A message from Derek Hart – Scanner Appeal Fundraising Manager

Tonight Harriet received a message from Derek Hart, the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal fundraising manager. It’s a message of congratulations and thanks, extended to the entire MRI Maakers team.

Many in that team may not be on facebook, not necessarily from Shetland, or even the UK. So we thought it was best to share it with you all here. Our community extends well beyond these shores, and you should all be as proud of yourselves as we are grateful for your help and support.

Dear Harriet

Although I am currently on annual leave, I most certainly couldn’t wait for another fortnight to go by before sincerely thanking and congratulating you, Billy and the Maakers team on the outstanding achievement of topping £100k in your fundraising. This is a truly remarkable feat and you should all be very proud of what has been done.

In over 25 years in this business, I have rarely, if ever, seen such a successful community-spirited effort centred on one of life’s most creative and colourful pastimes. As fundraising manager of the wider campaign, you’ve no idea how reassuring it has been to know that your endeavours were underpinning the community effort.

I’m not sure what your ambitions were when you started out, but I suspect they have been well and truly exceeded. It has been a pleasure to monitor all the orders you receive from around the UK and across the world. You have reinforced and highlighted Shetland’s place in that world and established an international cottage industry as a result.

Well done indeed.

Derek Hart

MRI Maakers Norway, Marie Wallin, Goodie Bags And You Raise Over £100,000

Before the MRI Maakers were first established, while Harriet was raising funds at craft fairs, her brother paid her a visit and said “This is going to cost you a fortune in wool.”. He gave her gift tokens for Jamieson’s of Shetland, and Jamieson and Smith the Wool brokers. They’d already been so supportive, but it was from these vouchers, in those two stores, which the first official hand knit Harriet’s Hats were made to sell.

In the end, with so much yarn donated and donations specifically for purchasing the official colourway the feared costs never came to pass. Jamieson’s of Shetland donated yarn for the MRI Maakers to knit with too. The generosity of so many kept the finished items entirely free to make. The hard work of the many MRI Maaker volunteers has done the rest in that respect. Meanwhile, Jamieson and Smith the Wool Brokers donated the full price of all yarn sold for Harriet’s Hats in their store. Raising £2566 before their first batch of hard copy patterns were sold.

From patterns (around 9500 sold online), to finished items sold here on our site, we owe a great deal to the many who have spread the word around the globe. Kate Davies’ blog, social media accounts of our local yarn stores, the Minnesota Knitters Guild organising the worldwide knitalong, The Morehouse Merino Flock and relentless efforts of Anne Frost’s podcasts. Without the MRI Maakers going viral, there wouldn’t have been the same success.

People worldwide have also donated finished items for us to sell, most recently the Japanese Knot Bags which were sent by Anne from Belgium. We auctioned those along with donated yarns and patterns raising £704 today.

Elaine and Garry Jamieson give cheque to Harriet and Billy Middleton on behalf of Marie Wallin at book launch – Photo by Gordon Siegel

This week we received a further £500 from Marie Wallin, who’s been donating £1 from each sale of her book Meadow since it was launched last October. This brings the total raised for us by her to £4512! Incredible generosity. The book contains a special feature on the MRI Maakers, including our senior Maakers at Fernlea, raising awareness as well as funds.

The Fernlea Maakers have always held a special place in our hearts, and the hearts of many worldwide. All of their hand knit items have been so sought after, they’ve raised literally thousands for us.

When the first of Harriet’s patterns was launched, on of our Maakers, Melanie, suggested we’d raise £100,000 and frankly we laughed. But in recent weeks we’ve made no secret that we were in reach of that milestone, and of how fitting it would be if we surpassed it before the Scanner Appeal finishes. Again Harriet’s brother, so proud of his sister, wife and the achievements of the MRI Maakers stepped up. Donating £100 to help cross the line, he joined others who have donated in recent days through the GoFundMe page we set up.

Oversatt av – Margaret Helen Langø

August should have seen us meet the MRI Maakers from Norway. Margaret Helen Langø was behind that venture through her volunteer work with the Oppdal Revmatikerforening. Together, they hosted two fundraising events and were going to hand over the funds raised while they visited. It was going to be added to any funds raised at an event we jointly hosted while they toured our shores with us. That sadly couldn’t happen due to Covid-19, so today they have donated over 10,000 NOK, which comes to an amazing £850! Margaret’s grandparents met during the war, as her grandfather played his part in the Shetland Bus operations. It was while here in Shetland visiting relatives that she first became aware of the Harriet’s Hat pattern. She’s translated the patterns into Norwegian along with the other fundraising efforts by way of a thank you for Shetland keeping her grandfather safe in those difficult times. The Norwegian patterns sold here on the site and account for £408 of our online downloads. So all in, the Norwegian branch of the MRI Maakers have raised £1258.

We’ve, You’ve, Done it. THANK YOU!

All of the above, from so many, in all of the supportive ways sum towards the total we have reached today. We’ve done it, you’ve done it. As of tonight, our total raised now sits at £100,622.37. It truly is overwhelming, your support has been breath taking. There aren’t the words to express how grateful we are to each and every one of the many people who have played their part. Thank you.

MRI Scanner Target Reached But Fundraising Continues – Here’s Why

Today marks an important announcement in the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal. That the target, as stated on the official appeal website, has been surpassed (MRI scanner in sight after fundraising target reached). It’s a day that the many people who have worked so hard towards have long felt couldn’t come soon enough.

Since the appeal was first launched, hundreds of people have had to endure trips to the Mainland for MRIs. That number may however be less than it otherwise would have been at this point in time. The pandemic which has made our fundraising efforts more difficult also means that less urgent cases have been delayed. Some may not yet have taken place at all yet. If ever there was a time to focus on the positive benefits of Shetland having it’s own MRI Scanner, it’s now. Covid isn’t over yet. However things are in Shetland there may be reasons elsewhere that limit availability of scans until it’s in place. The sooner one is installed, the better for everyone here at home.

While today’s news may come too late for many people, there are thousands in future years who will benefit from the MRI Scanner which we now know for certain will be installed here in Shetland. Regardless of anyone’s opinions on anything else, at a time when there have been people too scared to attend even their local hospital, many would say it can’t be installed soon enough, however hard the effort. It’s a good news day, and there haven’t been many of them in recent months.

What now?

There is an important line in the article linked to above. “However, until the final costs of the project are established, fundraising will continue.”

A lot has changed since the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal target was last revised. Covid means NHS Shetland has worked hard to provide green and red pathways. Options which existed before may not now in terms of siting. Inflation, Brexit, you name it. Nothing has stood still while the community as a whole rallied together and raised WELL OVER HALF of what’s needed. Until all of the installation and training costs are firmly nailed down (something the committee is working hard on now), fundraising will continue.

What a travesty it would be if we all counted our chickens only to find something so important had to be delayed while a few more pounds were found. So here at MRI Maakers, we’ll carry on until we know, for sure, we don’t need to.

Thanks to everyone for their overwhelming support throughout, and to everyone who has made today possible.

Shetland Wool Week Auction Brings Total Raised over £96k

We were blown away by to total raised during yesterday’s Shetland Wool Week Auction. £1013 in just 24 hours with some frantic bidding towards the end. It’s a fantastic amount, with some particularly special items bound for far flung places.

The Fernlea Maakers have come up trumps once again, their Harriet Collection items proving popular. Gilda Sim and Marina Robertson’s items all did well too.

We’re particularly pleased with where Harriet’s Cowl is heading. It’s off to America, but we’ll say no more about that for now as we’ve a suspicion you’ll hear more about it later.

Harriet is busy writing thank you letters for those who won items knit by her, and Billy has just totalled up where we’re now at. Including what was raised in the auction yesterday, along with a boost to sales during wool week itself, the MRI Maakers total now stands at £96,814.37. Edging ever so close to £100k, a milestone which back at the beginning we thought unrealistic. But with the support of so many, literally all around the world, it’s now within reach.

Thank you all.

Shetland Wool Week Auction Raises over £1000! Thank you.

The last few minutes of today’s Shetland Wool Week Auction saw some frantic activity with bids coming in thick and fast! Billy gets an email notification of every bid, and suffice to say he’ll be spending a lot of time tomorrow clearing his inbox.

We’ve quickly totalled up the winning bids, and have raised a staggering £1013 over the 24 hour auction. Technically we should probably also include the £56.55 winning bid for Gilda Sim’s lace shawl. Billy accidentally set it live a few days early. It’s truly amazing, and we’d like to thank everyone who took part, whether they won or not. That puts us a huge step nearer to our next £100k milestone and tomorrow we’ll post up exactly where we’re at overall.

We’ll also get to work packaging up the items ready to send out to the lucky winners, and we’ll get them shipped ASAP.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their support and generosity. We’re blown away. And of course thanks as always to the MRI Maakers, without whom there wouldn’t be anything to raise funds with.

Thank you.

SWW Maakers Market Auction and Post Wool Week Sales

This year’s Shetland Wool Week may have been very different to what everyone would’ve ideally wanted or expected. But the feedback has been very positive, and we’re glad for the organisers that their efforts have been appreciated far and wide.

All of our auction items are now listed and will go live at midnight. You can find them here – All Auctions. These will run for 24 hours and any which don’t meet any reserve price set will be added to our existing stock items at that price.

We hope, inspired by Wool Week, that you’ll find something you like to bid on. Or something else from the regular stock items and help us get ever closer to our next milestone – £100k.

As Shetland Wool Week draws to a close, the overall Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal total draws ever closer too. There’s only between £50k and £75k left to reach goal roughly. It would be unbelievably fantastic if the MRI Maakers could hit £100k by then. An amazing tribute to the overwhelming support we’ve had from across the globe, for which we’re always truly grateful.

In the absence of Covid 19, we’d have been at more craft events, more tourists would have graced our shores. We’d have sold many more of the hard copy patterns and ordered them accordingly. Consequently have something of a surplus. They allincluding details of the Scanner Appeal and so can’t really be sold in aid of anything else after the Scanner total has been reached. With that in mind, starting Monday 5th of October, we’ll be offering all hard copy patterns at 25% off while stocks last. This excludes purchases of the full set, and stockists bundles, already sold at a reduced rate. So keep that in mind while you’re eyeing up your yarn purchases throughout the remainder of Shetland Wool Week 2020. You might just need a few extra hanks, or another ball or two to complete a colourway you’d like to try on the Harriet Collection.

Hope you all enjoy the auction tomorrow. Good luck, and thank you once again for your support.


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.