Brand New Kits!

The hard work is done and the patterns are printed so we can finally reveal four new Fair Isle kits to add to the J&S collection. Two of these are in our 2ply Jumper Weight yarn which I’m sure most of you are familiar with. The other two are in our new Shetland Heritage yarns that are inspired by the original hand spun ‘wirsit’ that used to be commonplace in the Isles.

Three of these were designed by our very own Sandra Manson who is an expert at picking out colours and blending them together in beautiful patterns to create amazing garments.

The first of these is the Antarctica Hat, Mittens & Neckwarmer. Sandra initially designed, knitted and gifted these to Dr Alexander Kumar whose address throughout 2012 has been Concordia Station, Antarctica. Dr Kumar learned of the wonders of Shetland wool for keeping you warm when reading of Sir Earnest Shackleton’s trip to Antarctica over 100 years ago, when he was protected from the bitter cold with the aid of Fair Isle wool garments. We have had reports back that Sandra’s knitting has helped keep Dr Kumar comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be in as cold as -91°C!

You can learn more about Alexander’s trip here.

The second of Sandra’s designs is the Peerie Bairns Jumper. This is an extremely cute little thing inspired by traditional Fair Isle patterns handed down over generations. It is completely flexible, with options available in blue or purple and for ages 2, 4 and 6. Though the more adventurous among you could try knitting it in different colours if you prefer – just make a note of the different shades of 2 Ply Jumper Weight you want in the Delivery and Order Comments box at checkout. The Peerie Bairns Jumper will definitely keep your peerie bairn cosy whilst making them look oh-so-cute.

The third of Sandra’s designs – and her first in our new Shetland Heritage yarns – is the Annie Jumper named after our Ella’s neice. The Heritage yarn just oozes authenticity when it comes to Fair Isle knitting and Sandra’s use of patterns brings it all together into a lovely little gansey. This yarn is also perfect for knitting for children as it is worsted spun, making it bouncy and soft to touch. The Annie jumper would also be suitable for boys or girls and is available in options for ages 2, 4, 6 and 9. My mam is currently knitting one for my nephew and I cannot wait for him to try it on!

The final one of our new kits for now is the Fair Isle V-necked Jumper. The pattern for which is based on a garment in the Shetland Museum’s Textile Archive which was one of the inspirations for the new Shetland Heritage range. The yarn for these original pieces was commercially spun but hand-dyed and it looks almost as good as new and very much like the new range. This shows just how well Shetland wool can last if cared for. One of the striking features of the garments in the Shetland Museum’s Textile Archive is how they have been patched over time to match the original colours and pattern, giving them a real sense of history and emphasising their beautiful hand-made quality. This jumper truly is an heirloom piece of real Fair Isle knitting and we are very excited to finally be able to offer it to you.

Detail from the original museum piece. Image courtesy of Jen Arnall-Culliford

The kits are all available now and can be found here! (or directly by clicking on each kit’s name above)


A while back, we mentioned that we’d be putting a kit together for Kate Davies’ lovely Warriston. Well it’s here. At last.

We mentioned quickly that the patterns come with Kate’s new digital magazine, Textisles. This was before we’d had a chance to look through it properly, but now we have and my goodness it is good. Seriously worth a read. It’s wonderfully researched, beautifully written and presented and is just generally one of those things that will make you want to curl on the couch and lose yourself – with a cup of tea, of course.

Also, there is an ultra creative collective of contemporary textile artists in Shetland who go by the name Text-isles. In fact, the group includes the Emma Blain of Aamos Designs who is a part of the J&S Cooperative and Andrea Williamson, who designed the Whalsay Aran. We’re working with the group on a little project at the moment, and can’t wait to see the results.

Also reminds me that we’ve got two new additions to the J&S Cooperative, which should be up shortly. Yoohay!