Month: September 2016

What our readers say


Here’s some recent reader feedback:

I’ve not read Shetland Life for some time and got the January edition today. I really enjoyed the mix of articles and the contemporary feel. I think it’s much better, so felt like emailing to say this.”

Margaret Rose Simpson

…I have decided to take out a digital subscription. Delighted I did. Congratulations to all involved…I love all I have read so far! So simple to sort out too!”

Alison Stringer (Northern Ireland)

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you.

Beer o’clock!


Due to popular demand, Alex Garrick-Wright has returned with a review of locally available beers from Beervana.

If you’re looking for a different tipple this Friday night, why not read Alex’s review (with accompanying fashion suggestions), and then head along to your local beer emporium and see if you agree with his verdict?




Casting on

It’s almost time for Shetland Wool Week. Towards the end of this month, Shetland will welcome hundreds of visitors from all over the world, instantly recognisable as festival goers by their colourful woollen attire and jaunty toories.


In Niela Nell’s studio

I have often wondered about the extent to which our textile artists are inspired by the textures and colours of the Shetland landscape. Surely peaty hills, fields of wispy bog blanket and beach finds must feed their creativity? In this issue we speak to Niela Nell, Margaret Johnson and Izabela Delnicka about their sources of inspiration.


One of Margaret Johnson’s works in progress

Our featured photographer, Emma Dawn Coote, takes us on a photographic tour of Jamieson’s of Shetland (Incidentally, Emma also persuaded our cover star into the jumper she is modelling on the front page: the work of a Shetland Life featured photographer is never dull).


At Jamieson’s Spinning Mill

Damselfly Days

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Make the most of last few sunny summer days with Helen Robertson’s speedcrafting project.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a damselfly in Shetland. The brightness and vivid colour of its abdomen was like nothing else I’d seen in Shetland. Here’s a damselfly you can make to brighten up your garden.


  • Wire (around 0.9mm thick). Any pliable wire will do. I used coloured copper
  • Lighter wire (0.6mm)
  • Lace curtain
  • Glue
  • Assorted beads and buttons
  • Dowel rod (around 50cm)


  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Method

To make the wings:

  • Cut 4 lengths of wire around 25cm long.
  • Gently fold the wire in half. Holding it around 5cm up the double stem, twist the ends together a couple of times (at the 5cm point).
  • Shape each piece into a dragonfly/damselfly wing shape.
  • Make 3 further wings.
  • Cut a piece of lace curtain twice the size of each wing.
  • Lay each wing on top of the lace curtain piece, glue around the wire outline and fold the curtain over. Press until it sticks.
  • When dry, cut around the edge of the wings.

To make the head:

  • Cut a length of the 0.9mm wire around 50cm long.
  • Thread through a button and fix it in the middle of the piece of wire by either threading through the button holes or the back (depending on the style of your buttons).
  • Thread a big bead in the middle of the two buttons.
  • Take the wire into the middle of the centre bead and pull it tightly.

To make the body and abdomen:

  • Form the body by threading one of the wires through a big bead and letting the other wire cling to the side of the same bead. Twist the end a couple of times to fix.
  • Next, take each wing and twist the ends of the wing around the middle wires.
  • Attach all the wings in this way.
  • Now cut a 50cm length of the lighter wire and attach beads down the length of the abdomen by twisting each one individually around the centre wires. The damselfly abdomen is made up from 10 segments but you can decide how many ‘segments’ you would like to make using the beads.
  • When you’re happy with the length of the abdomen, finish by cutting the ends of the wire and curling them in.
  • Thread another 10 cm length of the thinner wire and use to fasten the damselfly to the dowel rod.

Stick it in your garden and enjoy!