Day 1: Edinburgh Sightseeing; Kathy’s Knits & Dovecot Studio
Begin your knitting tour of Scotland & Shetland Islands with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 10:30am), then set off on your tour. Enjoy a panoramic guided tour of Edinburgh and visit Dovecot Studio, an innovative centre for modern art, craft and design built around a leading international tapestry studio.
After your visit and time for lunch continue to Kathy’s Knits where you will meet Lucy Hague, a well-known pattern designer and author of Celtic Cable Shawls and Illuminated Knits. In the afternoon, we return to your hotel where the remainder of the evening will be free for you to explore the city at your leisure before meeting back at the hotel for your welcome dinner. Overnight in Edinburgh, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Today we make our way to Aberdeen in order to get the overnight ferry to the Shetland Islands. Along the way, we will explore the city of Dundee visiting The V&A Dundee and the RRS Discovery. The V&A Dundee, is Scotland’s first dedicated design museum and newly opened in September 2018. At the heart of the museum, the Scottish Design Gallery features more than 300 exhibits from all over Scotland, including knitwear and other textiles. After time for lunch we will walk to the adjacent RRS Discovery and Discovery Point Museum; this prize-winning visitor attraction tells the story of the RRS Discovery from her beginnings in Dundee, her remarkable Antarctic expedition with Captain Scott and his team and her voyages thereafter.
Continue to Aberdeen where we take the overnight ferry to the Shetland Islands. Although the ferry crossing takes about 9 hours, the journey is comfortable; cabin accommodation will be provided and there is a bar, lounge and restaurant as well as a shop selling souvenirs, gifts, travel products and snacks. Overnight Northlink Ferries, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Shetland Island Welcome, Shetland Textile Museum & Shetland Museum and Archive
Today your knitting tour of the Shetland Islands begins in earnest! We arrive in Lerwick early morning and after a leisurely breakfast and time to pack your belongings, we are off to explore the island! First stop is the Shetland Textile Museum which is run by a dedicated bunch of people many of them are also very heavily involved in the famous Shetland Woolweek. On display at the museum you will find Shetland lace Fair Isle knitting, Shetland Taatit rugs and other woven tweeds. There are also tools associated with the production of Shetland textiles, as well as historic papers and patterns. Staff will be on hand to tell us about their displays and do some interesting demonstrations.
After your visit we continue to the Shetland Museum and Archives. The museum galleries are arranged in an easy to follow trail which takes you through Shetland Islands history from the early beginnings and people, through social, domestic and industrial developments and into the more contemporary oil era changes. Our time here includes a guided tour and your guide will pay particular attention to Shetland Islands knitting related history! After have enough time to explore the museum, the remainder of the day is free for you to relax in the hotel. Overnight Shetland Islands, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 4: Fair Isle Knitting Workshop with Hazel Tindall & Jamieson and Smith Wool Brokers
Today we meet with Island native and expert fair isle knitter, Hazel Tindall for a half day workshop on ‘Fair Isle Yoke Construction’. Learn about knitting Fair Isle yokes by studying examples and knit a section of yoke to experiment with colour and learn about the shaping. The instructor's handout gives information to design your own yoked sweater. After your class and time for lunch, head into Lerwick where we will visit Jamieson & Smith Wool Brokers.
Jamieson & Smith purchase Shetland wool from over 700 of Shetland's crofters and farmers, and transform it into high-quality Shetland wool products including yarns, knitwear, blankets and carpets. At the centre, one of the staff will show us around, speak to us about the fleece, how it is spun and what type of garments are made from the different grades of wool. Return to your hotel where the rest of the evening is free. Overnight Shetland Islands, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Shetland Knitting Belt Workshop with Janette Budge, Uradale Farm Visit & Burra Bears
After breakfast we meet Janette Budge for a ‘Shetland Knitting Belt’ workshop. Practice using a Shetland style stuffed leather knitting belt and long double pointed needles. After a few rows, try adding a raepin string at the bottom of your knitting to discover if this alters your tension, speed and ease of knitting. In the workshop you will use 2 long double pointed needles (40cm long) and a knitting belt (both included). We will also look at different techniques for holding your yarns during fair isle knitting. After the workshop we continue towards Burra where the first stop is with Ronnie at Uradale Farm. Uradale Farm consists of 2000 acres of naturally challenging land where sheep graze right from the hilltops down to the sea shores
We will meet some of the sheep and learn about Uradale Organic Knitting Yarns which reflect the colours of the flock. Your final stop today before returning to your hotel is Burra Bears. Burra Bears is a lovely local business that makes beautiful handmade teddy bears mostly out of old Fair Isle sweaters and waste panels from local knitwear factories. We will have a quick tour of the studio where the bears are made and learn more about this fabulous sustainable product. Overnight Shetland Islands, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 6: Shetland Lace Knitting with Elizabeth Johnston, Nielanell & Jarlshof
We start the day with a Shetland Lace class with Elizabeth Johnston. You will leave the class having gained the skills to plan your own Shetland inspired lace designs! Next its on to Neilanell for a quick visit. Niela Kalra of Nielanell is a textile designer specialising in contemporary knitwear, homeware and accessories. Finally, after some lunch we travel to the very south of the island to visit Jarlshof which is the best known prehistoric archaeological site in Shetland, Scotland.
Discoveries made here include oval-shaped Bronze Age houses, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, Norse long houses, a medieval farmstead, and a laird’s house dating from the 1500s. The views from the section of the island are amazing! Overnight Shetland Islands, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 7: Last day in Shetland – Jamieson’s of Shetland Mill & BAKKA Knitwear
Today our knitting tour of Shetland draws to a close, however as the ferry does not leave until the evening, we have time to do some additional sightseeing! Today we make the journey out to Sandness on the West of the island. The scenery here is ruggedly beautiful and there are amazing views looking out towards the island of Papa Stour. First stop is a tour of Jamieson’s of Shetland mill. Jamieson’s is a family owned business, which has specialised in wool from the native Shetland sheep for five generations. Recognising the potential for woven fabrics using these unique colourful yarns, Jamieson’s installed weaving looms and now make an extensive range of genuine Shetland Tweeds and blankets. Before we return to Lerwick our final stop is BAKKA for a studio visit.
BAKKA's garments are a modernisation of traditional Fair Isle knitwear. Only the oldest 'heritage' patterns and traditional colours are used, but the chosen yarn is not Shetland wool. Instead, BAKKA uses luxury 100% superfine merino yarn. The resulting garments, the principal collection of BAKKA accessories, are silky soft, durable and affordable. Return to Lerwick where you will have time to relax after you check in for your return ferry to Aberdeen. Overnight Northlink Ferries, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 8: Arrival in Aberdeen – Glamis Castle & Perth
After a leisurely breakfast on the ferry, we make our way to Perth. Along the way we stop for a tour of the famous Glamis Castle, Ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and childhood home of H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Continue to Perth to Askival of Strathearn for a Kilt Making Demonstration. Learn the origins of tartan, the "fall and rise" of tartan, and how it is immersed in Scottish heritage. Learn about Kilts from the feilidh-mor (the big kilt), the feilidh-beag (the little kilt), and then the tailored kilt.
Learn about Kilts from the feilidh-mor (the big kilt), the feilidh-beag (the little kilt), and then the tailored kilt. Learn how the Kilt is made, why it is constructed the way it is; the math; the instinct and the variations of pleating. Most importantly discover the difference between good and bad kilts, how to tell a well-made tailored kilt and how it should fit. Overnight in Perth, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Today we make our way to Edinburgh stopping along the way at Dunfermline. Dunfermline is a large town in Fife and was at one stage the capital of Scotland. The 'auld grey toun' of Dunfermline is at the centre of Scotland's history and the royal and monastic past defines the town. We pay a visit to the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum where we discover how Andrew Carnegie became the wealthiest man in the world and father of modern philanthropy, supporting the establishment of globally renowned landmarks such as the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Peace Palace in The Hague.
Continue to Edinburgh where the remainder of your day is free for personal sightseeing or shopping. This evening we meet at the hotel reception and travel together to an Edinburgh city centre restaurant for a final farewell dinner. Overnight in Edinburgh, Bed & Breakfast Included.