured items above, from the various people and places around the world, are heading over to America. From around the world, to around the world.

We can’t thank everyone enough, truly breathtaking.

Gracie Arthur Harriet’s Cowl Auction Raises another £233 by Fernlea Knitters

It’s no secret that we’re incredibly proud of how the knitting community, including all ages, nationalities and diversities, have rallied around our cause. The support shown to the MRI Maakers has turned a small island community of knitters into a trully global one.

Earlier this week, we received 7 Harriet’s Hats from Anja in the Netherlands to help us with the demand for the finished item. Anja had already translated the Harriet’s Hat pattern into Dutch for us, and is now working on translating the Harriet’s Cowl.

The Harriet’s Cowl pattern has been of significant interest since it’s launch at the Loch Ness Knit Fest in October last year. It has been included in two knit alongs, one by Morehouse Farm and the other hosted by Anne Frost and Jana Knits just last month. And despite not appearing on the Runway during Vogue Knitting Live in New York as originally posted, it saw huge interest on the Morehouse Farm Booth with the hard copies selling out long before the event closed.

We also shared with you recently that it was being used as a project for a steeking class here in the UK. Purlwise To Use Harriet’s Cowl in Fair Isle & Steeking Class

Gracie with her finished Harriet’s Hat

Regardless of the attention, given the size of the project, it was never one we thought we’d be offering as a finished item here on the site, in any format. Given the time and yarn it takes to make, it’s simply not practical for our growing team of volunteer knitters (which now includes Anja in the Netherlands). This is why we were so surprised to find one made by Gracie Arthur, of the Fernlea Day Care knitters in one of their recent boxes of finished items. We were blown away and knew that an auction was the only answer of this particularly unique item.

The Auction ended today at 1pm, with a fantastic winning bid of £233, and will be heading over to the United States next week. The lucky winner is hugely excited to receive it, and we’re sure Gracie will be too.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the Auction and helping to make our first auction item the success it has been. And for those who didn’t win, we wish you better luck next time.

Well done Gracie, and all at Fernlea. You’re true champions.

Fernlea Maakers -Gracie Fowler, Cathie Simpson, Gracie Arthur and Alice Pottinger with model Allan Tulloch

Harriet’s Hat Translations Underway As New Total Now £81,000

Last Thursday at the second MRI Maakers meeting of 2020, amidst the usual chat and click of needles, an online pattern sale nudged the total raised so far over £81,000.

It was quite a meeting all in all with much to talk about. It was also Marina Robertson’s birthday, who has been helping Harriet since before the MRI Maakers started. So it was quite fitting and light-some to share birthday cake with her as we announced our new total.

With just over 4 months until the MRI Maakers itself has it’s own anniversary, some have begun to speculate what will have been raised in connection with this group of volunteers in their first full year.

We’ve already raised more than we thought possible from the sale of patterns and finished knitwear made by a still growing team of volunteers. That, along with the events and contributions they have inspired from around the globe has helped us get where we now are. We’re all incredibly grateful for everyone’s support, in whatever form, wherever in the world it comes from.

Going Forward

To that end the momentum carries on, we have a busy year ahead, but the offers of help continue from near and far. The Harriet’s Hat pattern is now also being translated into German, Dutch, and Japanese. Just today we released a conversion for loom knitters which was kindly donated to us by Ruth Airey, who organised the Loom Knit along last year.

We now also have the 264 baubles and gnomes, etc. sent to Jamieson’s of Shetland for their Christmas window display. We’ll auction them after the Lerwick Up Helly Aa festival has passed. So we’ve set up the facility in readiness.

To test it out, we launched an auction yesterday of a hand made Harriet’s Cowl. It was made by none other than Gracie Arthur, who is over 85, from Fernlea Day Care in Whalsay. You can see how well that’s going here – Handmade Harriet’s Cowl Auction. There could be no better way for something that can’t be made routinely available for sale on the site. It’s not possible to make such a big finished project available the we sell hats, headbands and other finished items.

We’re also delighted that Margaret and 11 others from Norway will be joining us in August for a week. So we really do have much to organise throughout the year on top of everything else. They have another event taking place to raise funds for us in Oppdal on the 29th. See here – Norway To Host Second Event Supporting MRI Maakers.

The overall Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal is well over a third of the way towards it’s goal, all efforts combined. 2020 is looking good.

Many thanks for everyone’s continued support. Truly breathtaking. Thank you.

Purlwise To Use Harriet’s Cowl in Fair Isle & Steeking Class

For many, the idea of steeking is too daunting meaning they avoid certain projects, even though they find the finished item appealing.

Recently Jacqui from Purlwise, which is in Kimbolton, England, contacted us and asked for permission to use the Harriet’s Cowl pattern in a steeking class she intended to hold. We thought the cowl was a perfect project for it because despite it containing a steek, the steek is hidden when the cowl is completed. This means that if during learning the technique people find it doesn’t turn out as neat as you’d want for something like a cardigan, it really doesn’t matter so much. You still get the same classy reversible, and versatile, cowl when you’re finished and learn a new skill at the same time.

Jacqui will be holding the class on two days, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th January, from 10am until 4pm.  For details of where to book, what to take, and what’s provided for you, see her post here – Fair Isle & Steeking.

Hopefully the class will be well attended and many will leave with more confidence in the technique.