Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It was a remarkable experience. Very, very remarkable. Kristie has already posted the first episode on her blog.  She and her cousin Kath are travelling home today – there should be more episodes soon. I will try to start off by telling you three things, although my poor old computer is sinking beneath the weight of the new photographs.

Thing One

On Monday, we needed to cross a street in Lerwick. We spotted a pedestrian crossing, and pressed the button. Only then did we notice that the apparatus was completely out of action. We hesitated, looked left and right – and saw that the traffic had stopped for us anyway.

Thing Two

There is a famous bus shelter on the island of Unst, the most northerly of the British Isles. We went there on Sunday to see the Heritage Centre for the sake of its lace. I asked, but didn’t discover, why Unst is the omphalos of the world when it comes to lace knitting. There must have been a particular woman, or a family of women, but if so their name has been lost.

More of that anon. We also wanted to see the bus shelter. And it didn’t disappoint.

The current theme is Sheep and Wool, appropriately enough –  follow the link above for others. The display is fresh-looking. It is in a remote spot – there are few spots on the island of Unst which would not qualify for that description. There are things in the bus shelter well worth pinching – a Fair Isle hat, £30 in Lerwick. This cushion, which I coveted:

(Naughty pussy cats!) And if nicking things isn’t your scene, there’s always vandalism. The Unst Bus Shelter has been in action, with changing exhibitions, for fifteen years.

Thing Three

We met the woman who knit the sweaters for Those Ponies. They were knit by machine, of course – but custom-fitted. The ponies’ owner measured their dimensions and sent them down to the knitter. She said that after the images went viral, she went to New York and paraded down Sixth Avenue on Tartan Day with American ponies who had been pressed into service to wear the sweaters. I’ll put some work into finding an image of that parade when I can get this computer moving.

She was a wonderful mixture of old and new. She knits for pleasure and comfort, like all of us. She demonstrated the use of a knitting belt for us. But her business is run on the most modern imaginable lines, with computer design feeding in to an electronic knitting machine.


  1. Really enjoyed what Kristie had to say earlier and now this! Is it greedy to want you to tell us more?

  2. Lovely to read your first report. I wonder what you feel inspired to knit yourself after this trip? More lace? More colourwork?

  3. Glad to hear 1) you had a good time and 2) you are back safely. Looking forward to hearing more tales from the land of Shet.....

  4. Anonymous11:10 AM

    What and amazing adventure. Love the bus stop. Can you imagine that anywhere else? Your relax sweater looks lovely. Liz Phillips

  5. Good Morning Jean, I found this link for the 2013 Shetland Ponies:

  6. Anonymous1:00 PM

    So glad the trip went well (not that I had doubts)!
    I am really enjoying the photos.

  7. I'm so excited you got to meet the knitter of the pony sweaters. (I keep up with the ponies owner's blog.) Too bad you didn't get to see the ponies-they live near Lerwick. (I'm horse mad so my tour would have been ponies and knitting and sheep.)
    Now I'll go off to the other blog. I love reading adventures!

  8. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Thank you, thank you! Relax looks great. Shetland has moved on since my short visit in the mid-70s - don't remember any island-hopping ferry, so only got as far as sound end of Yell, on a bus. Love the bus stop and no wonder you coveted the cushion. Thanks again, Jean.
    - Beth in Toronto