plain crown crofthoose

IMG_7802 col3

Hello! Thank you so much for all the lovely comments about my last post, I’m so glad so many of you enjoyed my video, and thanks also for all the nice messages about my hoose hat and jumper, today I thought i’d share another Crofthoose Hat Ive just finished.

IMG_7813

I know not everyone is into or wanting to do lots of Fair Isle so I thought I would also do a version with a plain rib and a plain crown, I started this ages away but only got a chance to finish it the other night but I’m really pleased with how it came out. Fair Isle crowns can also be a bit tricky sometimes so this is a bit more mindless.

col1

I used Brooklyn Tweed Loft and made a tiny, tiny dent in my stash. I wanted to try a more greyish colour scheme and I really like it. So if you would like to make a plain crown version of the Crofthoose Hat, heres how!

  • Download the pattern here!
  • Cast on the normal amount and knit a 2×2 rib for 8 rows, I used 2.25mm needles to get a nice tight rib using the Loft yarn, if your using normal Shetland Yarn, 2.5mm or 3.00mm would be fine.
  • Increase and change to bigger needles, follow the hoose chart and decrease as described in the pattern
  • knit 1 row, placing a marker every 12 stitches.
  • decrease by knitting until 2 sts before each marker then k2tog.
  • decrease every other row until 6 sts remain.
  • leave a tail and thread it through the remaining stitches and pull tightly.

IMG_7824

I hope you like my plain crown version! Me and Mam found a nice burn to take some photos at, I think it goes nicely with the hat. I’m loving seeing all the projects appearing on ravelry and instagram, it makes me very happy! thank you xx

Speak soon!

eyf purchases

Hello! So I thought I’d do something a bit different and do a video about my purchases at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so if you are interested have a watch below! also sorry about the reflection from my glasses, I never noticed until afterwards.. typical.

things mentioned:

Shetland Wool Week and Crofthoose Hats!

Hedgehog Fibres

Kate Davies Buachaille

Midwinter Yarns

North Ronaldsay Yarn

Ysolda

Anna Maltz

60 North Magazine

Knitting with two colours by Amy Detjen and Meg Swanson

Rachel Atkinson

Crofthoose Jumper

Armstrongs

 

edinburgh yarn festival

2016-03-18_1458291950

So I am back from Edinburgh!! The yarn festival was brilliant, it was so busy and I got to see so many of my woolly pals, I even felt a bit starstruck sometimes! I am used to people coming to Shetland so it was nice to be out there myself and seeing everyone. The picture above is our stand on the Shetland Wool Week space, you can see we had lots of stuff for people interested in Wool Week to take away..

image_medium2

I wore my Puffin jumper (seen above with Alix – thanks for the picture!) on the Friday and I got lots of compliments on it, that is one of the most satisfying part of a woolly event, everyone appreciates what you are wearing! On Saturday I wore my newest project – a crofthoose yoke!

2016-03-19_1458380290

So as well as my hat I have secretly been trying this idea, I am working on the pattern and of course I will post it here when it is available – along with better photos! It will be my first foray into multi-sized patterns and what better to start with than one of my favourite things to make – a yoke! I had a number of people commenting on it at Edinburgh which had made me feel really good and excited about releasing it.

10995099_264222047242641_1587444479_n

felicity, kate, misa and me

I cant really describe what this weekend was like, I was totally overwhelmed – in the best possible way – with the feedback I got about my design for wool week, about this blog.. lots of things. Thank you to anyone who spoke to me, messaged me and commented on my last post. I’m amazed how many projects are on the ravelry page for the hat already and how many pictures are on instagram under the #crofthoosehat !

I did do some purchasing.. ahem.. but I’m hoping to show that to you later this week…!

Speak soon xx

crofthoose hat

hat

Hello! here is my design for the 2016 Shetland Wool Week, the Crofthoose Hat! As you know I love crofthouse’s and i’m known for my cushions but I wanted to develop my favourite image into a fair isle motif, my hat uses traditional Shetland techniques: two colour Fair Isle, corrugated ribbing and a patterned crown but with the fun house imagery!

IMG_7306

Like other years before me I have designed a few different colourways for the hat, one using J&S 2ply Jumper Weight (see above), Shetland Organics Jumper Weight, Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift and for a fun idea I used the naturally dyed Jumper Weight I bought at the Craft Fair in November.

IMG_7361 IMG_7335 IMG_7340

Im currently in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival where the pattern will be available for the first time, you can download it now here! thank you for all the kind messages so far, I’m really looking forward to this weekend and I’ll be back at the first of the week to talk about my trip away,

speak soon xx

wool week

Photo 08-03-2016, 1 29 04 pm

hello, thank you for all the great comments on my last post! It was a great conference and really made me think a lot about Shetland and Shetland knitting, yes I can do it even more! You might have seen on my instagram or the Shetland Wool Week blog that last week I was announced as this years Wool Week patron!! I’m going down to Edinburgh this weekend for the Yarn Festival with the Shetland Wool Week team so if you are going and you see me then come and say hi, It will be the first chance to see my design for this years pattern and I’m very excited and nervous to see what people think.

Ill be back very soon to show you more.. :)

thoughts on authenticity

auth

some of the words associated with Shetland’s knitting culture

So I had a very interesting day yesterday at the Shetland Museum as mentioned in my last post. The day was all about Authenticity in Culturally Based knitting, obviously in relation to Shetland and mostly throughout the day it was in relation to Shetland Lace. There were a number of talks by lots of different women – Lynn Abrams, Carol Christianson, Roslyn Chapman, Rhoda Hughson, Frances Lennard, Helen Robertson and Kathy Coull. It was attended as far as I could see by Women (and one cameraman) Lynn Abrams mentioned in her opening talk about how Shetland had a ‘female network’ and I think today this is still true, knitting of course like everything has come on leaps and bounds and knitting isn’t seen any more as ‘womens work’ but here the skills and knowledge is still held onto in the main by women. A very inspiring group of women I have to say.

col

photos: shetland museum

Carol Christianson’s talk was about 19th century pattern books and the use of the word ‘Shetland’ within them, she talked about how it is very hard to date Shetland lace without some kind of provenance. There are a number of pattern books which contain ‘Shetland shawls’ and since there has been not much evidence of Shetlanders using pattern books at this time it is unknown whether these writers saw shawls from Shetland and copied them or had there own idea of what a Shetland shawl was. One of these writers was Jane Gaugain who had a shop in Edinburgh and would have had easy access to shawls directly from here and as an expert knitter she could have acquired handspun yarn from Shetland, a shawl knit by her could be extremely hard to differentiate between a shawl knit in Shetland. Would that be classed as authentic?

handwritten note of unknown date found at the bottom of a typed letter by A.I Tulloch in relation to Shetland knitting

handwritten note of unknown date found at the bottom of a typed letter by A.I Tulloch in relation to Shetland knitting

This was one of the things mentioned in Roslyn Chapman’s talk and I think one of the key points of the day to me, as someone still working in the much smaller but still extremely important Shetland Wool industry it is something that resonates with me. She found during her PHD research into the Shetland Lace Industry a huge amount of newspaper information about various branches of ‘Shetland Lace’ industries, including one in Nottingham which even had its own Shetland Shawl Trade Union. These branches all over the UK led to shawls and hosiery having to be described as ‘Real Shetland’ – knitwear actually from here and ‘Imitation Shetland’ – Shetland patterns knit by people outwith Shetland. She had an example of the then Duchess of Kent purchasing an ‘Imitation Shetland Shawl’ and knowing it was such, this was interesting as she had previously been gifted a shawl by the Sutherlands, a knitting family dynasty hailing from Unst. This shows that these industry’s were seen as separate and themselves skilful although technically being imitations.

a few of the famous photos of the sutherland women, photo: shetland museum

a few of the famous well known photos of the sutherland women, photo: shetland museum

These ‘Real Shetland’ shawls costed considerably more than ‘Imitation Shetland’ and a great deal more than the machine made versions which were also available. The wording seems to have been quite important in these advertisements and it was noted that Shetlands ‘identity was used as a marketing strategy’ something which of course still happens.

unst lace and ladies, photo's: unst heritage centre and shetland museum

unst lace and ladies, photo’s: unst heritage centre and shetland museum

Rhoda Hughson from the Unst Heritage Centre also spoke about how in Unst they are trying to retain the skills and traditions but also how to grow with the changing nature of Shetland. The example above on the left was found in the Uyeasound Shop and you can see from how damaged it was that they had to do a lot of work to store it correctly. The ladies on the right were actually Aunts of someone in the audience and she told us that they used to work on things together – one knitting the centre, the other the border and both the edging. I know from work there are still a huge amount of people out there who want to knit traditional Shetland Lace but it is very tricky for them at the Heritage Centre to know how to stock their shop – which helps fund the small museum. An example she gave was the cockleshell scarf, traditionally they are quite wide but also short so if they make ones which are a bit thinner but longer to fit in with how scarves are worn now are they as authentic?

a legacy of shetland lace and Zena Thomsons zig zag scarf from the book

a legacy of shetland lace and Zena Thomsons zig zag scarf from the book

Helen Robertson is a local jewellery designer known for her work of knitting Shetland lace in wire, she i also a member of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers and her talk was about the publication of A Legacy of Shetland Lace, I was working at J&S when this book came out and I knew immediately it was something special, a collection of lace patterns – by Shetlanders. This was a first, there is of course other books on Shetland lace, Sarah Don’s and Gladys Amedro’s to name a few but both were written long hand and this book has each pattern charted. She mentioned how she found Sharon Miller’s book ‘Heirloom Knitting’ for her a ‘game changer’ previous to the publication of Millers book, even Shetlanders could struggle to easily access Shetland Lace patterns. I understood totally when Helen spoke about how some of us struggle to share this information, Shetlanders see it to be ‘wir treasure’ This is our past, our culture. But things have changed, every family doesn’t have its own pattern book, passed down member to member. I have often mentioned that I am one of those and I couldn’t have learned many of the things I have without some of these books.

knitters, photo's: shetland museum

knitters, photo’s: shetland museum

I wish I could say I came away from the day with a new clear feeling as to how I feel but I’m afraid I don’t. I came away with my head spinning with words, imagery and mostly a proudness (is that a word?) I feel proud of the women who came before me and had to knit, maybe they didn’t want to? I do want to and I am lucky that it makes no odd’s, I have a job, thankfully connected to this industry and if I chose not to knit and create when I got home I don’t have to. I feel that if you are knitting something in a Shetland pattern and doing what YOU can to be as authentic as possible you are authentic. I don’t think you have to be a Shetlander, knitting in Shetland with Shetland wool to be being true. Its the people who deliberately use Shetland’s name, skills and heritage to just make money or get attention that are doing a disservice.

The main thing is to be aware, be aware of the people who’s culture this is, who’s heritage is wrapped up (literally) in wool and patterns passed down through generations. I maybe didn’t come back to knitting through my family but when I did come back to it I felt the passion ignited by being here and this heritage I realise fully how lucky I am to have.

Speak soon :) xxxx

PS, they are hoping to put up videos from the day on Youtube, if they do I will come back and post the links, I’m sorry I didn’t get around to speaking about each talk but we would have been here all day..

Further Reading:

Roslyn Chapman’s interesting article in 60North Magazine can be seen here

Kate Davies article about Jane Gaugain, see here

You can buy a Legacy of Shetland Lace from the Shetland Times here

More information about the Unst Heritage Centre can be found on their website 

study day

IMG_7563

This Saturday I am going to an event hosted at the Shetland Museum and Archives which I am VERY excited about. It is called ‘Authenticity in Culturally Based Knitting‘. I have tried and failed before to explain some aspects about culture and knitting in relation to Shetland, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how some of the speakers approach it! I’m obviously extremely proud of my heritage – the fact I’m from Shetland is probably how some of you came to find me and it can be frustrating sometimes as to how Shetland, Shetlanders and Shetland knitting can be represented in books and online. Its also quite hard to verbalise how I feel without offending someone although that’s never my intention, but it is so important to me. I literally think about knitting all the time, (rock and roll) and its something which has become all consuming over the past 5 years.

IMG_7553

The day’s description is: ‘The event will explore definitions of ‘traditional’ in Shetland knitwear design, the promotion, branding and marketing of ‘authentic’ Shetland knitwear, and how designers and industry are helped or hindered by a strong basis in heritage. These issues have implications for other types of craft, beyond textiles.’ Doesn’t that sound great? The speakers are a good bunch too:

  • Professor Lynn Abrams, author of Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000;
  • Roslyn Chapman who recently completed her PhD thesis on the knitted lace industry in Shetland;
  • Curator, Dr Carol Christiansen;
  • Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow;
  • Rhoda Hughson, Chairman of Unst Heritage Trust;
  • Kathy Coull, wool producer on Fair Isle and Vice Chair of Shetland Tourism Association; and
  • Helen Robertson, jewellery designer.

Happily the museum is going to live broadcast the event, you can find out more information here about half way down the page. So if you watch keep and eye out for me! I will try and come back after the event and give you my thoughts on the day

speak soon xx