The business was started by Robert Jamieson in Sandness, on the far west coast of the Shetland Isles in the early 1890s. From his shop, he bought or exchanged knitwear from the local crofters for goods. The knitted goods were then sold on to meet the public demand for fashionable Shetland hosiery beyond the island’s shores.
Over the next century, each generation of Jamieson brought their own skills and ideas to develop and progress the business. Andrew (Robert’s son) became one of the island’s first wool brokers, buying the raw wool clip from the crofters and shipping it to Scotland’s mainland for processing. At the time, Shetland wool was believed to be too fragile to be spun on industrial machinery so it was blended with wool from coarser breeds. The very best blend of ‘Shetland’ yarn produced was only about 60% pure. This blended yarn never fulfilled the family’s dream of 100% pure Shetland knitwear; grown, spun and knitted in the Shetland Isles.
Chasing the life-long dream, Bertie (Andrew’s son), and his son Peter began to experiment with the spinning of pure Shetland yarn. Their efforts were successful and 100% pure Shetland yarn was produced in 1978 to the delight of the family.
In 1981, they opened Jamieson’s Spinning, Shetland’s only commercial woolen mill. This unique mill, built in Sandness, completes all the stages of yarn production under one roof. This includes grading, scouring and dyeing fleece before colour blending, carding, spinning, twisting and balling to produce their 100% pure Shetland yarn.
With the business now moving into its fifth generation, Peter, and his son Garry, continue to develop and promote their prized unique Shetland products.