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Arts / Shetland Wool Week expands offering for nine-day online gathering

It is the second successive year that Covid-19 has prevented the physical event taking place

Shetland Wool Week patron Wilma Malcolmson in her ‘Crofter’s Kep’.

SHETLAND Wool Week (SWW) is going virtual this year – with the annual nine-day event kicking off on Saturday and running through until Sunday 3 October.

It is the second time that the physical event has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in its place a virtual programme of activities, workshops, talks, tours and films has been developed.

Earlier in 2021 the organisers made the difficult decision to go online and sell tickets for a range of events as well as offer SWW membership which comes with exclusive access to a series of specially-commissioned films.

One of the organisers, Sandy Middleton, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to membership – it’s very heartening to see the support for SWW continue despite the challenges we’ve all experienced with Covid.

“Last year, we hosted a small virtual event with lots of fantastic, free content created by the Shetland fibre community which we shared on social media.

“This time we decided to develop this model and invest in a series of films which provide a more detailed glimpse of elements of SWW as well as encourage our regular wool week tutors to run classes online.”

The result is over 100 ticket events with many contributors running a combination of live online classes or recorded talks with live Q&As.

The SWW film series is available to members and includes films on weaving, spinning, crofting, Shetland lace, Fair Isle knitting, natural yarn dyeing, rooing and much more.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to the programme, and stepped up to the challenge of trying something new – and genuinely sharing their skills and knowledge with an enthusiastic international following,” Middleton added.

“While virtual wool week is by no means a replacement for the physical event, we are delighted to be offering a broad programme which offers something to everyone.”

It is the second year as SWW patron for Wilma Malcolmson, who has been “amazing throughout, and dutifully done every interview, film, photo shoot or social media commentary – and of course she has also created some amazing patterns, including her two popular wool week hats, Katie’s Kep and Da Crofter’s Kep”.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years and we’re so appreciative of all that she has done. She will be a tough act to follow!”

Memberships to the 2021 Shetland Wool Week are still available to buy online.