Wool Meets Fish

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  • By Anne
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Wool Meets Fish

What do fly fishermen and knitters have in common? Turns out, Shetland wool. Go figure!

Over the last few months, I’d noticed a real uptick in our sales of Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift in the color Oyster.  Single skein orders of just that color.  And here’s the really weird part – all were bought by men.  Now, it could be that there are a bunch of guys out there knitting fair isle sweaters, and they all need that elusive last color to complete their color scheme, that color being Oyster.  But I kinda think you don’t buy that explanation.  Neither did I.  As it turns out, these dudes are all fly fishermen, and that particular color is sought after to  . . . wait for it . . . tie fishing lures.  Yup!  Our lovely Shetland wool is being tethered to a hook and being gobbled up in streams across the country by scaly, wet fish.  I had the opportunity to ask one of these yarn buying fellas to explain the allure of this particular yarn and color.  Here’s what I learned:


Spindrift Oyster is used to tie a fly fishermen say resembles the larva of the Crane Fly (some call Crane Flies "mosquito eaters").  The tied fly pattern is called a "Killer Bug" and there are variants that differ slightly from each other, but trout love them.   The Killer Bug is a pattern invented by Englishman, Frank Sawyer who tied it with Chadwick’s 477, a colored yarn, no longer available, which was supposedly irresistible to trout.  Chris Stewart, a legend amongst fly fishermen (or so I’m told) tracked down a new source of yarn to replace Chadwick’s 477, and the rest is history.  If you want to learn more about the Killer Bug, see what it looks like, or perhaps make one yourself, here’s a fun little link.  https://sectionhiker.com/stewarts-killer-bug-fly-tying-tips/


And that’s how Jamieson’s of Shetland Oyster diversified and spread into a new hobby world – Fly Fishing.  I think I’ll stick with knitting mine.


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