a shetland knitter working on a V-bed machine, photo by Tom Kidd
Historically Shetlander’s have always had to have a few things on the go, originally we were crofters and fishermen and this meant there was always quiet times, be it bad weather, dark nights or rough seas you had to find something to do. In the height of Shetland knitwear fame many homes were equipped with large v-bed knitting machines like the one you see in the picture above for people to combine machine and hand knitting and to earn a bit of extra money. Prior to the Oil Boom of the late 1970s/early 1980’s many homes echoed to the sound of the knitting machine.
‘by the mid 1960’s, when the local press reported that knitting was beginning to become more profitable than crofting, many Shetland families were encouraged to purchase Passap or Knitmaster machines specifically to turn out sweater bodies, as well as yokes in their own home’
An excerpt from Kate Davies ‘Yokes’
Working in one of the many Knitwear factories. Photo: Unknown
With the introduction of oil and all its job opportunities and wealth it was no surprise that locals packed away their knitting machines and took advantage of the Oil Boom and all its rewards. The skills of these cottage industries saw a deep decline, luckily there were still people in Shetland who had these skills and we are lucky to be able to work with some of them.
We have designed a range of traditional Yoke cardigans using both our 2 ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Heritage yarns, we have partnered up with a selection of Shetland knitters to help us produce them – The body and sleeves are hand frame knitted for us by a maker in Whalsay, one of the outlying Islands and then we have a number of local knitters who put in the yokes and finish the garments in their own homes.
The continuation of the Shetland Textile industry is always very important to us, that’s why we are ensuring to pay our knitters a good price for doing the work, we understand and appreciate the skills the knitters have and want to pay them rightly for these skills. We have the initial stock available on the website here but we will be adding to it as colours come back from the knitters.
We are very excited about our new range of garments, and we hope you are too! If you don’t fancy buying a ready made yoke the pattern is taken from Sandras’ Hairst Yoke pattern which is available as a kit.
hello! Thank you for the kind comments on our last post, today I’m going to speak about another fun thing we are doing this Spring and Summer. After the success of our Winter Woollies KAL last year we thought we’d try another one! So these are the shades for our Spring/Summer KAL 2016
L-R: 141, 125, 29, FC55, 122, 1281, FC45, 121
The Rules for the KAL are:
- You must use at least 5 of the 8 shades (no additional shades not listed above)
- You can make any kind of garment or accessory
- The item must feature some Fair Isle knitting (two colours per row)
- The Knit a Long will run until 1st August 2016
I had a look on Ravelry and came up with some patterns which would work great with the KAL, all use Fair Isle knitting and a number of colours. First up is Hats!
Next up is Gloves and Mitts..
Since it is getting into the warmer months I thought rather than Jumpers I’d share some good vest patterns which are out there, they are perfect for trying out all the techniques like stranded knitting and steeks but without the huge investment which a jumper can be..
I hope this has given you some ideas for the KAL! if you want to take part we have a thread on Ravelry about it which you can see here, so come and join the conversation, and you can buy the shades here from our site.
So this years Shetland Wool Week pattern has now been out for a month or so, we were out of stock of one of the shades but its now back in (yippee!) so if you would like to knit the J&S colourway of the Crofthoose Hat you can order a kit from our website here
It uses 5 shades of Jumper Weight in the colours seen above, if you order a kit we will include a paper copy of the pattern but you can also download it via the Shetland Wool Week website here
If you would like to knit the hat but dont fancy these shades just leave us a note in the delivery comments box of the shades you would like and we will put them in for you, there are four different colourways in the pattern and lots of projects on Ravelry if you need inspiration!
if you do knit a Crofthoose Hat remember to tag your projects on instagram and ravelry with the #crofthoosehat
Today we have an exciting new pattern to share, we often get asked about childs yoke cardigan patterns, much like our adult Hairst Yoke. This is one of the many kinds of patterns Shetlanders pass down generation to generation which makes it difficult to find a traditional pattern to make, but now Sandra has designed one for us!
The cardigan is called the Natalia Yoke, named after our very cute model and Kharis’ niece. It is knit using 2ply Jumper Weight and comes in sizes 22 inches up to 28″. It is knit traditionally in the round with a steek but it also includes instructions for if you wanted to knit it flat, the relatively small size makes it a great first steeking project, and as there are only 3 different contrast shades a great first Fair Isle project too.
If you would like to order the kit for the Natalia yoke you can do so on our website here!
Sometimes here in Shetland its easy to forget how far-reaching our yarns can be. As you probably know, every year we take place in the Colourbox challenge with local agriculture shows, see posts here and here.
Well our friend Mary Jane Mucklestone was teaching at Vogue Knitting Live last week and she had the idea to try a mini colourbox challange with her students, so using this years colours, the students set about knitting their own Fair Isle using the colourbox shades
They were very lucky because there were a few Shetland Ladies kicking about New York last week and noted Shetland Designers Hazel Tindall and Wilma Malcomson were both available to judge the entries, just like we do here!
After some deliberation (by the looks of it!) Hazel and Wilma chose their winners..
So congratulations ladies! We would have loved to have been there and seen J&S in the wild in New York
We have had a busy few weeks since we came back after the Christmas break, so one thing I haven’t had a chance to do is reveal the winner of the Winter Woollies KAL we had towards the end of last year. If you want to read more about what we did, see here and here.
So after a lot of deliberation we choose Bev’s project as our winner!
Bev actually used all the shades in her Hat and Mittens, we only required 5 or more to be used but we thought she put them together so well in her finished project, look at that lovely corrugated rib! For her prize we sent her a copy of our book Knit Real Shetland and a selection of 2ply Jumper Weight in her choice.
If you want to see some more examples of what people made, have a look at the finished objects thread on Ravelry here. If you have any ideas of different kinds of Knit a Longs you would like us to do, leave a comment here or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org we had great fun doing it and would love to do more!
Happy Knitting xx
We are now less than a month away from the end of the Winter Woollies KAL, and we have been so pleased with the amount of orders going out all over the world!! I thought I’d share some of the finished projects so far..
To see some of the pieces people have already finished have a look at the finished objects thread in our Ravelry group here. Theres also lots of chat and discussion in the general Winter Woollies KAL thread and people are sharing some of their progress shots, you can see that here
Photos taken from the Winter Woollies KAL thread
The KAL runs until the 15th December, we are loving seeing all the things people are coming up with so keep it up! The weather has turned in Shetland and on Saturday we had our first bit of Snow, in true Shetland form it is windy and rainy today but it was nice while it lasted and we are beginning to get very thankful for our woollens at Jamieson & Smith, til next time,