This is where I went first today. It's the Jamieson's Spinning Mill in Sandness. (Not to be confused with Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick).
Yarn and knitwear all over! Just brilliant! :) I love the design of the hooded vest.
At first I couldn't see if the shop was open. When I came up to the door the sign there said it was open but the door was locked. I walked over to what looked a little like a barn (turned out to be the mill) and found a man there sitting in his dirty work clothes. He said hello, and I asked him if the shop was closed. He jump up and said that he would go find someone who could help me. A few seconds later the shop was open :) I didn't need to say much before the shop owner - a middle-aged lady - offered that I could have a look at everything. She said that if I wanted to go in and see the mill I was more than welcome. I was ecstatic and thanked her many times.
I started out in the shop. I looked at (also with my hands ;) all the yarns, vests, pullovers, blankets, etc. I thought to myself that if only it had all been mine... *sigh*... I would be so so happy :)
From the shop I went in the back that led directly to the mill. There I met a man and a women who seemed to be in charge of the knitting there. They had three knitting machines that worked non-stop making fair isle spencers for the Japanese market. The woman told me that it took about an hour from start to finish to make one vest, which explains the price (around 40 GBP depending on the design).
Top left: Knitting machine with cones on top.
Top right: Knitting machines and half-finished vests on the floor.
Mid left: Huge machine that puts the yarn on cones.
Mid right: Cones
Buttom left: The half-finished vests - or spencers - are being sewed up and finished by this very nice (and a bit shy) lady from Eastern Europe somewhere. She told me about her work and seemed to be glad to have somebody to chat with for a while. But the pleasure was all mine.
Buttom right: A yarn washing machine (I had no idea they would look like this).
Top left: Cones for the knitting machines.
Top right: This guy washes the hanks of yarn before you and I knit with it :) He too was very pleasant and told me about his work.
Buttom left: The big scale. Just for a second there I thought about jumping up on it. But I decided that I wouldn't want to be caught using their scale as a toy.
Buttom right: The man who did all the knitting :) He was nice and we joked about the vests he was making - you can see them lying right beneath the knitting machine. They are yellow, blue, pink, green, brown, black... every colour in the universe! As mentioned they are all off to Japan, and we agreed that those Japanese people obviously prefered something different from what he and I prefered ;)