‘Know Real Shetland’ by the Real Shetland Company

Featured‘Know Real Shetland’ by the Real Shetland Company

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of The Real Shetland Company and we have come a very long way since we first started trading.

The Real Shetland CompanyThe company was originally formed to create, market and promote a distinguishable brand for wool sourced exclusively from Shetland, Real Shetland Wool (RSW).  At the time, there were many impostor products that used the term ‘Shetland’ in goods that mostly contained cheap foreign wools or synthetic fibres.

 

Over the following 10 years, working closely with our partners on Shetland, Jamieson and Smith (J&S, the home of RSW) and their parent company, Curtis Wool, we succeeded in defining our brand which is now recognised and highly sought after, all over the world.

It is with great sadness that now in 2018, we see a re-emergence of those imposter products, desperate to latch onto the heritage and quality of genuine RSW.

The Shetland ‘Type’

Unbeknown to many, there is a technical loophole that exists from a time when ‘Shetland’ referred to a quality of yarn or finished product.  This term is now outdated and mostly unused bar for a select few manufacturers who seek to exploit it.

Shetland Definition - Trading Standards
Shetland Definition courtesy of Trading Standards (UK)

In our opinion, the correct description of a non-Shetland wool product choosing to use the Shetland name should be clearly marked as ‘Shetland Type’ but for malicious purposes, these ‘type’ products are often simply marketed as ‘Shetland’.

We cannot mention any specific manufacturers, suppliers or retailers but we can inform and educate our customers as to the difference between our products as well as share a little of the Shetland Story behind our brand.

The simple truth is that even these ‘type’ products must properly describe their wool content so we ask that whenever seeking a genuine RSW throw, cushion, carpet or similar, you take a moment to check the wool content.  Most ‘Shetland Type’ goods are made using Australian Merino or NZ lambs wool.

The manufacturers who use this loophole are actively harming the Shetland crofting community who we have tried so hard to support.

The Shetland Story

The heritage of Real Shetland Wool dates back to the Vikings, who are believed to have brought Norwegian sheep to the Islands which were then bred with local sheep.  The Shetland Islands were the ideal landing point for early Viking settlers and a perfect environment for raising sheep, who thrive on the land.

Shetland Sheep
Sheep enjoying the luscious Shetland countryside

With grassy hills, kelp laden beaches and a contrasting climate specific to Shetland, the sheep living here grow a unique fleece, both springy and crinkly.  Today, the eco-system is much the same but the Viking farmers have descended into who we now refer to as crofters.  The Shetland crofting community continue to care for their sheep in much a similar manner but with the added benefit of modern day animal husbandry techniques to maintain their health.

Given the unique characteristics of Real Shetland Wool, demand for the fibre remained constant until imposter products started to flood the market.

Through J&S, Curtis Wool sought to support this important crofting community by offering a stable and generous price for their wool, shortly after, the RSC was formed.

J&S buy the vast majority of all wool grown in Shetland and deal direct with over 700 Shetland crofters, maintaining the commitment to buy wool at a price well above that of their mainland counterparts.

With there only being a relatively small amount of wool produced on Shetland, the balance of the annual Shetland wool clip tends to remain on the Islands.  The RSC and our partners are the only businesses with access to enough RSW with which to offer a diverse range of genuine RSW products.  Buying RSW products, helps our network support the Shetland wool industry.

The Future for Real Shetland Wool

Here at the RSC, we feel that the argument for the ‘Shetland Type’ terminology is a dishonest and misleading tactic that damages the good reputation we have forged for wool sourced from Shetland.  Unfortunately, as long as this loophole exists, there is little we can do about it other than educate the public.

Sadly, even some customers of the manufacturers exploiting this loophole believe their products to be RSW when in fact it is not.  Whether this is them turning a blind eye or that they’ve been purposely mislead by their supplier, we can’t be sure.

We see the future in a positive light, providing we can continue to get this message across.  With there now being a ‘origin’ wool test that can identify the origins of a fibre, we hope that we can challenge the imposters and once again defend RSW.

All we can ask of you is to seek out Real Shetland Wool and enjoy all the benefits of our fibre that these impostors are trying so hard to imitate.  Remember, RSW is easily identified by the Three Sheep logo; if you don’t see the Three Sheep, it probably isn’t Real Shetland Wool.

rsc logo blank
The Three Sheep logo – used by suppliers of genuine RSW

Friends of Real Shetland Wool

The Real Shetland Company is not the only manufacturer of genuine RSW products.  We do have the most varied range of RSW goods, ranging from throws, bedding, carpets and more (now available through www.adamcurtisonline.co.uk) but it would be wrong not to mention some of our fellow supporters and their high-quality products.

Jamieson and Smith are the home of Real Shetland Wool and have a stunning array of hand knitting yarns, wool top, garments and more.  Located in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, J&S is where Martin Curtis set the foundations for Shetland Wool Week.  We are proud to have worked with them for so many years.

Oliver Henry of Jamieson and Smith during Shetland Wool Week
Oliver Henry at Jamieson and Smith giving one of very popular wool talks about Real Shetland Wool and what he looks for in a good fleece

Vispring are one of the UK’s most prestigious bed manufacturers and huge supporters of the Shetland wool industry.  Their commitment to the RSW brand has been paramount in enabling our partners maintain fair prices for the Shetland wool clip.

Vispring Shetland Superb
Shetland Superb mattress by Vispring – made with Platinum Certified RSW

Dries Van Noten, the acclaimed fashion designer has taken a special interest in RSW and used it alongside the J&S branding in a range of clothing seen on catwalks and in the music world.

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Thank You

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support.  The last 10 years have been filled with ups and downs but we would never have made it this far without our wonderful customers who have helped us conduct our business and develop our brand.  We look forward to serving you and defending RSW long into the future.

ACO Note:

For those of you who are unaware, The Real Shetland Company Ltd and Adam Curtis Online are part of the same family business network.  Together we strive to support British textiles and promote eco-friendly wool products.

ACO 2018

The Real Shetland Company

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Real Shetland Wool Duvets & Pillows

Real Shetland Wool Duvets & Pillows

Slumber in Style

 

ACO are proud to launch the latest range of Real Shetland Wool bedding, produced in conjunction with The Real Shetland Company.  Following on from the original RSW duvet collection released in 2015, we have updated our design and fill process to make a lighter, warmer and more effective duvet and pillow range.

The Real Shetland Company pillow and duvet range are available now from the ACO website.

 

British wool bedding
Real Shetland Wool pillows and duvets

 

We regard our duvets to be an all-seasons quality product, filled to 450gsm of Platinum Graded Real Shetland (British) Wool, available in UK Single, Double and King sizes.  With the added benefit of a pure 220 Thread Count cotton outer casing, our duvets offer excellent breathability.  Our pillows are made in soft and firm weights in two sizes, standard UK pillow size (50 x 75cm) and Super King size (50 x 90cm).  The pillows are also 100% RSW filling inside a 220TC cotton outer casing.  The cotton used for all bedding is exactly the same and therefore colour matches.

 

Super King wool pillows
Super King Real Shetland Wool pillows

 

So, why choose wool?  Wool duvets and pillows are becoming very popular as they’re not only animal friendly (wool is a sustainable resource with no harm coming to the sheep when sheared) but an entirely natural product.

Wool is also breathable which means the body can regulate its own temperature during the night promoting deeper, sounder sleep.  Along with this benefit comes wool’s wicking ability; wool actively draws moisture away from the body which then evaporates, again, allowing for a more comfortable sleep.

Wool bedding is also an excellent option for those with allergies or asthma as wool is naturally resistant to dust mites as well as being safe for those who may react badly to down and feather.

The best way to enhance these ‘abilities’ is to hang your duvet to air every so often in order to allow the natural fibre to release any trapped particles.  This has always been the best way to care for non-soiled woollen products.

There are lots of other benefits of wool bedding, most of which have been summed up by the Wool Carpet Focus Group’s ‘Woolabilities’ videos.  You can learn more about these on the WCFG website ‘here’.

 

Our duvets and pillows are made in the UK using Real Shetland Wool, wool that is sourced exclusively from the Shetland Islands.  We make every effort to ensure that our products are as natural as possible so we do not denature our wool or add any nasty chemicals.  As such, please note that there may be a natural wool smell to our duvets and pillows.  A gentle airing will see this smell reduce.  All production is to the highest of standards with our wool being processed in the most Eco-friendly and efficient scouring plant of its type, in the world.

 

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo

ACO Christmas Gift Guide

ACO Christmas Gift Guide

The festive season is upon us once again and with the clock counting down towards the big day, we thought you may appreciate some Christmas gift ideas for your family and friends.

The following products are available from our website and include free UK P&P.  All our products are made in the UK and we do ship internationally (please contact us for international shipping options).

British Wool Throws and Cushions £50.00 – £90.00

 

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Best of British Collection (£65.00) – The Best of British collection features three undyed, natural coloured designs, made using specially selected British wool.

Real Shetland Heritage Collection (90.00) – The Real Shetland Co. Heritage throws are made using only Real Shetland Wool, wool sourced exclusively from the Shetland Islands.  This range was developed with some of the UK’s top designers and features 16 coloured designs.

Real Shetland Natural Collection (£60.00) – From The Real Shetland Co, this range features undyed pure Real Shetland Wool in all its natural glory.  Striking natural shades in traditional designs, some of which were released by Shetland’s original Tweed manufacturer, T.M.Adie.

Real Shetland Natural Cushion Collection (£50.00) – A long running favourite of The Real Shetland Co.  100% Real Shetland Wool woven outer casing and filling with 100% cotton inner casing.  Perfect for just about any sofa or arm chair.

Wool Rugs and Sheepskins £65.00 – £210.00

 

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Real Shetland Wool Sheepskins (£65.00) – As with all our RSW (Real Shetland Wool), these sheepskins are sourced exclusively from the Shetland Islands.  All a generous size and in natural white, we don’t bleach our sheepskins.  Very soft and hugely popular all year round!  Tanned in the UK to the highest of standards and a perfect addition to all home settings.

British Wool Coloured Sheepskins (£75.00) – Prepared in the UK to the same high standards as our RSW sheepskins, our British Wool sheepskin rugs offer a stunning mix of natural browns that really are unique.  Very soft and generously sized.  Please note, no two natural sheepskins are ever identical so colour and shape do differ slightly between sheepskins.

Real Shetland Floor Rugs (£210.00) – Two stripey styles in the delectable natural RSW colours.  3ft x 5ft in size.  Woven with 100% undyed RSW and a natural jute backing.  The pile weight is 60oz/yd2 which offers a great feel underfoot.

Cashmere Throws, Stoles and Scarves £80.00 – £350.00

 

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Our cashmere products are all made in the UK, developed by some of the UK’s most talented designers.  Attractive styles and various sizes, our cashmere range has something for everyone.  Please see our cashmere page for more information.

Cashmere Scarves £80.00

Cashmere Stoles £156.00

Cashmere Throws £198.00 – £350.00

Real Shetland Sheepskin Beanbags £490.00 – £750.00

 

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Real Shetland Wool Beanbag (£750.00) – Lovingly handmade in the UK using our natural white RSW sheepskins.  Features leather base with zip opening for refilling.  Ridiculously comfortable and amazing to snuggle down into.

Real Shetland Wool Pouf (£490.00) – A scaled down version of the large beanbag, handmade in the UK with the same care and attention to detail and of course, our RSW sheepskins.  An ideal companion to the large beanbag or perfect for children.

Hand Knitting Yarns £3.20 – £7.50

 

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For the discerning hand knitter in your life, we have a lovely selection of very special British Wool and Real Shetland knitting yarns to offer.  All our yarns were made in the UK – spun in Yorkshire.

We offer free shipping on yarn orders over £15.00 – below that and there’s a £3.50 shipping charge to UK addresses.

ACO Real Shetland Wool Shrink-Resist Worsted Aran (£6.50/100g hank) – Originally developed by The Real Shetland Company, this worsted yarn has been specially treated so that it’s machine washable.  Available in natural white (or ‘ecru’), this Aran weight yarn has a wonderful handle and is suitable for hand-dying, taking colour very well.  Available on hank which makes dying much easier.

British Wool Worsted 2-ply (4ply lace weight) £3.20/25g ball

British Wool Worsted Aran £4.00/50g ball

British Wool Worsted Chunky £7.50/100g ball

 

Thank you for reading our 2017 Christmas Gift Guide.  If you have any questions regarding any of our products, please feel free to contact the team either through our WordPress contact form (here) or via the ‘Contact Us’ page on the ACO website (here).

Just to make your Christmas shopping that little bit kinder on the wallet, we’re offering a 10% discount from your first order by signing up to our mailing list (bottom left of the page).

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

ACO

ACOReal Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo

And the winner is…

And the winner is…

In January 2017 we held a competition for a Real Shetland Company cushion and throw set (worth £150).  The response was excellent with thousands of entries from all over the world.

One lucky winner was selected at random.

And the winner is… Helen Billings, USA.

Helen Billings ACO competition winner

Helen chose our Real Shetland Kingland cushions and throw to make up her set, all of which are currently available to buy from our website.

Adam Curtis Online would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and for signing up to our mailing list.  If you haven’t already signed up for our newsletters, you can do so via our website to receive a 10% discount voucher (redeemable against any website purchase).

More competitions are coming so do keep an eye out for newsletters and announcements on social media.

You may follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

ACO

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logoACO

Jamieson & Smith @ Woolfest 23-24 June 2017

Jamieson & Smith @ Woolfest 23-24 June 2017

Jamieson & Smith, The Shetland Wool Brokers, are making a long-awaited return to the brilliant Woolfest, the original British Wool festival which is held annually in Cockermouth, Cumbria.

woolfest cumbria

Shetland Wool Brokers

Set up by members of The Wool Clip, a Cumbrian wool co-operative, the event showcases the best of wool and wool crafts with many visitors attending from all over the world.  Entry on the door is just £10 (or £15 for a two day ticket), including parking and programme.  Children accompanied by adults are free to enter.

Jamieson and Smith last attended the event 10 years ago but are returning in 2017 armed with a dazzling array of yarns, knitting accessories, Real Shetland wool top, kits and books.

Visitors to the J&S stand (located in aisle J on stands J197 and 242) will be able to see every shade of their 2ply Jumper Weight yarn range in a stunning new show display.

Jamieson and Smith yarn display

J&S’s Kharis and Ella (guest patron of 2016’s Shetland Wool Week) will be on the stand to assist visitors with all their knitting needs – if you have any questions for all things Shetland, they are the perfect people to speak to.  You can hear more about their preparations and post-event updates via the J&S blog.

One special offer to take advantage of is FREE shipping on any orders taken during the show – with the wide selection of knitting goods J&S currently offer, they can’t bring everything with them.

If you would like to hear more from J&S, you can contact them directly via their website or by phone on 01595 693579.

You can also follow their blog or Twitter profile @Jamieson_Smith.

By Adam Curtis, Adam Curtis Online.

ACO

 

Vispring & Jamieson & Smith’s Flock Book Open Day – ‘Meet the Crofters’

Vispring & Jamieson & Smith’s Flock Book Open Day – ‘Meet the Crofters’

We all know that the sheep which grow our world famous Real Shetland Wool are very special but they can only do so much by themselves.  For Shetland Wool Week 2017, Jamieson and Smith and Vispring would like to offer you the chance to meet some of the devoted people who care for those sheep at Eric Graham’s Gremista Farm on Saturday 30th September.

Wool Week

The Vispring and J&S Flock Book Open Day brings you the opportunity to meet some of Shetland’s crofting community and Real Shetland Sheep as well as hear talks from J&S’s wool specialist, Oliver Henry.  Oliver will be demonstrating both what he looks for in wool ‘on the hoof’ and the raw fleece, this is a great opportunity to see Shetland Sheep in their real environment and will give an idea of the importance of the breed.

Event highlights:

  • Visit a real Shetland croft, courtesy of Eric Graham
  • Meet & speak to Shetland crofters and farmers
  • Mingle with actual Flock Book Shetland Sheep
  • Hear talks from J&S’s Oliver Henry on Real Shetland Wool and grading
  • Enjoy a lamb spit roast and refreshments
  • Learn more about Vispring, one of the Shetland wool industry’s biggest supporters
  • Event opens at 10.30am, running into the afternoon
  • Transport to/from venue from J&S shop, Lerwick (see the map below)

J&S Lerwick map

The event will run from 10am into the afternoon and (at the time of writing) tickets are available now from the Shetland Wool Week box office.  Some information can be found on the Shetland Wool Week website or you can contact J&S directly, either via their contact page or phone number: 01595 693579

Oliver Henry J&S Shetland Wool Week
Oliver Henry at Jamieson & Smith giving one of his very popular wool talks about Real Shetland Wool and what he looks for in a good fleece

 

Crofters, Jamieson & Smith and Vispring…

The Shetland crofter, or farmer as we more commonly know them on the mainland, has excellent animal husbandry skills and works all year round maintaining and caring for their flock which are often spread across many acres of stunning Shetland countryside.

Shetland Croft

Once a year they shear their sheep and gather the wool, before bringing it into the J&S wool store to be weighed and sold.  J&S buy the vast majority of all wool grown in Shetland and have one-on-one dealings with most of Shetland’s crofting community.

Shetland Sheep

Once J&S take in the wool, the experienced team hand sorts and grades it before pressing into bales for sending down to Haworth Scouring Ltd, in Bradford.  Haworth is the most environmentally friendly scour of its type in the world so there is no better place to send Real Shetland Wool.

Haworth Scouring Scour
Haworth Scouring Ltd, Bradford

Vispring, the UK’s premiere bed manufacturer, recognised the superb quality of Real Shetland Wool and fell in love with the Island’s crofting heritage.  Realising the fibre’s potential, Vispring began purchasing large quantities of Real Shetland Wool to use in their prestigious bed ranges.

Vispring Magnificence

In recent years, Vispring have supported the crofting community through J&S, by sponsoring competitions and various Shetland Wool Week events.  These include the Flock Book, Wool on the Hoof competition and the very popular, Vispring Fleece competition.

The Real Shetland Company & Adam Curtis Online will be at the event, showing support to J&S and Vispring.  We look forward to seeing you there!

By ACO & Real Shetland.

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo

Spinzilla 2017 – Preparations Underway

Spinzilla 2017 – Preparations Underway

Spinzilla is a global event where teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn in a week

The Great British team (Team Hand Spinning News – 2016) competing with hand spinners from around the world will have an extra advantage up their knitted sleeves this year!

They have hand spun miles and miles of Real Shetland wool tops into amazing yarns at previous Spinzillas but this year they have selected the very special Superfine Real Shetland wool top to spin with!

Real Shetland Wool superfine top

The wool was of course grown in the Shetland Islands and has been sorted by hand by Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick.  From there it went to Haworth Scouring Company in Bradford where it underwent the most environmentally friendly Scouring process of its type in the world.  Then on to combing, the other side of the driveway to the scouring plant so no wasted Airmiles there!

Spinzilla image edit 01

Haworth Scouring and Combing are part of the Curtis Wool Direct Ltd group of companies and produced this wonderful top with the best environmental credentials possible.  ENco Certified, our world class hand spinners will go into competition armed with the very best Top for the job.

We at Adam Curtis Online, The Real Shetland Company and Curtis, Curtis & Sons wish the team well and hope you will all give the GB Spinzilla team a lot of support.  Watch out for social media updates via @curtthesheep + @ACurtisOnline + @realshetland among others.

You can follow Shiela Dixon, part of the GB Spinzilla team and by her brilliant Hand Spinning News blog or on Twitter (here).

By Martin Curtis, from ACO & The Wool Carpet Focus Group.

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