Gudrun is Wool Week patron

Gudrun Johnston wearing this year's Wool Week hat, her Bousta Beanie.

A SHETLAND born knitwear designer now living in America has been confirmed as the patron for this year’s Wool Week.

Gudrun Johnston, who has attended the increasingly popular event every year since it started in 2010, said she was “very honoured” to land the role.

This year’s Shetland Wool Week will take place between 23 September and 1 October.

The patron announcement was made at Edinburgh Yarn Festival last week, which enjoyed a strong isles representation as Shetland Wool Week exhibited alongside the likes of Jamieson’s of Sandness and Uradale Yarns.

Johnston has also designed this year’s Wool Week hat, the Bousta Beanie, and over 9,500 of its patterns have so far been snapped up by knitters.

The designer was born in Levenwick in 1970s, with her parents hailing from Skerries and Ness, but she now lives in the US.

Alongside publishing knitwear books, Johnston has also revived the design company Shetland Trader, which was first launched by her mother Patricia Johnston.

“I am astonished, though in some ways not surprised, at how much [Shetland Wool Week] has grown. My Shetland lineage runs deep, but I’ve spent much of my life on mainland Scotland and, more recently, in America,” Johnston said.

“And yet the personal, creative and professional inspiration that defines my work is Shetland: its history and culture, people and language, its landscape, and the ever-present sea.

“Looking back over the last fifteen years, I’m amazed at the role Shetland has played in my knitting career. Through my designs, publications and teaching I’ve been able to share Shetland’s rich knitting heritage with a far flung international audience.”

Shetland Wool Week co-ordinator Victoria Tait added: “We are delighted to have such an inspiring designer as Gudrun Johnston as this year’s patron.

“She has a large international following online and is an enthusiastic ambassador for Shetland’s textile industry, so she was a natural choice for the SWW committee.”

Memberships for this year’s Wool Week will be available from April, with tickets going on sale in May.