Shetland Wool Adventures Journal vol.2 Preview

Mar 9, 2024

Shetland Wool Adventures Volume 02  has a curated collection of six distinctive patterns that weave together tradition, family legacy and artistic innovation. From Anne Eunson’s cosy Atlantic Slipover to the fiery allure of the Up Helly A Gansey inspired by Viking galleys, not to mention Ella’s delightful Hesti Mitts, all the way to the beautiful Nighthawk Slipover, each design tells a story of creativity and connection to Shetland’s rich textile heritage.

A quick preview of the wonderful Fair Isle knitting patterns you will find in Shetland Wool Adventures Journal – vol. 02.

Take a peek inside for beautiful Fair Isle Knitting Patterns, waiting for you inside Vol. 02!

Atlantic Waves Slipover by Anne Eunson

Anne loves lace knitting and she hails from a family of accomplished lace knitters. She learned to knit as a young child and then went on to study contemporary textiles and continues to produce beautiful contemporary lace designs based on traditional Shetland lace motifs. You might have heard of Anne’s knitted garden fence which she made from durable black twine that is used to make fishing nets on specially adapted curtain poles. Anne’s mum and her aunts from her side of the family were lace knitters while her aunts from her dad’s side of the family were Fair Isle knitters so it has been in Anne’s head for years to design a garment which brought the two knitting genres together. The Atlantic Waves tank top is knitted in Langsoond yarn. Langsoond is a double-knit weight, woollen spun yarn in four different natural, undyed shades and is 100% wool from Shetland sheep.

Up Helly Aa Gansey by Rachel Hunter

The design of the Up Helly Aa Gansey is inspired by the countless Viking galleys or longships that I have seen consumed by flames over the years at the various Up Helly Aa and Fire Festivals throughout Shetland. The bright lacework motifs in fiery colours against the dark background remind me of that magical time when the embers are starting to calm down after a period of more ferocious burning. The Up Helly Aa Gansey is knitted in the round from the bottom up. The sleeves are knitted first, followed by the body, before joining together and working a colourful lace yoke. Underarm stitches are dropped and held on stitch holders/waste yarn prior to joining the yoke and these are grafted at the end for a seamless finish. The body and sleeves also incorporate an eight-row welt motif that provides texture. This reminds me of the planks of wood that make up the hull of the Viking galley but it is also influenced by the textures found on traditional ganseys worn by fishermen in coastal communities throughout the UK.

Hesti Mitts by Ella Gordon

Designed to match Ella’s Hesti Hat in Volume 1, these mitts are inspired by original Fair Isle motifs and colours. Ella used bands of peerie patterns and a colour palette with faded versions of traditional shades which make it feel like a vintage piece of knitwear. Each mitt is knitted in the round with corrugated ribbing and an afterthought thumb.

Nighthawk Slipover by Wilma Malcolmson

Nighthawk was a colour of yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland that I really liked but had not used. On a visit to The Hoxa Tapestry Gallery in Orkney I bought some cards. The one that
I liked most was ‘Echoes of Hamnavoe’ and I found myself thinking about how the mix would look in Fair Isle patterns! Nighthawk came to mind and I experimented with other toning colours. I chose two traditional Shetland patterns, adapting them to fit. After a few colour swatches, I designed a hat (which you can find in Volume 1), and then a slipover. I hope you will enjoy using the yarns and knitting my design!

Hillside Handwarmers by Barbara Cheyne

Hillside is the name of Barbara’s house where the mitts were created and made. Barbara’s ‘knitting to sell’ career began when she was thirteen and knitted mittens with the Norwegian star on the back and the palm in a small pattern. With the development of mobile phones Barbara created the handwarmer with open thumb and no fingers so that access to the phone was easy. This has proved very popular for all ages. Different stitch patterns that use the same amount of stitches can be used on the back.

Hamar Slipover by Linda Shearer

Linda is a very talented knitter from the island of Whalsay and the chair of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. She is also is very active supporting young Whalsay lasses who love knitting Fair Isle, and regularly win prizes for their knitting at the local shows. The inspiration for this slipover came from when Linda was young, during the 1970’s and 80’s. There were a lot of ‘shaded in’ (as Linda’a mother called them) garments on the go. Linda particularly remembers many men in Whalsay wearing blue ‘shaded in’ ganseys. However, this type of toned colouring design had been around for many years before. For this design Linda chose her favourite colours of grey and pink and with wine tones. The natural Shetland wool colours also lend themselves to this example. ‘Hamar’ is a Shetland dialect word for ‘a rocky hill’.

As you knit your way through these iconic patterns, I hope the threads of Shetland’s knitting legacy intertwines with your own creative journey. Whether you are drawn to the intricate lace motifs, the fiery Viking-inspired jumper, the vintage charm of Ella’s Hesti Mitts, or the contemporary hues of the Nighthawk slipover, each piece invites you to become part of Shetland’s shared knitting tradition. Happy Knitting!

Photography by Susan Williams
Garment illustrations by Lorna Reid
Photo location Lerwick


Anne Eunson

Rachel Hunter

Ella Gordon

Wilma Malcolmson

Barbara Cheyne

Linda Shearer

As you can see there are some beautiful Fair Isle Knitting patterns waiting for you inside Vol. 02. Not only that, there are many many interesting features, stories, walks, recipes and stunning photography, all inspired by Shetland. 

Order your Copy of Shetland Wool Adventures Vol. 02 here.


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