Day 1: Edinburgh, Dovecot Studio and Kathy’s Knits
Your tour begins with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 10.30 am), where you meet up with your group. We visit Dovecot Studio which is a centre dedicated to contemporary art, craft and design and has a long association with beautiful handwoven tapestries and rugs. After lunch (included), we travel to Kathy’s Knits where we meet with Lucy Hague.
Lucy is a well-known pattern designer and author of Celtic Cable Shawls and Illuminated Knits. Take some time to browse through an array of yarns, patterns and accessories in stock at Kathy’s Knits. There will be time for you to refresh and relax before your welcome dinner at your Edinburgh hotel. Overnight Edinburgh, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast.
Today, we leave Edinburgh and travel towards Aberdeen to catch an overnight ferry to Shetland. En route, we stop at Dundee to visit The V&A Dundee and the RRS Discovery. The V&A Museum first opened in 2018 and is the first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland. Situated overlooking Dundee’s waterfront, you can learn all about design from the past, present and future through the stunning displays on exhibit. After lunch (included), we visit the RRS Discovery and Discovery Point Museum.
This museum explores one of the most heroic voyages of exploration, that of Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton. After this visit, we continue our journey to Aberdeen where we board the overnight ferry to Shetland. This journey takes over 12 hours and on board, you will find comfortable cabin accommodation as well as a bar, lounge, restaurant and gift shop. Breakfast will be served the following morning before disembarking. Overnight Northlink Ferries, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Shetland – Shetland Textile Museum & Shetland Museum and Archive
On arrival in Shetland, we disembark the ferry at Lerwick and set off to explore the island. Our first stop is at the Shetland Textile Museum, dedicated to the fostering of heritage skills of Shetland textiles. It conserves and cares for the Collection for future generations and here you will find Shetland lace, Fair Isle Knitting, Shetland Taatit rugs and woven tweeds on display.
Staff will only be too happy to offer information and demonstrations. Our next stop will be at Shetland Museum and Archives which tells the story of Shetland’s heritage and culture. Its galleries contain wonderful examples of delicate Shetland lace and your guided tour will pay special attention to knitting related history and its importance in history. The remainder of the day will be free for you to explore town of Lerwick or relax at your hotel. Overnight Shetland, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast.
Day 4: Fair Isle Knitting Workshop with Hazel Tindall and Jamieson and Smith Wool Brokers
Today, we meet with Hazel Tindall who is an expert on Fair Isle knitting. Her half day workshop is on the topic of Fair Isle Yoke Construction. Hazel will instruct on knitting Fair Isle Yokes, study some examples and knit a section of yoke while experimenting with colour and shaping. Hazel will issue information on how to design your own Yoked sweater.
After your class and lunch (not included), we visit Jamieson & Smith Wool Brokers who have been in existence since the 1930s. Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers purchase Shetland wool from over 700 of Shetland’s crofters and famers before transforming it to the finest high-quality Shetland wool products such as yarns, knitwear, blankets and carpets. You will be treated to an informative talk on the fleeces, how they are sorted and graded before being transformed to various garments and products. There will also be time to visit their shop to view some fantastic Shetland yarns and accessories. Overnight Shetland, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast.
Day 5: Knitting Belt Workshop with Janette Budge Uradale Sheep Farm Visit & Burra Bears
Your workshop this morning is hosted by Janette Budge who will teach a class using a Shetland Knitting Belt. This class teaches you how to work with a knitting belt – an essential tool for generations of knitters who had the task of hand knitting for their families down through the years. Learn how to add a raepin string at the bottom of your knitting and see how this alters your tension, speed and ease of knitting. Janette will also demonstrate different techniques for holding your yarns while knitting Fair Isle.
After this class we will board our bus and drive out to Burra where we pay a visit to Uradale Farm. Here you will meet some of the sheep and hear about Uradale Organic Knitting Yarns which reflect the colours of the flock. Our final stop of the day will be at Burra Bears, a fabulous local business where beautiful handmade teddy bears are made mostly out of old Fair Isle sweaters and waste panels from local knitwear factories. Overnight Shetland, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast
Day 6: Shetland Lace with Elizabeth Johnson (Sheila Fowlie on April Departure), Nielanell & Jarlshof
After breakfast, we travel out to meet Elizabeth Johnston for a class on Shetland Lace. Elizabeth will teach you the skills required to plan your own Shetland-inspired lace design. Our next stop will be at Nielanell for a quick visit where you will meet with Niela Kalra, a textile designer who specializes in contemporary knitwear, homeware and accessories.
Finally, after some lunch (included), we journey to the very southern tip of the island to see some stunning views at Jarlshof which is a prehistoric archaeological site on Shetland. Here discoveries include oval-shaped Bronze Age houses, an Iron Age broch, wheelhouses, Norse long houses, a medieval farmstead and a laird’s house dating from the 1500s. Overnight Shetland, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 7: Jamieson’s of Shetland Mill and Ferry to Aberdeen
After check-out, we board our coach and drive to the west coast to Sandness where the scenery is beautiful with views looking out towards the island of Papa Stour. Jamieson’s of Shetland Mill, located in Sandness is a family-owned business which specializes in wool sourced from native Shetland sheep for over five generations.
Here you will see woven fabric using these unique colourful yarns in their products of Shetland tweeds and blankets. We return to Lerwick where there will be time to shop before boarding your overnight ferry this evening to return to Aberdeen. Overnight Northlink Ferries, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast.
Day 8: Glamis Castle, Kilt Making Demonstration in Perth
Enjoy breakfast on the ferry before disembarking at Aberdeen. Our first stop of the day will be at Glamis Castle which is the ancestral seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. This castle was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and was also the childhood home of H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.The gardens surrounding Glamis Castle are beautiful all year round where you have the opportunity to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.
We continue on towards Perth to Askival of Strathearn for a Kilt Making Demonstration. Here you can look at, touch and see the process of the traditional tailored kilt making in action, hear all about the history of the kilt and the Highland attire, the tartans and the construction of the kilt. Discover the difference between good and bad kilts, how to tell a well-made tailored kilt and how it should fit! Overnight Pitlochry, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast.
Check out of our hotel and begin our journey back to Edinburgh. First we stop at Dunfermline, once the capital of Scotland. Steeped in history, Dunfermline is also famous for being the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie, the world-famous philanthropist and industrialist.
We visit the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum where we hear how the weaver’s son, born in Dunfermline emigrated to America and became the richest man in the world and one of the best known philanthropists of all time. We continue on to Edinburgh there the rest of the afternoon is free for you to do some personal sightseeing or shopping. This evening we visit a local restaurant to enjoy a farewell dinner. Overnight Edinburgh, Bed & Breakfast included.