visits and exhibitions

I am very lucky that I get to do things that I know other people would love to do, I am a trustee of the Shetland Textile Museum and this year along with another trustee Cushla, who also works at the ‘big’ Museum I visited the archives of the Shetland Museum. The purpose of the visit was to see if there was anything we wanted to borrow for the Textile Museums exhibition this year. Somehow.. I am organising what is going into the exhibition.. ordinarily this would terrify me (it still does a peerie bit..) but after choosing a lot of the items and having (I think) a strong reference point I’m not nearly as unsure as I was.


When I was at the Shetland College in 2nd year I chose to do my knit unit about the Oil Boom era in Shetland in the late 1970′s and 80′s. The photo above was one of my starting points, my Mam went to the Janet Courtney Hostel in Lerwick when she attended the Anderson High. My favourite thing is all the Ganseys and again this has been one of my starting points for the exhibition which we have decided to call ‘oil/knitting: shetland knitting in the oil boom’ Anyone who reads my blog knows I love this era, which is evident in the amount of times i’ve mentioned this book.. I think it is such an appropriate link since Shetland is currently going through another Oil Boom of such with the building of the Gas Plant at Sullom Voe. I was lucky to find someone with some great colour (the only thing missing from the Tom Kidd book) pictures from the time in my project at college and Douglas has gracefully allowed me to use his photos again in this exhibition.

photo credit: Douglas Young

photo credit: Douglas Young

ANYWAY! so me and Cushla visited the store on Monday. Since the Textile Museum is an accredited UK museum we are able to borrow pieces from other museums. I think I have a good selection from the Bod collection but there were some gaps! I took some pictures of the things we looked at, I didn’t choose them all because although from the era some didn’t give the vibe I’m going for, in the 70s and 80s there was quite a 70′s/80′s does 40′s thing happening along with the kind of thing I’m looking, which I have seen myself in my vintage clothes buying (shock, horror, not) so a bit too vintage looking but I still think it’s all interesting to see what was being made in Shetland at that time.

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The exhibition at the Bod opens on the 15th of May, Ill be sure to take some pictures and show you what else I chose from the collections.

Speak Soon. x

thinking lang

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last blog, I’m forever taking pictures and doing nothing with them so.. I thought I’d share more of my photos of Shetland. Some of these might have feautured in other blogs but I hope that’s ok.

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Shetland was blessed with lots of sunshine this week, in fact apparently Shetland was the sunniest place in the UK on Wednesday!!20140329-200016.jpg


 I wasn’t working Thursday and Friday but I woke up to grey sky’s both those days. The photos above were taken on my phone when I got the chance through the week. After I did what I had to do on Thursday I was leaving my sisters and the sun had come out again. Instead of walking home my usual way I decided to take the long way and walk up and around both Knabs.



I had some sad news at the beginning of this week so it was nice to just sit and think about things, I could listen to the sea forever!

Today began another grey day but by teatime it had brightened up and I went for another walk.. along the same path!




I’m very lucky that this view is a five minute walk from my house, When it is nice weather I really love Shetland.

And the clocks go forward tonight!, Yippee, more daylight!!


puffin cardigan


I’m sorry its been a bit quiet around here, I have had a busy couple of weeks with nothing much exciting to report EXCEPT what I’m about to show you. I have another finished jumper to show, this is my version of the Puffin Sweater by Kate Davies, but I chose to make it in natural shades of Shetland Wool and into a Cardigan.

IMG_1919The first time I met Kate was when she was up in Shetland taking photos for her book Colours of Shetland and she took in the original Puffin Sweater to show us at Jamieson & Smith. I hadn’t been working there very long and although I was doing machine knitting at college my hand knitting skills were pretty non-existent… but when I saw that jumper I fell in love. At Wool Week in 2012 at the Trunk Show Kate held at J&S with the pieces from the book I couldn’t help fondling the jumper longingly and trying it on, Kate told me I could definitely make it. I smiled and nodded but thought.. no way.. because the construction looked quite complicated to me at the time. Its really very cleverly written and once you get the pattern into your head it actually makes for very easy knitting.

Puffin 2

A bit later on, about this time last year, my skills were getting better and probably bolstered by Sandra that I work with (who can knit anything) I deceided I would make it!! But me being me, I thought, ill make it into a cardigan.. then.. ill also do it in natural colours! I love the original colours and would still love a jumper in them. I cant remember now where i got the idea from, Isnt that terrible? But I also deceided that I would make the body and sleeves on my knitting machine. So in one day last year, I did the whole lot.. in one day! There really is no excuse as to why I’m finishing it now.. but i made a mistake when picking up the yoke which i ignored for a while.. until October last year when I ripped all that out.



I chose to use Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, which is beautiful wool to work with, as its totally undyed the wool has a very nice bouncy feeling to it and when its washed it settles really nicely. I did a lot of swatching for the yoke colours and I’m glad I did, as a result I’m very pleased with my blending..Through my swatching I couldn’t get to the seven shades I needed so I ended up using six, but I think they look really good together, I went for Shetland Black shade 2005 as my main shade with 2009,2003,2008,2006 and 2001 being my contrast shades. So in just under a week and a half I have done the yoke and finished my cardigan, I am so happy with it. I think Kates recent blog about all the Puffins people have made gave me the kick up the bum to finish it off, I will say though, I do become rather efficient when I’m nearly finished something.. It can just take me a while to get to that point, but I’m sure knitter everywhere understand that.


As usual Kate’s pattern writing is so easy to follow and well written, I often pull my sleeves up so I went for three quarter length sleeves and it was very easy to turn it into a cardigan. I made the fronts flat on the machine and when i was picking the seperate pieces for the yoke I casted on 10 extra stitches for the steek, I did all my colour changing in the middle of those stitches so when I sewed up either side of the steek and separated the front all the ends were cut away!



I have recently aquired a chunky knitting machine (thanks ebay) so I’m hoping this will speed up my progress for all the icelandic style yokes I have planned, and plain knitted jumpers too, Really my knitting plans are never-ending.. but I currently have two on the needles that I think will be all hand-knitted.

The nights are getting lighter in Shetland but the weather has been pretty poor so I’ve not had any chance to take photos outside, hopefully that will change!

Happy Knitting x

mams jumper

IMG_1186This Jumper belongs to my Mam, she bought it in the 1980s in Lerwick. She found it again a few years ago at my Granny and Grandads house in Ollaberry, with my recent obsession I’m sure your not shocked that I took it out the cupboard…


It is made from Icelandic Wool very similar to Alafoss Lopi, and Mam says it was very expensive at the time, there were a couple of mouse nibbles which went through the front and the back so using Lett-lopi I had left over from my Strokkur I have mended the holes but there was one reason I couldn’t wear it. Unfortunately the neck was too high for me, the jumper isn’t too itchy through the body but since the neck was a bit high, I found it quite itchy on my neck. I had a look at the neck and it was turned over and stitched so I asked Mam if I could try and lower it a bit, and she said I could.


I just snipped the neck and unravelled the rib, the fibres were pretty well felted but once I got going it came out pretty good, I then picked it up and did a simple garter stitch collar then turned it down and stitched it. I liked the way that collar looked on my Strokkur and I feel it sits better away from my neck, then I washed it and boarded it to help settle the wool since it had been reknitted after over 30 years!


I wore it today and it was very cosy. I found these pictures of Mam wearing the jumper a while ago but looked them out last night, the pictures are dated 1982 so she was 18. The colours look a bit more muted and its felted especially over the yoke but since its over 30 years old its looking pretty good!


I promise this is the last mention of Icelandic knitting from me for a while, im sure your getting fed up (until I finish all my planned knits..) but this is a good one to finish on for now.


Speak soon



Do other knitters ever find themselves questioning what they are knitting? maybe I should get a life but when I keep getting inspired by a certain style I start to wonder why..

newest ebay acquisition

newest ebay acquisition

I am obsessed with Icelandic jumpers I find myself googleing them, ebaying them, pinning them on pinterest, buying the wool, casting them on... Its becoming a problem. Well, not really, but over the past couple of weeks I have done a lot of plain knitting (for the lopapeysas of course) and this leads to my mind wandering and I started thinking about why I am so inspired by them, I don’t just like Icelandic knitting I feel an affinity to it but how is that? I don’t know anyone from Iceland, nor have I ever been there but the more I look at pictures and read about it the stronger I feel, not just for the knitting but Iceland and for Scandinavia.. is it because at one time we were part of it? We are so close to it, or maybe after Up Helly Aa my Viking blood is flowing too strong?

Scandinavia Map circa 1800

Scandinavia Map circa 1800

sign outside the old Spar shop in Lerwick

sign outside the old Spar shop in Lerwick

I began to wonder if it had anything to do with the referendum that we are dealing with in Scotland at the moment. Its like I am being forced to make a decision over something I never thought would happen. To be honest its freaking me out! big time, every night the news is plastered with scare tactics from both sides as to why we should vote no or why we should vote yes.  It might sound strange but sometimes I struggle to feel involved, up here its hard (for me) to feel a connection to Scotland, let alone England sometimes. I never left Shetland to go to University and I have never been away from here for any length of time in my 23 years.. maybe that’s a bad thing, maybe not. But my interests have always kept me here. Where better to be a knitter than Shetland? But this has made me not a very wise of the world person. When people hear me speak do I sound Scottish? not to me.

my Iðunn currently on the needles

my Iðunn currently on the needles

I’m probably over thinking all of it but come September I’m going to be truly fed up of hearing about it and probably still wont know what to vote.. the more I force myself to read about it the more stressed I feel. Hence my affinity to Scandinavia.. i think ill run away and live on a farm somewhere in Iceland.

But then id miss Shetland too much. ill just stick to the knitting…


orange strokkur

I am a slow knitter.. faster than I was, but still pretty slow. I am also an easily distracted which is why I am showing you something I started back in October..


I love yoke jumpers.. of any description .. anything with plain sleeves and plain body and a fancy yoke. Yum. I love Icelandic yokes and when I saw the pattern for Strokkur by Ysolda which came out last year I knew I had to make it.. I even saw Ysolda wearing it at Wool Week last year which pushed me over the edge to order the wool.


I love the yellow used in the original jumper but one of my fave colour combos of all time is Grey and Orange.. I even used the proper wool called for in the pattern. I ordered the Lett Lopi from and I would definitely recommend them, everything is posted out really quickly.


To be fair, November and December were pretty busy for me, I had nearly got the body finished and when I picked it up again I couldnt wait to do the yoke so instead of knitting the sleeves and joining it up i provisionally cast on then once i’d done the yoke i picked them up and knit them top down.. worked a treat!


I got the jumper washed and on the board yesterday and today it was dry! Im really pleased with it. I found the Lopi quite hard on my hands and I think because of this i knitted it pretty tight! the more i got used to it though it seemed to get easier.



mmm.. orange and grey is lovely together.

I would have taken some pictures outside but Shetland has been in a month long rainy,windy,dull spell. Sigh, we can only hope for better from February!