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Vintage Shetland Project


“Fashion and history intertwine in the Vintage Shetland Project as Susan Crawford recreates and explores cherished pieces from Shetland’s rich knitting heritage”

Here at Jamieson & Smith we are lucky to know and call lots of designers our friends, one of these designers is Susan Crawford. Her latest project as you probably know is the Vintage Shetland Project. In this unique book Susan will recreate and publish the patterns for a number of designs featured only in the collection of the Shetland Museum and Archives. For the past 4 years Susan has painstakingly reknit and de constructed (mentally not physically) the pieces to find out how they were made.


photo: Susan Crawford

Susan has used crowdfunding website Pubslush to help raise the funds to publish this book herself, at the time of writing this post the amount raised is nearly double what the initial target was of £12,000 but in this last few weeks of the campaign we would encourage you to contribute if you can. For £15 you can get a digital copy of the book and for £25 you will get a signed copy of the print edition as well as a host of other goodies depending on how much you put in.


photo: Susan Crawford

We have been trading since the 1930’s in buying wool and making yarns since the 1950’s so it is quite possible and extremely likely that a number of the pieces were knit using J&S yarns. Luckily as a part of this blog tour we are able to share some of the pieces that will be in the book. Today I’m going to talk about this piece:


photo: Susan Crawford

This short sleeved jumper is a lovely example of a 1940’s piece of Shetland knitwear and features nice little puffed sleeves, the jumper would have been knit in the round to the oxters (armpit) and then extra stitches cast on for the neck and sleeves to allow it to be knit in the round, the back neck has also been steeked so a zip could be inserted, you can see the maker or owner has written their name on the zip tape


I asked Susan about what she found out about the piece, she said the yarn is most likely worsted spun (like the Shetland Heritage range) especially as the gauge is quite small at 34 stitches and 34 rounds. This means the yarn is combed before its spun, resulting in a very soft but also strong yarn. As you know from our post on the heritage range we based the colours on traditional knitwear and although this piece is from a bit later than we were looking at some of the colours are still a good match:

L-R: Mussel Blue, Indigo, Berry Wine, Auld Gold and Fluggy White

L-R: Mussel Blue, Indigo, Berry Wine, Auld Gold and Fluggy White

The Indigo shade is a bit brighter than the original but as Susan pointed out the piece may have faded over time and it could have been brighter when first knit. You can see from the first picture of the whole garment how well these yarns last over time, apart from the wear under the arms the yarn is incredibly well preserved.

photo: Susan Crawford

photo: Susan Crawford

This book will be a welcome addition to anyone interested in Shetlands textile heritage, here at J&S we work very hard to keep this strong heritage alive and well so we are really excited to see the book when it comes out!

The full blog tour schedule is below so go back and have a look at some of the posts from our knitterly friends!


Thursday 9th July
Saturday 12th July
Monday 13th July
Wednesday 15th July         
Friday 17th July
Saturday 18th July
Sunday 19th July
Monday 20th July
Tuesday 21st July
Wednesday 22nd July
Friday 24th July
Saturday 25th July
Sunday 26th July
Monday 27th July
Wednesday 29th July
Friday 31st July
Sunday 2nd August
Monday 3rd August
Tuesday 4th Aug
Thursday 6th August
Friday 7th August
5 Comments Post a comment
  1. quinn #

    I love the signature on the zip!
    This entire project is exciting – I am enjoying following all the blog posts and tweets, and poring over the excellent photographs of these unique and lovely garments 🙂

    July 31, 2015
  2. Gail Roche #

    hi Ella,

    Your description of the book is intriguing and of course having just seen the museum samples I do want the print form. Can I mail the money to you or how do I go about getting a copy? and do you know what the postage might be…round number is okay, the balance can just go into the project coffers. Also, Ella, I did go back to the web after we talked the other day and found your delightful croft house pillows. I left a message but have had no response. i am disappointed because if you are still taking commissions I really would like to order one. let me know and I can include payment in the same envelope. My trip to Shetland was a big thrill and one of the best parts was meeting you and the others at J & S. I love the understated authenticity you exhibit…..makes the others look a tad garish but at least the contrast is clear. Keep it up. My own knitting is on pause just now as my Condo in Canmore sold while I was in Unst…email is wonderful…so now I am in moving mode, full time. after August I will be full time in Palm Desert, California which is where i want to be so I am one lucky girl Best to you and hello to Oliver and his wife. Gail Roche Hope you will enjoy the weekend and I look forward to hearing from you

    July 31, 2015
  3. Susan #

    I tried to contribute to the slush fund but since it is on Facebook, which I do not belong to, I was unable to donate 😦 But do want to buy the book! Help………….

    August 1, 2015
  4. hi Gail I replied to your email! Check your junk mail xxx

    August 1, 2015

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