A few weeks ago we had a special visit from a group that is very important to the future of Shetland Knitwear: some of Shetland’s next generation of knitters. They came from the island of Whalsay to the east of Shetland’s mainland to spend a few hours knitting in the shop with a little guidance and amazement from Sandra and Ella.
Whalsay is the quintessential ‘Shetland’ community with a strong fishing industry, traditional crofting and an abundance of knitting talent. It is therefore not surprising that a knitting group was set up in the school there, allowing school age bairns the chance to learn how to knit. From what we saw they have been doing really well and will hopefully progress even after they leave school.
Groups such as this are vital as knitting amongst young people in Shetland is far less common than it once was. Not too long ago every child in Shetland was taught to knit at primary school, but this was scrapped by the Shetland Islands Council in a round of funding cuts. This was a very unpopular move as knitwear is part of Shetland’s culture and identity and has contributed towards its economy for centuries. Hopefully Whalsay’s knitting group will inspire more around the islands and keep this tradition alive.
They knit with the colours we selected for a competition at the Voe & District Agricultural Show in Shetland and can enter their finished pieces to that if they wish. They will be back at J&S knitting during Shetland Wool week; the programme for which is very close to being finalised so more information will become available soon. If you happen to be around you could see for yourselves how great they are. The future of Shetland Knitwear is in safe hands!