‘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  This term is now outdated and mostly unused bar for a select few manufacturers who seek to exploit it.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

Haroldswick, Norwick and Tangwick…

Continuing from our Lerwick blog post, looking at the namesake of some of our attractive Real Shetland Wool Heritage Throws, we have three more throw designs which we thought you may like to learn about; Haroldswick, Norwick and Tangwick.

 

The Heritage Collection of throws is made using Jamieson & Smith’s exclusive Heritage yarn collection; a soft yet strong Worsted spun yarn, developed to recreate traditional Worsted yarns found in the Shetland Museum’s archives.  Keeping in touch with the Heritage theme, the throw range boasts the best of Shetland and Yorkshire textile tradition with both yarn and throws being developed and produced between the two locations; a truly British product.

 

We have already discussed the origins of ‘wick’ in Old Norse (referring to the shape of the bay), with all our throws being named after a stunning Shetland bay.  Here’s some more information about these three Shetland locations, should you ever wish to visit.

Norwick and Haroldswick are located on the Island of Unst, towards the North-East of Shetland, whereas Tangwick is to the North-West, still classed as part of the mainland, in Northmavine.

Haroldswick was given its name from the Viking King Harald, and is supposedly the first landing point of the Vikings on Shetland, also home to the most northerly church in Britain.  Norwick is a very pretty little bay, partly pebble and partly sandy, frequently visited by wildlife photographers and artists.

haroldswick
A stunning bay at Haroldswick, Shetland
norwick bay
Another pretty bay found at Norwick, Shetland

 

Northmavine, home to Tangwick, is almost an Island in its own right, joined to Mainland Shetland by Maivis Grind, ‘The Gate on the Narrow Isthmus.’  Home to Tangwick Haa Museum, originally built as a private residence by the Cheyne family in the late 1600’s, Tangwick (Northmavine) is the most northerly parish of mainland Shetland.  With rugged coastline and rolling hills (some of the highest in Shetland), Northmavine is one of the more picturesque corners of Shetland.

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All products made by The Real Shetland Company use only Real Shetland Wool; wool sourced exclusively from the Shetland Islands.  We design, develop and manufacture our products in the UK and are firm supporters of British Textiles.

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo
Remember, if you don’t see the Real Shetland 3 Sheep logo then it probably isn’t Real Shetland Wool!

 

You can find more information on Real Shetland products at the official Real Shetland Company website (here) and all products are available to buy from Adam Curtis Online.

If you would like to contact us directly, please either use the contact form (here) or using the information from the contact pages on one of the aforementioned websites.

Real Shetland Cushions

Real Shetland Cushions

Part of the ‘Natural Collection’ by The Real Shetland Company, the ‘Natural Cushion’ range replicated three of our best-selling throw designs in cushion form; Kingland, Hoga and Eswick.  Available now at £24.99 inc P&P (UK only) from www.adamcurtisonline.co.uk

 

Shetland Cushion by Real Shetland
Real Shetland Wool Cushions.  From left to right; Hoga, Eswick & Kingland sat upon RS Sheepskins and throws.

 

Each of the cushions are approximately 14” from corner to corner, with an outer case woollen woven in a substantial Real Shetland Wool 2ply yarn for a rugged, practical handle.  Real Shetland Wool being wool sourced exclusively from the Shetland Islands.

 

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Inside the cushion there is a 100% fire-rated cotton inner pad which contains a generous amount of pure Real Shetland Wool cushion filling.

 

2014 Throws trio
Real Shetland’s cushion range compliments their Natural Throw range perfectly.  From left to right; Kingland, Eswick and Mousa.

The Natural Cushion range compliments the other products in the Natural Collection, woven using undyed Real Shetland Wool yarn (see the throw collection here).

 

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The range has been woven, hand stitched and filled entirely in the UK – as with all Real Shetland Company products, nothing is sent outside of the UK for production or packing.

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo

If you would like to know more about the cushion range, please contact Adam directly via the contact form, The Real Shetland Company website or via Adam Curtis Online.

‘Lerwick’ Heritage Throw

Our new Real Shetland Wool throw range, The Heritage Collection (available here) consists of 17 traditional designs using Jamieson & Smith’s lovely Heritage Real Shetland Wool yarn.

IMG_2189
We make our Heritage throws in Yorkshire, combining the textile traditions of Shetland and Yorkshire.

Each of our throws has been named after a location in Shetland and we thought we would tell you a little about the some of the throws and their namesakes.  In this instance, the throw pictured is called ‘Lerwick’, Shetland’s Capital.  The name ‘Lerwick’ stems from Old Norse, which means ‘bay of clay’ with ‘wick’ referring to the shape of the bay.

#15 RSCJE throw
Each throw is approximately 56 x 59″ and comes with a limited edition ‘Crofter’s Card’, a Crofter being a person who farms sheep.  Our Crofter’s Cards are hand-signed by a Shetland Crofter.

Lerwick is Britain’s most northern town and Shetland’s only, with half of the population living within 10miles.

shetland-lerwick-harbour

It is also home to Jamieson and Smith, Shetland Wool Brokers, who take in the vast majority of all wool grown in Shetland each year, also known as the ‘wool clip.’  The wool clip that comes into the Wool Brokers’ is bought by Curtis Wool, Jamieson & Smith’s parent company, and then sent down to the mainland for wool processing.  This is the same wool that goes into our Real Shetland Wool products.

Shetland map x

If you ever travel to Shetland from the mainland by sea, then you’re more than likely to call into Lerwick, Shetland’s main port.  While you’re there be sure to pay a visit to Jamieson and Smith, if you’re lucky you may get chance to join a tour of their wool shed and learn more about our lovely Real Shetland Wool.

Real Shetland Wool 3 Sheep logo
Remember, if you don’t see the Real Shetland 3 Sheep logo then it probably isn’t Real Shetland Wool!

If you would like to know more about our throws, please use our contact form or visit our new retail website www.adamcurtisonline.co.uk