A Stitch In Time Ahead of Shetland Wool Week

With everything that’s been going on, we’ve not had as much opportunity to post updates as much as we ordinarily would. Sadly there are only so many hours in a day and everyone who is contributing has other commitments to take care of, which makes the help and support they’ve been giving so much more valuable.

At this weeks MRI Maakers night we were discussing plans for Shetland Wool Week and what we still need to do ahead of it. Everyone has been doing really well, but there’s a few things we need to tie up to make it as much a success as can be, for everyone.

As has become something of a routine, the MRI Maakers arrived and layed out what they’d made for us since the previous meeting. Here it is pictured and as you can see there’s a great selection and many hours of work that’s gone into creating the various items.

The crystal glasses are actually a donation from one of the Maakers for us to include in the raffle that will be drawn at our one off special MRI Maakers Wool Week Event in the Lerwick Town Hall. You’ll also notice a couple of Fair Isle Gloves, which are actually prototypes for the soon to be release Harriet’s Fingerless Glove, and Harriet’s Full Finger Glove patterns. These are with test knitters now so should be available to download shortly.

We are however conscious that because we’ve done quite well selling things online all around the world, we’ve not perhaps built up as much stock for Shetland Wool Week as we’d perhaps need. Shetland Wool Week have very generously given us a table at the Maker’s Market on Saturday the 5th October, which is fantastic, and we’ll have a selection of things at our MRI Maakers night in the Town Hall on Thursday 3rd October in the evening also. So there’s a great potential to raise more funds for the MRI Scanner appeal, we think it would be better to have too much than not quite enough, and we can list anything that doesn’t sell during Shetland Wool Week here on the site afterwards again.

With that in mind, we’re asking if anyone has anything made from Shetland Wool that they’d like to donate for us to sell at either event. They don’t need to be from our patterns, it can be anything at all so long as it’s made from Shetland Wool and you’re happy to contribute it towards raising money for the MRI Scanner appeal. The more variety the better in fact. I’m sure the people visiting Shetland for Wool Week would be interested to see just how diverse it can be.

If you have anything you’ve made, or have anything you could make ahead of our Thursday night event, we’d be extremely grateful for your help. We have 2 further MRI Maakers nights before then, one on Thursday 5th September, one on Thursday 19th September. Both are in our usual place in the Gilbert Bain Hospital servery from 6pm to 8pm so these are an ideal time to drop them off if you can. We’d also love to see you and say thanks in person. If you can’t make it to either of those, but have something you’d like to hand in, feel free to use the contact page on this site or message us on our facebook page and we’ll happily arrange some alternative.

Thanks in advance, we really appreciate all the support we’ve had, and continue to have in our quest to raise funds for the MRI Scanner.

Help Us Name The MRI Maakers Burra Bear

As you know, one of the star prizes in the raffle to be drawn at our One off Wool Week Special MRI Maakers event night is a particularly unique Burra Bear made from Harriet’s Hats. These hats have been hand knitted by various people from around Shetland in support of our fund raising efforts, there will never, and can never be another like it.

We’ve already settled on the bear’s address which includes key details specific to the MRI Maakers to date, and we’ll explain these later when Wendy Inkster, of Burra Bears, has finished putting together her masterpiece. Thanks so much Wendy for doing this for us!

However, we’d like your help and involvement with choosing the bear’s name. We’ve narrowed down the suggestions to 4 and will name the bear whichever option gets more votes in the poll below.

We look forward to seeing what you decide, thanks for your continued support.

Of course, if you want to knit your own Harriet’s Hat or Headband, you’ll find the patterns here – Patterns. Also available in Norwegian here – På Norsk

MRI Maakers Meeting Sees Total Raised Pass £35,000

Tonight before we set off to our fortnightly MRI Maakers night in the Gilbert Bain Hospital servery, we were eagerly watching for pattern sales. We needed just one more pattern download to pass the £35,000 milestone. Sure enough it came just minutes before we left, and we were pleased that tonights knitters would hear this news virtually immediately. So often these achievements have been reached in between meetings, so some are already aware of updates we share while others haven’t seen it, but not tonight.

However, before we could announce anything, we received another £100 from pattern sales at the Böd o’ Gremista along with donations left there for us, so we had to recalculate the new total.

With everyone settled, we were just serving up teas and coffees, when one of our regular knitters came in. She couldn’t stay tonight unfortunately but had something to hand in so made a point of stopping by. One of the tour guides had been collecting up all the tips they’d received throughout this season, in various currencies and had converted it all into pounds sterling. It came to £302, and the guide, who wishes to remain anonymous, had asked her to hand it in to us as a donation towards our fundraising efforts. We’ve written before of how the tour busses and their guides have been championing our cause, but this generous donation is particularly special. We hope they read this so they can see how truly grateful we are, thank you so much!

Earlier in the day, Caroline Gifford had handed in another pair of her mum’s Fair Isle gloves for us to sell. 87 year old Joey Anderson’s gloves sold in less than 15 minutes previously, but today they didn’t even reach the online shop. One of the MRI Maakers fell in love with them and bought them there and then tonight.

Needless to say, we had to get the abacus out again, bringing the total raised so far to a staggering £35,443 (not including any sales online since 6pm). It’s an incredible sum of money to have raised for the Shetland MRI Scanner appeal in such a short space of time. We’re truly humbled, overwhelmed, but so very grateful for what has been achieved by everyone coming together in this way.

On behalf of Harriet and all of the MRI Maakers, near and far, thank you!

Bikers Wear Beenies

On Sunday the 11th August, the Shetland Motorcyclists For Charity event takes place. With 3 official starting points (The Mossbank Hall, The Bixter Hall, and Mainlands Shop), motorcyclists across Shetland will set off on whatever bike they possess ending in Lerwick.

It’s an event that has been taking place here in Shetland since 2017, last year raising an amazing total of £10,000 for their chosen charities. This year, whatever funds they raise through sponsorship and on the day collections will be shared between Macmillan Cancer Support (Shetland Branch), Disability Shetland and the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal.

Charitable bikers are a familiar sight here in Shetland, they do everything from events like this, stopping off at the Gilbert Bain Hospital with Easter Eggs for the nurses and of course there’s always some charitable cause which features in the annual Simmer Dim Rally.

Which leads us on to how bikers, both within and out with Shetland have already been supporting us. Aimee Sutherland, who was one of our NHS models – Island Medics Stars Model Harriet’s Hat and Reversible Headbands – is very involved with the Simmer Dim Rally. She wasted no time in telling them all about Harriet’s Hat and many of them bought one from our online shop. A couple of them have since sent her pictures wearing them, which we’ve posted below in a gallery. We’ll add more pictures of Bikers in Beenies if we get them. If you were at the Simmer Dim Rally and bought a Harriet’s Hat or Harriet’s Headband, feel free to send us a photo and we’ll add it.

So while the Shetland Motorcyclists For Charity will be raising a lot of money for charity this weekend, including for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal, many of their members have already been supporting us here and the scanner appeal more broadly in many other ways. Thank you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hudson River Valley Farm To Present Cheque In Shetland

Last month on the 26th July, Morehouse Farm began their knit along of the Harriet’s Hat, and Harriet’s Headband patterns. They’ve been running helpful tutorials on their facebook group here – Harriet’s Hat Knit Along.

For many it has been an opportunity to try Fair Isle knitting for the first time, while for others it has been helpful in learning new techniques while supporting our cause. Whatever the reason so many have joined in, it’s certainly been a great boost in our pattern sales though we can’t be sure exactly how many.

However that’s not the only boost Erin and her team at Morehouse Farm have given to our fundraising efforts. Throughout July, they were also offering a discount on yarn packs for the event, and also donating $1 for every skein sold. We now know that the total raised through this alone came to $673 which is fantastic.

We’ve had quite a few donations from outwith the UK now, and while the internet is great for sharing how grateful we truly are, it’s always a shame we can’t say thank you in person.

On this occasion, one of the Morehouse Farm flock, Suzanne, happens to be visiting Shetland next month. Although she has a very busy schedule, she’s going to meet us to present a cheque for the amount raised from Merino wool sales. We’re obviously delighted to be able to say thank ewe to one of Erin’s team and are looking forward to it.

In talking with Erin, it’s been heartwarming to see how passionate she is about supporting us, and we know that even when the knit along officially ends later this month she’ll still be getting our message out any way she can.

It truly is incredible how much support we’ve had from the knitting community both near and far. Thank you!

Fernlea Maakers Add Stock After Day Care Visit

A month ago we shared with you some pictures of Gracie Arthur and Cathie Simpson’s hand knitted Harriet’s Hats, kindly modelled by Allan Tulloch at Fernlea in Whalsay. They were so keen to carry on knitting for us that we sent up a batch of yarn along with Harriet’s Headband patterns which had only just been published.

The fruits of the Fernlea Maakers, along with the box they collect their finished items in.

We were so grateful for their support that we said we’d go and visit them some day to say thank you, and today we did just that. It was arranged at short notice because sadly Donna Polson, who originally contacted us to set it all up, has left her post to take up a new one. We were keen to see her with them before she moves on. Good news though, the Fernlea Maakers (as we’re affectionately calling them), have asked for more yarn having run out of what we sent. So while Donna might be sharing her compassion more widely around the isles, the now expanded team at Fernlea will still be helping us out.

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

As you can see, Gracie Fowler and Alice Pottinger joined Cathie and Gracie, between them using up the yarn we sent, and have since been using up their own stash. It trully is quite a stash and we’re thrilled that it’s brought them such enjoyment. Allan has decided that while his role as model is an important one, he would like to help out a little more so he’s going to be making them up their name labels in future!

We had a lovely light-some afternoon with them, hearing all their stories, while they asked with interest how the MRI Maakers fundraising was going and about the Shetland MRI Scanner appeal more broadly. They’d even had their lunch a little earlier than usual to accommodate us coming!

There’s no substitute for experience, and with Harriet working on a pattern for gloves, she listened intently to how the finger stitches on these gloves Cathie made had been divided up. We’ll be adding them to the online store along with the rest of their finished knitwear over the weekend. You’ll have to be quick if you want them though, we don’t expect them to last long. The last pair of fair isle gloves we added sold in under 15 minutes!

We hope they all enjoyed their afternoon with us as much as we did musing with them over tea and biscuits. For us it captured perfectly the coming together of everyone from all earths, all working toward a common cause.

After leaving Fernlea we went to the Shoard charity shop and bought some dish clothes. Cathie has been collecting them for over 40 years, but she’s donated them to the shop to sell with the funds going to the MRI Scanner appeal. As Allan says, everyone can do something to help towards something that will benefit us all.

We’ve been busy since we got back to Lerwick making another package ready to send up to them in the morning. So grateful that they’re keen to carry on, and to everyone at Fernlea making it possible for them to help us. Hopefully we can pop across on the ferry again some day if they’ll have us, but until then, thank you Fernlea Maakers. You’re an inspiration to many near and far.

Shetland Bus Descendant Gets Onboard With Norwegian Pattern

There is no shortage of historical reasons why links between Shetland and Norway remain as close as they are today. Nordic traditions are prevalent here in Shetland, our communities would be unrecognisable without them.

A memorial in Scallowaycommemorating the Shetland Bus operation during the Second World War

There is a bond between our lands the likes of which exist between few others. While there maybe countless examples, in relatively recent history, none are so poignant than our shared struggles during WWII.

Officially named the Norwegian Naval Independent Unit, the Shetland Bus was the nickname given to the group who provided a permanent link between Shetland and German occupied Norway from 1941 until 1945. The unit was operated initially by a large number of small fishing boats and later augmented by three fast and well-armed submarine chasers. Disguised as working fishing boats, most crossings took place during the dark winter months in heavy North Sea conditions with the constant threat of discovery by German aircraft or patrol boats. Several fishing boats were lost.

Kolbjørn Kristiansen, from Norway, and Mary Helen `Molly` Watt, from Scalloway met in 1941. Molly later learned Kolbjørn was a member of the Shetland Bus operation. They married, had 5 children, and after the war they settled in Hammerfest, Norway.

Margaret at work as an EMT with her Harriet’s Hat pattern.

Recently their granddaughter, Margaret Helen Langø, was in Shetland visiting family. While here she bought a Harriet’s Hat pattern before returning to Norway.

Margaret made contact with us through the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal asking for permission to translate the pattern into Norwegian.

I bought a Harriets Hat knitting pattern to support the appeal, but I want to do more. Fair Isle knitting pattern are very popular in Norway.

I am also Secretary in my The Oppdal Rheumatism Society,and we make Knitting Events 4 times a year, where happy knitters come together in our Town Hall, workshops and professional knitters sharing their patterns and yarn.

I would love to make one of our Knitting events for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal.

As a thank you for the support and help between our folk during the war (grandad felt so safe working together with the shetlanders, the most decent folk ever he claimed)

And as a contribution from our EMT Society in Norway,as we want everyone to have the best healthcare,regardless location. Many of my colleagues are knittingfolk.

Margaret says she lives in a small community with a population of around 6500, slightly less than Lerwick here in Shetland.

Many years later,one of their grandbairns educate herself to become an EMT,working in the Norwegian Ambulance Services. That is me. I watch how an MRI scan save lifes and health nearly everytime I go to work.

I live in a small community, 6500 inhabitants, and we have an MRI scan just 1 hour drive by car. We are lucky.

We’re all incredibly moved by this gesture, and Billy has been discussing things with her throughout today. He’ll be helping her as much as he can so she can translate the pattern easily and organise the fundraising events she wants to. However, when it’s ready, the Norwegian Harriet’s Hat pattern will also be made available to download here on the site, so her kind offer can be extended across the whole of Norway.

We’ll be posting follow ups to let you know how Margaret gets on with her events, and of course to announce the release of her translated copy of the Harriet’s Hat pattern.

UPDATE : 30/07/2019

Margaret’s translation of the Harriet’s Hat pattern is now available to buy online here – Harriet’s Lue – På Norsk

Morehouse Farm Harriet’s Hat Knit Along Gets Underway

We posted previously about being contacted by Erin from Morehouse Farm in New York State who has organised a knit along of the Harriet’s Hat and Headband patterns. Like the previous knit along organised by the Minnesota Knitters Guild, this one is also open to anyone anywhere in the world. However while the central hub for the previous KAL was Ravelry, Erin has a special event page set up on facebook for this one, which starts today. Here’s a link – Harriet’s Hat/Headband Knitalong. Please note it lasts longer than the 2 weeks specified but there’s restrictions on facebook event durations.

You’ll need either a Harriet’s Hat Pattern, or Harriet’s Headband Pattern – or both if you wish of course. We know many have done so for this knit along already ahead of time but there’s plenty of time left for those who haven’t yet.

Many of the people who have knitted the Harriet’s Hat or Headband so far have been trying Fair Isle Knitting for the first time and some are already hooked. So don’t be put off by not having done something like this before. In fact, if you’re interested in trying, the might be the perfect way for you to give it a go while supporting us at the same time. Not only has Erin organised the knit along itself, but there’s helpful hints and tips about adjusting guage size (very important), colour choices that will work and much more. It’ll not only be a knit along open to anyone in the world, but for those who need/want it, also something akin to a knitting class which just happens to be benefiting our efforts to raise funds for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal. Billy should’ve joined some of these classes before he did his sponsored Harriet’s Hat Knit and it might have ended up a better size and shape perhaps 😉

We’re extremely grateful that Erin has set this up, hope it’s a great success for everyone who takes part and above all that you enjoy knitting Harriet’s patterns.

You can find more information on the knit along, and the Morehouse Farm itself, here – Harriet’s Hat and Headband Knit Along. As you can see, Erin is also donating $1 from every skein of 2 ply Marino yarn sold this month to the scanner appeal, which is incredibly generous.

Thanks so much Erin!

Joey Anderson Adds Experience to MRI Maakers Aged 87

Joey Anderson will be 87 years old next month, but that isn’t preventing her from stepping up and helping the MRI Maakers.

Pictured here, Joey is holding a Harriet’s Hat and Fair Isle gloves in her own design using the MRI colour way.

It was her daughter Caroline who contacted us through our Facebook page and arranged everything.

She explained that Joey, who lives in Nesting, has been knitting from a young age. Like many generational knitters, it was her grandmother who taught her how to knit – mainly jumpers. But Joey now prefers knitting Fair Isle gloves and has already begun another pair. We think her gloves look absolutely lovely and can’t wait to see what the next pair are like.

Like so many knitters, Joey just wants to help and enjoys what she’s doing. It’s another great example of a knitting community, of all ages and experience, coming together.

Since she enjoys it, we asked Caroline if we could send some wool for her to use since these were made using her own but Caroline says she has plenty of wool. Very generously donating not only her time but her own wool too, Joey’s only request is to know where in the world her hat and gloves are sent when they’re sold.

We can’t thank Joey enough, along with other’s like her, she’s part of a growing inspirational story spanning the globe. Thank you.

You can find Joey’s knitwear in our online store (while stocks last).

Surgeon Ms Beatrix Weber To Spin Wool at Town Hall Event

In a small remote hospital such as the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, where the MRI Scanner will be located when it comes, occasionally people have to step outside of their usual roles and departments. It allows particular needs or circumstances to be catered for when required which in larger city hospitals would likely have a dedicated department, but it also brings various departments together, all working towards the same goal, in the same way the Shetland community does in general. That’s in large part why some updates haven’t been posted this week, and why we’re a bit behind with adding things to the store, but it’s also quite fitting for this announcement about the Wool Week MRI Maakers Event in October.

Inside the Lerwick Town Hall’s Main Hall – Venue for 3rd October MRI Maakers evening

Given how far many will have travelled to come to Shetland Wool Week, we’re keen for the evening to be more than simply an opportunity for people to meet the MRI Maakers. We want you to enjoy a proper Shetland welcome by way of a thank you for the outstanding support we’ve had from all corners of the world. We thought it might also be nice if, beyond the traditional Shetland supper, guests could experience some other related traditions. Spinning wool in the traditional way using a spinning wheel for example.

Lerwick Town Hall – Main hall – October 3rd venue.

Someone mentioned that Ms Beatrix Weber, who is the surgeon who treated Harriet and oversaw her follow up MRI appointments, happens to do just that in her spare time. Billy asked if she would come and spin on the night, and in the same community spirit, she not only agreed but was delighted to have been asked.

Harriet is over the moon that Ms Weber will be coming to do this for us. We never imagined when Harriet’s Hat was first launched it would become the focus of a world wide knit along organised by the Minnesota Knitters Guild. To think that many who took part will be coming to an event in the Lerwick Town Hall (pictured above) and see the surgeon who treated her spinning Shetland wool on a traditional spinning wheel is quite incredible. We can’t thank Ms Weber enough for doing this and adding that little bit extra to what is sure to be a very special night.

We’ve also been to the town hall to discuss various layouts and options, so ticket availability has increased to 150. These tickets can be bought from the Wool Week MRI Maakers Event page at £10 each. Over 30 have been sold already to visitors from 5 countries including the UK.