Shetland Wool Week was incredibly successful for the MRI Maakers, not least because our main raffle drew in almost £3000. There were many very generously donated prizes, and while many had several they’d have loved to win, due to his particularly unique nature, Billy O’ Middle Toon encouraged significant ticket sales. The bear crafted by Wendy Inkster of Burra Bears was made entirely out of Harriet’s Hats from all around Shetland, and his name had been picked previously in an online vote.
Linda Jackson, from Canada, was the name on the lucky winning ticket drawn during our event held in the Lerwick Town Hall on Thursday 3rd October. Unfortunately she wasn’t at the event to collect him so we arranged to meet up, along with his maker Wendy, after the Makers Market on Saturday at the Anderson High School.
However, while we were waiting for Wendy to arrive, Linda explained that she thought Billy O’ Middle Toon still has much work left to do here. That he can raise more for the MRI Scanner appeal, and perhaps other local causes in future, if he stayed with us. We think it’s a very generous thing to do, something not many would be able to.
Here is Linda, standing next to Wendy, along with Harriet, Victoria Tait of Shetland Wool Week, Billy, and of course Billy O’ Middle Toon Himself.
We’re incredibly grateful to Linda for giving us the opportunity to do even more with this one of a kind Burra Bear and discussed how we’ll put him to work at last night’s MRI Maakers night.
As you can see he hasn’t wasted any time and is working hard already to highlight everything going on to raise funds for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal, and more besides. He has a busy few weeks ahead of him already, so please do follow his pages and stay tuned for his forthcoming adventures. He’s a lovable sole with a sense of humour so you never know what he might get up to.
Thanks again to Wendy for making such an adorable Burra Bear for us, Linda for letting us put him to work in a more public way, and to everyone who bought raffle tickets trying to give him a home. But for now at least, he has much to do.
Shetland Wool Week has grown considerably from it’s beginnings 10 years ago as Oliver Henry, this year’s SWW patron explained at the opening ceremony last week. At a ticketed opening capped at 500 guest, he recalled speaking to just 30 guests at the first ever ceremony.
One week ago today, we were already benefiting from many of the generous Shetland Wool Weekers who have blessed our shores this year, as Shetland Wool Week organisers gave us a table at the opening. We raised over £1000 for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal on that night alone, but the impact of Shetland Wool Week on our fundraising started many weeks earlier.
We sold 150 tickets to our MRI Maakers Event, the majority online long before guests from as far afield as Australia and America even arrived here. Our raffle tickets arrived in time for thousands to sell before Wool Week had even officially begun, with so many eager to win Billy O’ Middle Toon – the Burra Bear made out of Harriet’s Hats from all over Shetland. With so many visitors downloading Harriet’s Hat patterns to knit before they got here, it’s difficult to tell exactly how much impact Wool Week had on our fundraising before it officially got underway, but it’s certainly well over £3000.
During the week, we were given space at the Hub in the Shetland Museum & Archives, both before and after our own special event on Thursday. If you include advance ticket and raffle sales we raised in excess of £5700 from that night alone with £1250 of that collected at the event itself.
One of the highlights of many of our guests was this year’s Guizzer Jarl greeting them at the door and later mingling with them for photos. We’re extremely grateful to John Nicolson and his squad for coming and sharing another unique part of Shetland culture with Wool Weekers from around the globe. For us, it provided a rare opportunity to get this lovely photo of three of this year’s prominent local figures. What other time could you get the founder of MRI Maakers, the Guizer Jarl, and the patron of Shetland Wool Week in one shot?
A particularly special night for the many guests from around 10 different countries, who now have a new found love of Reestit Mutton soup and Bannocks. All this and more in the particularly eye catching venue of the Lerwick Town Hall’s main hall.
After such a busy night, the more relaxed day in the wool week hub was a welcome change in pace for the MRI Maakers who helped out, but not entirely sedate. Both of the yarn suppliers featured on our patterns needed more pattern bundles through the day having already been resupplied earlier in the week. There was also a few last minute preparations for the Makers Market, yet more support and donations from Shetland Wool Weekers, and we even recruited another MRI Maaker who had moved to Shetland just days before.
The MRI Maakers have been gearing up to Shetland Wool Week, essentially from it’s very first night, by making a wide variety of items all crafted using Shetland Wool. So while we had already raised more than we’d anticipated, Saturday’s Maker’s Market was expected to give a substantial boost. It certainly didn’t disappoint!
We had learned in the previous days through hearing it over again from many of wool week’s visitors that many, often return visitors, appreciate our local hospitality immensely and welcome the opportunity to give something back by supporting a local cause. Nevertheless, we didn’t expect anything what we experienced on when the Anderson High School opened it’s doors at 11am. Within mere minutes we’d raised over £1000 with the sale of a beautiful lace shawl someone insisted on paying £400 for, and a single donation of £700 from someone who understandably wishes to remain anonymous. The remainder of the staggering £4463.40 taken in total coming from the sale of patterns and items knitted by our 62 volunteer knitters. We had deliberately not posted the many items made by our Fernlea Maakers on the website so we had them to sell, and it’s a good thing we did! Virtually everything made by them and others of the same generation is now gone, accounting for several hundred pounds of the total raised that day.
Once the initial surge died away a little, which took a couple of hours, we had time to chat more with people at our stall. Many asked if there was a way they could donate directly to us later, so I said I would share a link to our GoFundMe page.
We entered Shetland Wool Week having already raised just over £42k, and now just 1 week later our new total is a breathtaking £58,657! While we did receive in total the incredible amount of £3551 from Marie Wallin from her Meadow Book sales, we’re confident that at least a similar amount had been raised in connection with wool week before it began. There was however another surge in pattern downloads totalling around £1000 so far following the release of an interview of Anne Frost by Kristy Glass. Taking everything into account, we can say we have raised at least £15,500 in connection with Shetland Wool Week which is way beyond anything we could have hoped for.
Wool Week has given us much more than that though. We’ve had the opportunity to meet a great many people in person who have been supporting us from afar, including the first person to cast on her Harriet’s Hat in the knit along organised by the Minnesota Knitters Guild. It truly has been an incredible week, tiring, but incredible.
We would like to thank Victoria Tait and the many people at Shetland Wool Week for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to achieve as much as we have this week. Thanks also to the many, many, people who helped in any way to arrange and host such a successful MRI Maakers event. A special mention must to the makers of the soup and home bakes, and the Voe Bakery for supplying the bannocks, we know people have sought out the recipe so they can make them when they get home. Thanks to John Nicolson and the others of his squad and everyone at the Lerwick Town Hall, in particular Billy. Lastly, but most importantly, we must thank the many extremely generous Shetland Wool Weekers of 2019 for supporting us in such an amazing way. Thank you all, so much!
Here’s a gallery of our Shetland Wool Week, hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as we have.
Tonight, Jamieson’s of Shetland opened late to host a book launch of a book of designs made from their Spindrift range called Meadow by Marie Wallin. The launch which was timed to coincide with Shetland Wool Week also brings with it a very welcome boost for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal.
Marie Wallin made contact with the Billy Middleton quite early on in their fundraising efforts pledging to donate £1 from every copy sold. Since then, she has arranged to include a special feature on the appeal, along with what the MRI Maakers have been doing to raise funds for it.
Unfortunately, Marie wasn’t able to be in Shetland for its debut here herself. However, aside from her designs being made from Jamieson’s of Shetland yarn, she has a close relationship with the Jamieson family, in particular Elaine Jamieson. These ties have existed since before the release of one of Marie’s earlier highly successful books – Shetland.
Elaine and Garry Jamieson give cheque to Harriet and Billy Middleton on behalf of Marie Wallin – Photo by Gordon Siegel
In readiness for the book being available, the Jamieson’s had pre-ordered copies, including those to be shipped to their distributor in the USA. These totalled 3200 copies, and the donation by Marie has already been sent to the Scanner Appeal.
Since Marie couldn’t be here herself, and given the close ties, she asked Elaine and Garry Jamieson to hand over the cheque on her behalf. Harriet Middleton and her son Billy received it at their shop on Commercial Street moments before the doors opened to a long queue of eagerly waiting shoppers.
The cheque for £3200 brings the total raised for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal through the MRI Maakers close to £50,000. A milestone which is sure to be surpassed in the coming days with Shetland Wool Week in full swing.
Harriet is overwhelmed by the support she and the MRI Maakers have received, from all over the world saying “Not bad for something that began with a peerie toorie.”
Shetland Wool Week have been very supportive of the project, giving them access to the opening night and a space at the Hub in the Shetland Museum and Archives in Da Gaddery. Through it they have brought together people who have been supporting them from afar. Speaking of the atmosphere, Harriet says, “It’s heart warming to see so many people caring for a cause that will make such a big difference to us here in Shetland. They’ve been genuinely interested and keen to support us and it’s so nice to see some in person who have been following what we’re doing on the internet.”
Billy, who has been behind much of the online presence, feels the same. “It’s quite surreal how much support we’ve had, with so many from so far away. Any time we’ve needed help with anything locally, the community have stepped up and helped. So many people here have a personal reason for being behind the fundraising effort. But what sometimes touches you more is how much help is offered by so many with no particular personal reason to, other than simply being nice people and caring. This initial donation from Marie Wallin is a perfect example and we’re extremely grateful to her for everything she’s done.”
Shetland Wool Week 2019 has arrived, and with it all the buzz you’d expect. It truly has gotten off to a flying start for the MRI Maakers too.
Shetland Wool Week Opening Ceremony
While the opening night is usually reserved for paying guests with only Shetland Wool Week Sponsors having stalls, this year Victoria Tait kindly gave the MRI Maakers a special pass. As you can see from this panoramic picture taken from our table, we were kept busy during every interval and raised £1065 during the evening!
Beyond that, we met in person for the first time several people who have been supporting us from afar which was lovely. We’ll be seeing many again over the rest of the week in less hectic settings.
Monday saw us in the Hub at the Shetland Museum and Archives for the first time, meeting many interested people keen to support us in our quest to raise funds for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal. Again, some of these were people who have been supporting us online for some time but until now we hadn’t met.
It was a busy day, but afforded more time for general chat as you can see from this picture as people saw Harriet working on her next design – a versatile cowl.
Over the course of the day, Billy had to restock Jamieson’s of Shetland with more patterns too. That, along with selling raffle tickets, patterns, and a few finished items in the Hub, we raised £1624.
With pattern sales in pdf downloads continuing in the background throughout, this means the total raised by the MRI Maakers so far is now £45,633. We’re incredibly grateful for all the continuing support, in all it’s forms, from all over the world. 62 knitters have contributed to our stock, and our MRI Maakers have done so much more than knit. Yarn stores both within, and out with Shetland have been selling huge numbers of patterns for us. At every turn, whatever we’ve needed, there’s been a community of people stepping up to help us. Thank you!
We’ve come a long way since the MRI Maakers first started meeting at the beginning of May. While much of what we’ve achieved so far has been clearly visible through our online presence, a significant amount of effort has been directed towards getting ready for Shetland Wool Week. At least 62 volunteer knitters have done an amazing job of putting together a variety of items hand made using #shetlandwool.
Harriet has managed in that short time to expand the range of patterns available to include a Headband, Fingerless Gloves, full fingered gloves, and mittens. These are all part of a collection which match the original #harrietshat and all proceeds, along with those from the finished goods, go directly to the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal.
Shetland Wool Week is upon us now, and though we will always be busy behind the scenes, here is a list of times and places you’ll find Harriet and one or two of the MRI Maakers as you enjoy your Shetland Wool Adventures.
Sunday 29th September – 19:00 until 21:00 – #Shetlandwoolweek Welcome at the Clickimin Centre in the Main Hall
Monday 30th September – 10am until 17:00 – Shetland Wool Week Hub in the Gadderie at the Shetland Museum & Archives.
Tuesday 1st October – 10am until 17:00 – Shetland Wool Week Hub in the Gadderie at the Shetland Museum & Archives.
Tuesday 1st October – 19:00 – Harriet & Billy will be dropping in to Jamiesons of Shetland to wish them luck with the launch of Marie Wallin Designs new book Meadow.
Wednesday 2nd October – 10am until 17:00 – Shetland Wool Week Hub in the Gadderie at the Shetland Museum & Archives.
Thursday 3rd October – 18:00 until 21:00 – MRI Maakers Wool Week Event in the Lerwick Town Hall. This is where ticket holders can meet as many of the MRI Maakers as are available as they knit, our raffle will be drawn, members of the Jarl Squad will be there too! Tea, Coffee, Traditional Shetland Supper and home bakes included.
Friday 4th October – 09:00 until 14:00 – MRI Maakers Bake Sale in the Gilbert Bain Hospital Canteen. This is where the MRI Maakers usually meet every second Thursday night.
Saturday 5th October – 11:00 until 16:00 – Shetland Wool Week Makers’ Market in the Anderson High School. We’ll be selling our full range of patterns in hard copy, along with a huge variety of hand made items all created by MRI Maakers especially for you with Shetland Wool. The #Shetlandwool has all been donated so all proceeds go directly to the Scanner Appeal.
Come Join us. Meet the #knittingdesigner behind the patterns, and the MRI Maakers all working hard so Shetland can have it’s own MRI Scanner sooner rather than later.
Here is a list of prizes being drawn during our on off MRI Maakers Wool Week Event at the Lerwick Town Hall. We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has donated a prize, you’ll find their details listed beside them.
Billy O’ Middle Toon is a Burra Bear made entirely out of Harriet’s Hats which were hand knitted by various MRI Maakers around Shetland.
Wendy Inkster very kindly created him for our raffle and we think he’s turned out absolutely fabulous. She’ll be at the Lerwick Town Hall so if the lucky winner is one of our guests, she’ll be able to hand over the prize herself.
Marie Wallin – Meadow – Cover
A signed copy of Marie Wallin’s new book ‘Meadow’ has been donated by Marie herself. The book, which launches on the 1st October, contains designs using Jamieson of Shetland Spindrift yarn.
Marie Wallin is also donating £1 from every book sale to the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal and has included a feature in the book about the MRI Maakers and the scanner appeal.
This beautiful hand knitted lace shawl has been kindly donated by one of our own MRI Maakers – Marina Robertson. Spanning 4ft, there’s an incredible amount of work that goes into making these with such attention to detail.
A years subscription (4 issues) to either British Fibre Art Magazine or Needle Felt Magazine. The winner will receive a voucher from us to claim their prize.
Issues will be posted to them anywhere in the world!
Woolly Originals have donated this incredible project bag. Retailing at £65 it’s beautifully made, lined and perfect to keep your future projects in.
Woolly Originals have been an avid supporter of what we’re doing from early on highlighting our efforts on social media.
Matching set 1 from the Harriet collection. This Harriet’s Hat and matching Harriet’s Mittens go so well together and will keep the lucky winner warm in the coming winter months.
Shetland Jewellery haven’t just donated this large pendant from their Fara range. They’ve made it especially for us using the MRI colours! The design compliments the crown of Harriet’s Hat so well it was an obvious choice from their collection of fine pieces. After seeing how it turned out, they’ve decided to add it to their range and will be donating 20% of every one sold to the Shetland MRI Scanner appeal.
Matching set 2 from the Harriet Collection. This is a matching Harriet’s Headband and Harriet’s Fingerless glove set.
Fair Isle Knitting Designs from Shetland Knitters Volume 2, released this month, signed by the designers.
Kindly donated by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers.
This selection of books has been very kindly donated to us by Mary Randles. We’ll be splitting the 8 books into two prizes of 4.
A signed copy of this DVD by Hazel Tindall and Elizabeth Johnston containing over 3 and a half hours of essential knitting advice.
Signed DVD donated by Hazel Tindall herself. We’re sure it’ll be of great interest containing a step by step guide through the traditional art of Fair Isle Knitting.
Shetland Wool Week have kindly donated a copy of their 2019 Annual. If you have been following Shetland Wool Week on social media you will no doubt have seen many of the exquisite designs within it from a host of very talented designers.
Shetland Wool Week have been extremely supportive and given us a place at their opening night, space at the Hub from Monday to Wednesday, and at the Makers’ Market.
Shetland Amenity Trust has donated a Family Heritage Season Ticket. The ticket can be used at Shetland Amenity Trust sites in the South Mainland including Sumburgh Head Lighthouse & Visitor Centre, Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village, and the Crofthouse Museum at Dunrossness.
Gilda Sim, who is one of our regulars at MRI Maakers meetings, has donated these lovely handknitted lace wristlets. They’re made from real Shetland Lace yarn and we’re sure they’ll be much loved by the lucky winner.
Hélène Driesen, AKA Kieranknits, has been incredibly supportive of our efforts and has already raised funds for us by donating some of her work to sell on this site. She has now donated these lovely thrummed mittens as a raffle prize, they’ll be so cosy in the coming winter months.
If you’re looking for something to keep your feet warm this winter, Hélène Driesen has also donated these thrummed slippers to the raffle. Hélène is teaching two classes at this year’s Shetland Wool Week and will be bringing both prizes along with her from the USA.
Harriet being her usual modest self wouldn’t have coined this phrase herself, but from here in Shetland to other places around the world, her patterns raising funds for the Shetland MRI Scanner appeal are being affectionately referred to as ‘The Harriet Collection’.
From the launch of the first pattern – Harriet’s Hat – support from all over the world has been breathtaking and relentless. This coincided with the first ever meeting of the MRI Maakers, who have also achieved so much more than we ever thought possible already with their finished hand knitted items.
At tonight’s meeting, yet more amazing knitted items were handed in making ready for Shetland Wool Week. However as we prepare for our one off MRI Maakers Wool Week Event, Ticket’s available here, they’ve also organised themselves with selling raffle tickets and making home bakes for our guests. Not only will the MRI Maakers be sharing their knitting night with you, they’ll also have made some of the lovely cakes etc. which will be available for you to accompany your teas, coffees, and traditional Shetland Supper.
Hard copies of Harriet’s Gloves and Harriet’s Fingerless Gloves have started going on sale locally, and the Harriet’s Mitten patterns, available online here now, will be launched in hard copy during Shetland Wool Week. Online sales of these have already brought another boost in funds raised for the MRI Scanner appeal, bringing the total raised so far as of tonight up to £40,405.50! It’s an absolutely astounding amount, which includes hard copy sales, pattern downloads, and the finished items all carefully hand knitted for you by our lovely MRI Maakers themselves.
With less than two weeks until Shetland Wool Week officially begins, many visitors have already started to arrive so we’re pleased that our preparations are on track. We’ll be at the opening night in Clickimin on Sunday the 29th September highlighting what our community of knitters have been doing and why. We’ll also be at the Shetland Wool Week Hub on Monday 30th, Tuesday 1st, and Wednesday 2nd October. Tuesday 1st is also the official launch of the Marie Wallin book, Meadow, which contains a feature on the MRI Maakers – £1 of every book sale being donated to the Shetland MRI Scanner appeal. All of that comes ahead of our MRI Maakers event in the Lerwick Town Hall on Thursday 3rd October from 6pm until 9pm. We’re hosting a Bake Sale in our usual meeting venue – the Gilbert Bain Servery – on Friday 4th October from 9am until 2pm so if you fancy a fancy please pop in for some. That brings us up to the Makers Market on Saturday 5th October where you’ll find all of the knitted items available to buy, all proceeds going directly to the scanner appeal.
With Billy heading to the Loch Ness Knit Fest later in October with hard copies of the patterns, the amount raised is sure to rise still further. It truly is overwhelming how much has been achieved by a community of knitters all coming together, not only here in Shetland but all around the world. Thank you!
Back in July we were contacted by Ruth, who knits with a loom and wanted to try making Harriet’s Hat using one. We were interested to see how she got on and said it was fine by us.
Then in August Ruth sent us a picture of her finished hat, made entirely on her loom. As you can see it turned out really well although she explained the crown was quite difficult doing it as per the original pattern. She wanted to make a loom conversion to overcome this so the group she’s connected with, KissLooms knitting and Weaving Club, could have a Loom Along of Harriet’s Hat.
Ruth and the group are keen to support what we’re doing, and the idea is that loom knitters can buy the Harriet’s Hat pattern and if they take part in the Harriet’s Hat Loom Along they’ll get the conversion details explaining how to do it. It’s a whole new area we never expected to find support from, so we’re very grateful and can’t wait to see how they all turn out.
Once the Loom Along has finished, Ruth has asked if we want the conversion for our store, so here’s what we’ve come up with. So that any Loom knitters who want to try it aren’t paying more for the same end result, we’ll make it available free along with a harriet’s hat pattern.
Today saw the launch of a selection of Harriet’s Glove patterns which have been eagerly awaited by many. We’d like to thank Nancy Hunter and Erin from the Morehouse Farm for testing them. It’s been quite a challenge to get the patterns ready, and we couldn’t have done it without them.
The Harriet’s Glove and Harriet’s Fingerless Glove Patterns bring a range of possibilities. Made to suite the average ladies hand, the turnback cuffs of the fingerless version will fit the full fingered version. Similarly if you prefer the cuff in the Harriet’s Glove pattern, you can swap it onto the fingerless version. For this reason, we also released a Full Finger Conversion for use with the Harriet’s Fingerless Glove pattern. So to get the full range of gloves, you don’t need to buy both patterns at full price. You can buy the Fingerless pattern along with the conversion instead.
Erin has already announced the Mitt Along, starting on the 1st of November, where people from around the world can join and knit one or more of the Fair Isle Knitting designed accessories for ladies hands. And in preparation for the knit/mitt along she has begun taking pre-orders of hard copies. We’ll be sending these over to her in America in October. Erin has spent some considerable time today setting up a section of the Morehouse Farm website specifically for “The Harriet Collection”. This includes all 4 patterns released to date, along with one for mittens which will be available shortly. They will either ship the patterns or make them available for collection at key events locally. You can find out details here – The Harriet Collection – if you’re in the USA and would prefer hard copies of the collection. Pre-ordering will help us figure out how many we need to send to be sure you don’t miss out.
Follow this link to find out more about the Harriet’s Mitt Along, which includes some new techniques for those who took part in the Harriet’s Hat and Harriet’s Headband KAL earlier. Expect more of the same helpful tips and tutorials that helped you through the Fair Isle head wear.
In the meantime, we’ve Shetland Wool Week to prepare for, including the MRI Maakers Wool Week Special Event, and Billy will be going to the Loch Ness Knit Fest later in October too.
Thanks for everyone’s continued support, wherever in the world you are, it’s truly appreciated.
Earlier this year Sherry Kreb visited Shetland and bought the Harriet’s Hat pattern and a yarn pack. She began knitting it while she was here, and finished it upon her return to Washington.
Sherry then knitted a Harriet’s Hat for a friend, Tami, who loved it so much she donated £100 to the Scanner appeal.
We were able to pass on our appreciation to Tami via Sherry, but we have since learnt Sherry wasn’t finished.
Sherry was asked to be a guest speaker at the North Central Washington Knitters Guild on Wednesday. She made and donated a Harriet’s Hat as a raffle prize, and the ladies were passionate about our cause. They were eager to help out and had a collection which has now been donated directly to the appeal. It came to an incredibly generous £125.50, all from one supporter spreading the word to other charitable knitters.
Pictured here is Sherry herself holding the pattern, beside the lucky winner of the Harriet’s Hat she made.
We would like to pass on our sincere thanks to everyone there in Wenatchee, Washington for their donation, and above all Sherry for telling them all about us and making it possible. Thank you!