Bousta Baby!

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  • By Anne
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Bousta Baby!

Ah, Scotland! Lavender fields, rocky coastal cliffs, rich history, bagpipes, scrappy white terriers, unintelligible Gaelic, haggis, peaty scotch, a pub on every corner, and of course, sheep. Which means wool. Deliciously crunchy, colorful Shetland wool. The annual week-long celebration of that lovely Shetland commodity is well underway. How I wish I were there.

Ah, Scotland!  Lavender fields, rocky coastal cliffs, rich history, bagpipes, scrappy white terriers, unintelligible Gaelic, haggis, peaty scotch, a pub on every corner, and of course, sheep.  Which means wool.  Deliciously crunchy, colorful Shetland wool.  The annual week-long celebration of that lovely Shetland commodity is well underway.  How I wish I were there.

 

Shetland Wool Week started this past Saturday September 23rd and runs through Sunday October 1.  Nine fun-filled days celebrating Britain’s most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands.  An extensive range of exhibitions, classes and events encompassing all things Shetland, including weaving, spinning, dyeing, Fair Isle and lace knitting.  And taking place throughout the Shetland islands, from the most southern tip, right up to the most northerly island of Unst, famous for its beautiful lacework.  How is it that I’m in Oregon and not there?!  Someday.  I almost had Jay convinced to take me.  Pubs, lamb and whiskey, right?  Then I told him I’d likely be spending most of my time knitting. Well, I guess I do that already at home, so why drag him half way around the world to hear “just let me finish this row.”

 

But there is a way to get in the spirit of the festival, and participate.  Each year, there’s a pattern designed just for Wool Week.  A couple years ago it was the epicly popular Baa-ble Hat.  Well this year, Gudrun Johnston stepped up to the plate, designing the Official Hat for Wool Week 2017 - the Bousta Beanie.  Love it!  Here’s how Gudrun describes the creation:

 

“I am always impressed by the myriad shades of colour that can be seen in Shetland, the blues of the sea, the mossy greens and browns of the hillside and the bright pops of wildflowers and heather in the summer. I never tire of walking in this landscape and soaking in the rich palette. I also love to wear a slouchy style hat that can be pulled down to cover my ears when it’s cold and windy outside! All of these elements played a part in this design. The Bousta Beanie uses three colours combined to great effect within a simple Fair Isle pattern. What with all the colours available in Shetland yarn the possibilities are endless!”

  

Man oh man, she was right – the possibilities are endless.  As I started pulling color combos of Jamieson’s Spindrift, the number of Beanies in my que started to multiply.  Hats are quick, right?  So why not make a few.  I stopped myself at 5.  Imagine that.  Me.  Only making 5 at a time.  Bwaahahahaha!  One is definitely shades of pinks.  Then there’s the obligatory ‘same as Gudrun’s’ combo – Mirry Dancers (who can resist that name), Wren, and Ochre.  Miracle of miracles - this one is finished.  And how about a beanie similar to the Blues in Gudrun’s photo, substituting similar colors of Spindrift for the suggested Jamieson and Smith 2-ply.  By all means, I need one that’s got some ocean inspired colors, too - cream with turquoise and royal blue.  That’s four.  The 5th?  Well, Rowan’s newest yarn, Valley Tweed arrived just as I was choosing colors.  Wouldn’t it be fun to try the hat with a new yarn?  British wool, Scottish wool.  Kinda the same thing.  Bazinga!  A red, black and gray version was born.  I was stopped only by the lack of size two 16” needles in my cupboard.

 

 

 

So while I’m not able to dawn my kilt and cabled sweater, perch myself on a clifftop (or bar stool in the local pub) whilst plying my glorious wooly wool, I am able to pour up a wee dram, pull up Julia Fowlis on iTunes, and knit my Boustas ‘til the sheep come home.  Happy Wool Week Shetland.  Can’t wait to see what’s in store next fall.

 

Learn all about Shetland Wool Week at http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/about/.

 

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