my knitwear collection

collection

I have quite a large collection of knitwear (your so surprised..) some of which I’ve never mentioned on here before, and some of it certainly doesn’t warrant an entire post BUT I thought people might like to see and its also handy for me.. to keep an eye on what I already have.. before I go wandering over to ebay.. again.I have added most of my stranded knitwear but I still have all my Lace garments to add, If it proves popular I may add all my accessories too.. who knows. So if your interested in what kind of knitwear I have please hop on over here.

Speak soon xxx

hermaness hat

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oh hey there! so on this Saturday I have made good progess on my Hermaness Hat as unfortunately I have been struck down with an infection that’s making me feel truly rubbish.. BUT silver lining and all that means I can share my progress and also some more information about Gudruns beautiful book which me and my friend Vivian were lucky enough to model for..

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if you preorder the book you get the pattern for the Hermaness Hat as an instant download to tide you over til the book comes out, so as Gudrun started a little Knit-a-long I dutifully cast on. now.. many a time you can look at a hat pattern and think its nice but not be sure if it will look the same on your head as in the pictures.. but in this case. Its my head in the pictures so I know i like it.. I would be a lot further on if it wasn’t for my sisters wedding/hamefarin etc and if in my haste I hadn’t made a mistake that meant I had to rip out half a repeat (arrgh) none the less, good progress is being made and I would love to have it finished to show Gudrun when she arrives for Shetland Wool Week.

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I decided to stick with what I had modelled and make the slouchy version, Vivian is wearing the Beret version, both which are given in the pattern, I would love to try Brooklyn Tweed Loft which the samples were made in but as it is a 4ply I decided to go for my old faithful and use 2ply Jumper Weight – anyway we JUST got in new stock of FC39 which was a discontinued shade and I thought this was the perfect chance to try it out, it is a lovely bluey green marl and I cant wait to use it in some fair isle.. but I also think it is working beautifully with a simple lace pattern to show it off..

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Gudrun has told me that the book is being printed as i type and should be ready to ship October the 6th! Which is so exciting, you can still pre-order on Ravelry and as well as a printed copy that includes an ebook of the book too, I love all of the designs and me and Vivian had a great time modelling, she is currently away on a four week trip in the USA (me, jealous? never..) so I cant wait to show her when she gets back as I will have a copy by then! We will be selling ones in J&S at Wool Week as well as Gudrun having a Trunk Show for the collection.

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You can also view a lookbook for the collection here which gives you more information about each pattern and inspirations behind it, there are ten patterns in all ranging from a lace scarf up to and aran jumper and of course some lovely fair isle and lace, something for everyone and if I could I would knit them all.. I still might.. Oh and of course the photography is beautiful which was done by Kathy Cadigan.

Thanks Gudrun for asking me and Vivian to model, I cant wait to see the finished book!

Speak soon xxxxx

autumn is on its way

hello folks, so I have had a busy couple of weeks, thank you all for your lovely comments about my birthday yoke, on here and on instagram. its much appreciated as always. I had such a bad cold on my birthday that I had to leave work after an hour so only a few saw my yoke in person but don’t worry, its getting chilly so I’ll be wearing it again soon!

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the wonders of a good instagram filter..!

the day after my birthday and still dosed in the cold I went to Edinburgh for my Sisters wedding, we were just down for a few days (one whole extra day spent in the Edinburgh airport because of mist at Sumburgh.. groan) but it was great to get away and I do like Edinburgh

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on the royal mile, where we stayed

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Dad, Annie, Mam,Karl, Magnie,Marianne, Me and Peter

so on the very day of the wedding, after the meal and everything we had a bit of time so Me, Mam,Marianne and Annie went for a wander and I ended up at my favourite vintage shop W.Armstrongs in the Grassmarket.. and surprise, surprise your thinking (not) I found some Fair Isle knitwear!

IMG_3438 I found this great all over Fair Isle jumper for only £8! Its made in acrylic (bought wirsit we would call it) so not good for naked flames but great for machine washing. It has had a lot of washing in its time so it was very bobbly, but I bought one of those jumper shaver.. things and it has come great! I think the bobbles was why it was so cheap, it just needed a bit of TLC

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I am not one for choosing browns and peaches in my own knitting but I actually love the look of this, I have always like the look of these shaded patterns which are very common in fishing communities, you often see them on Burra and Whalsay men! I’m pretty sure this would have been made for a young boy but it fits me fine so I will wear it proudly!

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I haven’t found much time for hand knitting but last week I did my part for an exciting collaboration with my knitting designer pal Kate. Her book all about YOKES (hyperventilating.. you keen I love a good yoke!) is coming out soon and she wanted to include a machine knit body for a yoke so on my knitting machine I knit her the sleeves and body of a cardigan and she is going to hand knit a yoke. Just like how I did with both my Puffins and my Fair Isle Yoke. It is how almost all yokes were and are made in Shetland. Very exciting, so Im really looking forward to seeing that.

You might not hear much from me for the next peerie while, soon is Shetland Wool Week and where I work (Jamieson & Smith) will be FILLED with knitters day and night, I will be blogging everyday over on the J&S blog so keep an eye oot. Then I will be starting my build up for the Christmas Craft Fair (i should have started already but as usual, life has gotten in the way) unfortunately that means I wont be able to take on any Crofthouse commissions til after November. :(

(hopefully) speak soon xxx

birthday yoke

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if you read Kates blog you’ll know she was up in Shetland last week on a yoke mission for her new book, of course all that looking,talking and thinking about yokes gave me the urge to make one too.. (hello to all my new followers who have found me through Kate!) a peerie while ago now I bought a a very basic chunky knitting machine off ebay for about £80. (a zippy 90 to be exact!) It was during the height of my icelandic knitting faze and I had all these ideas about the bodies I could whip up for Icelandic yokes.. In short the machine needed a new sponge bar and even when I got one its just didn’t knit very smoothly, anyhoozels I put it away for when I had more time to work with it. Last week I had no time but somehow I decided to try out some of my Lopi stash on the machine and it worked great! so over two nights I knitted up the body of a Vormorgun vest, since it was sleeveless I thought I was a good quick thing to try.

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So.. 6 days later I have a finished yoke! I used the grey and orange left over from my Strokkur, and the yellow and light grey left over from Annie’s Loki. To try and combat the loose sleeves some people seem to have in the project pages on Ravelry I provisionally cast on the sleeves then when I was finished the body I went back and knit the edgings on a size smaller needles with a few decreases before the rib. My smugness is all totally premature as I haven’t even tried it on yet (update: tried it on before I posted this, fits great!) but it is currently drying, tomorrow is my birthday so I’m hoping to wear my birthday yoke! If i do ill put a picture on instagram which you can see on the right hand side —>

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perhaps the yoke reflects the fire from how many candles will be on my cake?.. haha

speak soon xx

knitting room

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When I am busy, tired and a bit stressed (don’t know why just now but I am..) I seem to lose all my creativity. I cant seem to fully formulate ideas and I just wander aimlessly from project to project but not getting anywhere with them! I am very lucky that when my sister moved out my Mam graciously let me take over Marianne’s bedroom as my knitting room. Every morning on my way out the door this past couple of weeks my stress hasn’t been helped when I looked in my knitting room. It had got a bit messy so yesterday in my afternoon off I did a lot of tidying.

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Sometimes I think the best way to get yourself motivated is to get everything back in order again, and get things back into their place. I’m quite pleased with my knitting room as it gives me a place to have everything that inspires me in one place. Its quite a small room but I have managed to pack it full with stuff. Mainly wool…

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But also I keep some of my treasured textile possessions.. like my large collection of books..

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I just bought a dressmakers dummy, which I now see I should have done long ago, but never mind. I have begun to get slightly interested in sewing.. (oh dear, I see another addiction coming on..) but until I start pinning things on it I have decided to put my favourite bits of Fair Isle on it. This Jumper was my Granny Noelle’s and when she died I was given it. I just love all the bright colours on the black background, she used to wear it a lot and always looked fabulous in it. As she did most things, anyway I have it there now to inspire me.

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Its also the perfect place for things like this rug which was made by my Great Granny. Its just a simple latch hook rug but I love all the colours. I’ve also been able to make use of some of the things I made at college, like this foot stool which goes nicely with my rug..

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and this picture, which I made as part of my final project (the bairns, not the kitten – i got that for 20p from a charity shop!) Of course my knitting machine takes up the most room. I have it on an old rickety formica kitchen table that is definitly not stable enough but its a nice yellow colour and used to be Dads so I like it.

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By organising and tidying up then taking some nice pictures I already feel a bit more inspired!

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That cushion is another college make, crofthouses galore! I need it with that chair, I found it at the dump and I love the colour but it doesn’t half give you a sore bum sitting on it without a cushion!

Speak soon,

xxxx

natural dyeing

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On Sunday afternoon I headed up to Hillswick with one of my best pals Amy to see a Natural Yarn dyeing demonstration and workshop. If you saw how much wool I own (in many,many colours) you would think I have no need to get invigled (Shetland word meaning caught up in something) with natural dyeing and you’d be right but my friends, I’m a sucker for anything wirset related!

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colours all possible with Natural Dyes!

I find natural dyeing really interesting but I also always thought it was quite complicated.. so I thought it would be great to see how its done. I spied it on the Hillswick Nature Sanctuary Facebook page so I asked Amy if she’d fancy coming for a look and like me she’s always been interested, so we did! I did a small amount of research into how one prepares yarn for dyeing so I wound some Shetland White Supreme Jumper Weight, 2 ply lace and some White Alpaca I had lying around… (you have no idea..) into hanks and took it up with us.

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For our first time experiencing natural dyeing it was suitably ‘natural’, in a pot on a wood burner outside while we dodged into a shed to avoid lovely Shetland torrential rain showers. Bunchy of Spindrift Crafts was the one giving the demonstration and she explained to me and Amy a little about natural dyeing, we used Onion skins because its one of the easiest to use. She explained all about mordanting.. and other slightly complicated things about dyeing your own wool. (I plan on purchasing a book to try and understand it all a bit better..) but very quickly after a slight gas hob cooker explosion situation (no harm done) Me and Amy were preparing our yarn for dyeing!

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Me soaking the wool before dyeing

IMG_3213it was amazing how quickly the yarn started to change colour! And from what I understand if we pre-mordanted the yarn (making the fibre very absorbent to the colours) they would be even brighter but for our first go we were pleased!

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Amy putting some yarn into the dye bath

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When I got home I rinsed the hanks under the tap and hung them up in the shower to dry.. there was a bit of an oniony smell so I’m glad Bunchy told me to rinse them.. a little bit of the colour did come out but I’m pleased with the finished wool! now to find something to make with it..

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This is all the Supreme Jumper Weight hanks we dyed, the one on the left was dyed the least amount of time with the one on the right being in the longest

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the 2ply Lace took on quite a nice orangey tan colour

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and the Alpaca, i think because it was more of a dark creamy colour originally it went a bit darker, its lovely!

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A splendid way to spend a Sunday!

speak soon! xx

inspirations

I am so lucky (and I know it) that since Shetland is a pretty small place.. everyone knows how much I love knitting. For example while I was walking to work the other day someone asked me if I wanted a Jumper Board. Thats just how it goes..

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My Mam’s friend Kay is one of those people who know about my interest (cough..obsession) Last year when they were downsizing her Mams house she offered me a huge amount of her Mothers knitting books. I love the books and things I got and appreciate them so much. Kays Mam has since sadly passed away and earlier this week Kay invited me and Mam to hers to look at some of the other textile things her Mam had. Again I came away with some amazing things and I thought I would share them.

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Now these things are special because Kays family ran what we call a Hosiery Business (a knitwear business), it was run by Kays grandparents Bobby and Jeannie Anderson from there home in Brugarth, Whiteness. It is thought it traded under the name ‘Charleston Brothers’ and was linked to a hosiery business in Hawick, it operated purely as a Mail Order company, and the firm in Hawick would place the orders with the Andersons: sizes and colours required for all over jumpers as well as the main colours of the body’s for the yokes.

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To begin with it was a small family business with the Andersons paying outworkers to knit jumpers and the bodies of the yokes on knitting machines, then they were taken to the hand knitters who would add in the hand knit yoke and then they would dress the finished jumper. Once they came back they Anderson’s would do a quality check before the item was shipped out. After the death of Bobby Anderson in 1962 Hilda Hunter (Kays Mam) joined her mother in the business.

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At this time, Fair Isle knitwear was a big thing, and the business continued to be run from Brugarth with more and more outworkers being employed, this allowed people to make an extra income, much needed in the unstable time when fishing and crofting were the mainstays of a family’s income in Shetland. The samples shown here are examples of things they would send these out workers to give them the patterns for yokes.

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These samples are not colour samples, you can see they have been made in whatever wool was lying around purely to show the patterns, as long as the tone of the yarn was the same the colours didn’t matter.

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The reason only half the pattern is shown in that in a Star pattern in a yoke the other half is purely a reflection on the bottom half so to save time only half has been knitted.

I love that these are working samples, they have been sent out who knows how many times to give guidance to knitters on which patterns to use for a specific order.

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Some have been knit as a tube, others sewed and cut open and one has been backed expertly with a silk ribbon, just as you would do in a cardigan

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My favourite are the sample of yokes backed on paper which include the tree pattern that goes alongside the Norwegian star and in which the clever yoke decreases are placed

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I am going to keep the samples for a while to use as inspiration but I will then give them to the Shetland Textile Museum for their collection, until then I know I will look at them often. Kay’s family business ran until the Oil Boom which is very interesting to me. I’ve mentioned before how Oliver (my boss at Jamieson & Smith) told me it was amazing to him that my degree show work was inspired by that era when to people in the textile industry in Shetland at that time were seriously worried about people deserting the industry for the big bucks at Sullom Voe. As you know, (i swear ill stop talking about it eventually) I curated an exhibition at the textile museum about knitwear from that time and its interesting and important to note that as well as being a boost for some textile workers, that time also marked the end of some businesses.

Thank you to Kay and to her Mam who has given me some of my most treasured books about Shetland Knitting as well as these amazing samples.

Speak soon xx