So many people use – and love – Jamieson’s Shetland yarn.
And so many people swear against it.
It’s one of those yarns that evoke a strong response in people!
As you might know, Fiona Munro – a long time Knotions designer and creator of this month’s Finestra Wrap – loves using Jamieson’s Shetland yarn. Her designs always look so great too – fine details and a lightweight hand!
Thoughts on Shetland Yarn
I wanted to talk with a few other Shetland lovers about their thoughts on the yarn.
I asked Kellie Nuss (a long-time knitter and the Knotions photographer) for her thoughts on the yarn. I knew she liked it after her comments on the shawl, but I didn’t know just how much! She loves the yarn and had tons of positives to share about it.
Kellie was happy to share her thoughts and experiences on Shetland yarn and really gave me a new lens to see it through:
I’m a huge fan of [the] yarn and I love the crunchy, lofty texture. To be honest, while it does soften some, it never loses its resilient, springy feel. Most people who aren’t from the Shetland Islands don’t consider it to be soft enough to ever be next to the skin, and many find it quite itchy. But again, I’m a fan. I absolutely love the look, feel, and texture. It’s so beautiful for stitch definition, durability, and being incredibly warm yet also very lightweight. Plus it takes dyes beautifully. I don’t like to do stranded color with any other kind of yarn.
How’s that for a ringing endorsement? It does have a lovely ability to make gorgeous textures and its colorwork is known far and wide. Look for a Knotions blog post on that very soon – subscribe so you don’t miss it!
And a more technical explanation
After hearing how much Kellie loved the yarn, I also wanted to hear from the source. I asked Karen Campbell and I learned a bit more about why the yarn does what it does. Read on…
Yes, Shetland can have a reputation as being “itchy” or “scratchy.” I, personally, can wear a sweater of it next to my skin with no problem, but I have heard other people say that they can only wear a Fair Isle sweater with some other layer underneath. The fact that the Shetland fibers are a little bit “sticky” or “hairy” is an advantage if one is making a garment or other item that requires a steek, because the stickiness helps the integrity of the steek when first cut before final finishing.
One thing I couldn’t drop though is the notion of “soft” and what some describe as (in the words of Karen), either “itchy” or “scratchy”
I think there is sometimes a confusion about what people mean when they say “soft.” Jamieson’s is woolen-spun, which makes for a lofty sort of yarn, which is “soft” in the sense that it is not crisp. This is as opposed to a worsted spun yarn, which makes for a hard finish to the yarn, so worsted spun yarns are crisp and not “soft.” (Jamieson’s is not “soft” in the sense in which Angora bunny fur is soft. But I think sometimes knitters hear the word “soft” and so their expectation is Angora bunny softness rather than non-crispness, and so they end up disappointed.)
Use it in the right project
This was a great way to describe it! Just like I use hearty greens for a BBQ side (and never with a simple dish), Shetland yarn can really shine in the right circumstances. And, adjusting expectations can make a big difference too. There’s a difference between it and a superwash merino, but both have their places and can excel in the right project.
As always, swatch first to help you choose wisely.