The Vintage Shetland Project

Hello everyone, today I thought I’d share some pictures and information about the above book ‘The Vintage Shetland Project’ by Susan Crawford which recently came out and uses J&S yarns for a number of the patterns. The book has been many years in the making:

‘The Vintage Shetland Project, is the culmination of eight years of hard work and personal determination. Inspired by the patterns and colours of Shetland knitting, the fashion historian, author, designer and publisher Susan Crawford began a journey into the rich heritage of Shetland knitwear, and in particular the pieces held in the Shetland Museum archive. With the help of Dr Carol Christiansen, the museum’s curator, Susan undertook the task of carefully selecting the most stunning and original designs from the 1920s to the 1950s, transcribed them stitch by stitch, and has here recreated them for the modern knitter, in stunning detail and a range of sizes for women and men. In combination with the collection of 27 comprehensive patterns for garments and accessories are carefully researched essays exploring the stories behind each piece and honouring their creators – some famous, some forgotten. Photographed by Susan on the island of Vaila, situated off the west coast of Shetland, this book also celebrates the untameable beauty of Shetland itself. Compiled with Susan’s trademark attention to detail, this book is a fabulous treasury of Shetland knitting design and a valuable insight into its textile traditions. It offers you the chance to delve into a fascinating era for knitwear design and to bring it to life in stitch-perfect vintage style.’

Sandra and Me (Ella) can remember helping Susan to match up colours at Wool Week in 2013 and its so exciting to see the final book, it is almost half and half history and essays to patterns. The essays focus on many different aspects of Shetland textiles but also focus on specific story’s, people and pieces of knitwear, it’s the kind of book you can dip in and out of but still feel you’ve learnt something! The patterns of course take up a large proportion of the book and focus on unusual or special items which the originals are housed in collections at the Shetland Museum and the Shetland Textile Museum.

left: Highland knit in Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace
right: Margaret knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
photos: Susan Crawford
Munro knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Petrie knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Ralph knit in 2ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford

Unfortunately in the time between the samples and the book being published one of the shades in the Ralph Jumper has been discontinued and finished, the shade is 61 but you could use shade 78 instead.

Suffragette and Twageos knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford
Yule knit in Shetland Heritage
Photos: Susan Crawford
left: Vaila knit in Shetland Heritage and Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace right: Peerie Clews knit in 2ply Jumper Weight
Photos: Susan Crawford

And when the Vaila was knit we didn’t have Shetland Heritage in Natural shades so it uses Supreme 2ply Lace Held doubled in Moorit but you can use Shetland Heritage Naturals in Moorit instead.

Harriet knit in 2ply Jumper Weight Photos: Susan Crawford

We are so pleased that so many of the patterns can be knit using our yarns, we have been a yarn producer since the 1960’s and a Wool Broker since the 1930’s so some of the original items may have come from wool handled by J&S which is pretty cool!

There is a good range of patterns in the book including both Fair Isle and Lace and garments and accessories so there is something for everyone interested in Shetland Textiles. Of course the creators of the original garments never made them to be multi sized so the amount of work which has gone into sizing and grading the patterns is amazing.

Unfortunately due to the weight of the book we are not able to sell it on the online shop (its above our contract weight for a single parcel) but you can buy it in the UK from both Ysolda and Susan herself, we have it in the shop so if you are in Shetland or will be visiting you can pick up a copy in Lerwick.

To see more of the patterns in the book and more information visit Susans website, Congratulations Susan on the publication of the Vintage Shetland Project!

Happy Knitting 🙂

A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book

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You have probably seen this book if like us you love anything related to Fair Isle, Knitting and Shetland! Published by The Shetland Times and compiled by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers A Shetlanders Fair Isle Graph Book in Colour is a bright and inspiring book – perfect for this dark and dreary time of year. It was released just in time for Wool Week this year and since then it has been selling like hot cakes, everytime I went to do a blog it would be sold out!

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As things calm down though its a lovely book to look through. It is filled with hand coloured motif’s for Fair Isle knitting, the originals of the notebooks belonged to Bill Henry who ran the Hosiery side of Anderson & Co in the mid 20th century. They were most likely used by knitters to put together pattern to put on items to sell.

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The idea of the notebooks themselves is not unusual, Shetland knitters have many self drafted pattern books but what makes this one unusual is the coloured aspect, it is very common to see the black and white dotted kind you see in many Fair Isle books like Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor, Alice Starmores Book of Fair Isle Knitting and Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary MacGregor. Those kind of graph books are invaluable also because they help you to put together patterns without being distracted by the colours but this book is a feast for the eyes if you like Fair Isle and Stranded knitting.

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It’s very tempting to gather up colours and try to match them up…

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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 77, 1403, 66, 1, fc15 and 34
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greens: 34 and FC11, blue: FC15 and FC47, cream: 1 and 202, yellow: 66 and 121, reds: 1403 and FC55, black: 77 and 81.

The yarn on the right-hand side is the same kind of shades as the ones on the left for the pattern in the previous picture but it would give you a more subtle version of the pattern. That’s another fun part of putting colours together, you can adapt it until it is more your kind of shades.

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Shetland Heritage Naturals l-r: white, fawn, light grey, moorit and black
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2ply Jumper Weight l-r: 1403, 23, 21, FC15 and 202

We have the book in stock just now and it costs £20.00. It would make a great present for anyone interested in Shetland Knitting, the historical aspect is just as interesting as the colour inspirations!

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Shoormal Hap

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As soon as we saw the Shetland Heritage Naturals we all knew they would be perfect in a traditional Shetland Hap, Sandra quickly got to work and just in time for Wool Week the Shoormal Hap is the result!

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The Bestway K133 pattern booklet is full of inspiring Shetland patterns, (we have a photocopy of the pattern booklet for sale here) They are all written out longhand in very small writing but we were very inspired by the ‘Scalloped Shawl’ pattern, its a traditional Hap which you probably know has been everywhere lately. They have been made and worn in Shetland for centuries and we knew the nature of the Shetland Heritage Naturals would be ideal to recreate this pattern.

courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.
courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

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We have used shades White, Fawn, Moorit and Shetland Black in the Shawl, Oliver has told us many times that the Heritage is very similar is weight to the old Hap weight of yarn, long since discontinued but the soft and strong properties of the Heritage yarn especially in the undyed colours harks back to this historical yarns. We have added charts for the border and edging sections of the pattern as well as keeping the written instructions so you can choose which to use.

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The construction of this Hap is that the centre is worked first followed by the four sides which are all worked individually and sewn onto the centre and each other, finally the edging is worked and sewn on. This makes it a great portable project as you are working each element separately before sewing it all together.

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The finished shawl is approximately 45 inches square making it very large, warm and cushy. It’s knit on relatively large needles for the yarn (4mm and 5mm) which creates a warm and lofty fabric, perfect for wrapping yourself up in, keeping on your couch or wrapping around a baby.

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If you would like to knit your own Shoormal Hap you can buy the kit here!

Happy Knitting!

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Dude/Brideshead Revisited

When smoking was cool, and patterns cost 9pence.

Just unearthed an old pattern that was hiding here in the Jamieson & Smith archive (aka: the random piles of wool goodness that have been untouched for decades). This guy has some style, no? He looks like something from Brideshead Revisited.

The pattern was ‘Designed in Shetland for Shetland Wool’. So cool! I’m thinking Jumper weight 2ply in shade 203 (main grey), 36 (navy), 125 (orange), 91 (yellow), FC34 (blue), 1A (white) and 1403 (wine). Many of these colour recipes will be exactly the same – lovely!