At around 2 p.m I was supposed to meet up with Connie who works at the Shetland Wool Brokers (aka Jamieson & Smith Wool Brokers Ltd) - unfortunately she fell ill.
Luckily the manager, Oliver, who has worked there for 42 years was eager to show me the entire place. He told me how they sorted the fleece into 4-5 different categories; he could do up to 250 kg a day! A machine will do 2,000 kg a day but it doesn't feel or see the things dear Oliver does. He too was very kind and I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide :) He told me about EU regulations that are not in favour of Shetland sheep. There were several stories about people using the term 'Shetland wool' about wool from other places in Scotland, even about Australian and New Zealand wool. Shame on them. Oliver told me how the outer layer of the wool is full of lanolin, which prevents the sheep from getting wet and cold. The next layer is wool that feels a bit like hair. And the wool closest to the sheep's body is super soft. He told about colours and that real Shetland sheep don't need a lot of food since it's a very small type of sheep. He compared the size of a lamb with a rabbit - now that's a small lamb in my world. That meant that it was all in all more profitable to go with other types of sheep, since they are often bigger and thus worth a lot more on the meat market. Dear Oliver was obviously very proud of his work, and he should be. He is trying to preserve the real Shetland wool in spite of the forces that work agains him and others like him.
He asked me if I knew Hanne Falkenberg. I don't know her personally, only by name and design. Oliver then told me that he had contacted her because she claimed to use Shetland Wool in her kits. And since Jamieson and Smith know exactly who buys their yarns and Hanne Falkenberg's name didn't turn up on that list, so to speak, he was quite sure she was mistaken. She had replied to his email but I don't think that was the end of it.
The Woolen Mill also has a shop, and the lady there was just another friendly soul :) We laughed and chatted away about knitting, patterns, yarn, ravelry, etc. I had such a good time. Unfortunately my camera and my phone ran out of battery! Thanks a lot, battery gods! Well, I did manage to take a few pictures, so here you go :)
Top left: The manager, Oliver, tells the tale.
Top right: Oliver gives a Shetland fleece a good shake! He then tore it apart in 3 different categories of wool.
Buttom left: Already sorted wool.
Buttom right: Shetland wool in the shop. There are many more shelves with yarn, you should go there :)