Episode 64 - Shetland Fine Lace Knitting

Episode 64 – Shetland Fine Lace Knitting

Episode 64 is featuring Shetland fine lace knitting at it’s best! We have an interview with two Shetland sisters, Anne Eunson and Kathleen Anderson, who were both giving classes in advanced lace knitting during the Shetland Wool Week. In the interview they talk about some of their favourite Shetland lace stitch patterns and how they like to work with them to create amazingly intricate, fine lace shawls. Our guest on Knitters of the World is Marie Greene who goes under the knitwear design name of Olive Knits. We have a few more memories of our time in Shetland to share with you and finally we have a couple of finished projects to show you.

Anne Eunson and Kathleen Anderson

Kathleen and Anne are two of four sisters who are well known expert fine lace knitters. Both sisters learnt to knit very early in life and like a lot of Shetlanders during that time, they knitted as children to supplement the family income. Their first garments knitted to sell were little garter stitch vests or spencers (under garments) and children’s Fair Isle mitts. Over the years they have become expert in a variety of techniques including machine knitting and spinning but their extremely fine and intricate lace work is really exceptional.

This interview was one of my personal favourites. Both woman are extremely charming and down to earth, describing lace knitting as being very straightforward, ‘only yarn overs and knit three togethers’.

Anne was particularly practical when wondering how she could replace her ugly chain mail garden fence with something DIY. She knitted her very own custom fence using strong black fishing net twine and her favourite Shetland lace stitch pattern ‘The Print and the Wave’.

Finding Anne Eunson and Kathleen Anderson

If fine lace knitting is your thing, then you will also enjoy watching Episode 28 – A Passion for Lace which features an interview with Monique Boonstra.

Marie Greene of Olive Knits – Knitters of the World

Marie is a big fan of seamless knitting. She knits everywhere she goes and always has her knitting with her which means Marie is also a big fan of easy to knit and easy to wear. Marie’s aim is to write patterns that are very user friendly, fit very well, are stylish and easy to knit ‘on the go’ but still have interesting knitterly details. Her gorgeous knitted dress (in sports weight) above was featured in Issue 5 of the Laine Magazine.

Patron Discount

Marie is kindly offering Fruity Knitting Patrons a 25% discount off all her self published patterns in her online Ravelry store. Above all, Marie loves to design sweaters and cardigans and has a heap of great designs to chose from. Full details here.

Finding Marie Greene and Olive Knits

The Auction

Andrew and I really enjoyed reading James Rebanks book ‘The Shepherds Life’ which also describes the importance of the yearly auction and competition. The major yearly auction in Shetland also took place during the Wool Week, so having read the book and feeling like we had a greater insight into farming life, we were both very excited to go and take a look. It just so happens that I sat next to the farmer, Hamish, who won the overall show champion ram, as well as a few 1st prizes in other categories. So I took the opportunity to chat him up and get a bit of inside information. We thought you might enjoy watching the auction for his show champion ram, especially if you have never been to a sheep action.

Hamish giving his nod of approval to sell at the final bid.

The bidding takes off very fast and is finished in under 2 minutes. When I asked him later if he was happy with the price, he said he was thrilled and that it was a top price, but you can’t see that at all from his face. He was very poker faced, not letting anything show.

The auction is run by the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group.

Culswick Methodist Chapel

The Culswick Methodist Chapel is one of the most remote churches in Shetland, and holds services once a month. There is also an annual Christmas Carol Service which is attended by people from all over Shetland. It’s a very simple stone building dating back to 1893 which, from the outside, doesn’t look like a church but it has a bright red door which invites you to come in. It was open, so we went in and the little church had lovely wood paneling and traditional pews, but the main feature was a beautifully carved 19th century pump organ. So Andrea sat down and played a hymn. We took a bit of footage for you to see.

Further on from the Chapel is the Broch of Culswick, a stone structure which dates back to the Iron Age. The construction date of this broch is not known, but it is considered one of the oldest buildings in the UK.

Chilly Podster fingerless gloves/mitts

Yay, Andrew has finished his fingerless mitts. The pattern is Chilly Podsters, it’s a convertible mitten-glove pattern by Glenna C. and is a free pattern on Ravelry. Andrew knitted them in a rustic DK weight yarn spun from Hebridean fleece from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. These gloves are for when Andrew is filming #extremeknitting footage in the middle of winter and needs to use his fingers on the camera and drone without his hands turning stiff with cold. The many fiddly bits made it a difficult knit for Andrew, who much prefers long stretches of stocking stitch. They will be very practical so he’s happy to have them!

My Jamieson’s of Shetland Tweed Skirt

How special it is to have a completely hand made Jamieson’s of Shetland outfit! I bought the tweed fabric at the Jamieson’s of Shetland factory. It’s a very beautiful multicoloured herring bone twill, with lovely shades of blue, green and rust (the picture is making it look like a dull grey). The pattern is  McCalls M7022  and I’ve matched it with Sampfrey by Marie Wallin.

You can’t buy their Shetland tweed online but if you visit them in person, you can go in through the factory and see the big weaving looms and sometimes their expert weaver, Brian at work. There you can buy some of the tweed straight off the big rolls.  The yarns in their Shetland tweed are the same yarns and colours as their knitting yarns. So you can easily knit yourself a jumper and sew yourself a skirt that totally matches. That is exciting!

What are we wearing?

Andrew is wearing the Welk by Martin Storey which he made himself. Andrea is wearing Samphrey by Marie Wallin in the episode and Mohr by Norah Gaughan during the interview.

Music Credits