Friday 27 March 2015

The Shetland Trader Book Two

The Shetland Trader Book Two
My lovely husband, at my behest, bought me a copy of The Shetland Trader Book Two for my birthday. I'm slightly late to the party, the book having been published at the end of last year, and it was difficult to track down a print copy. No doubt a second print run will take place soon and in the meantime a digital download of the book is available at Ravelry. For me though the pleasure of knitting books comes from leafing through them, admiring the photography and reading the patterns to see which I'd knit first. With its beautiful pictures of the designs shot in Shetland, The Shetland Trader Book Two exceeded my knitting porn expectations.

When I was around aged eight my mum, dad brother and I went to Shetland for a week's holiday. We stayed with my mum's best friend and her family who were living there for a few years whilst mum's best friend's husband worked as an engineer out on the oil rigs. It was a magical week - the first time I'd been on a plane and seen a landscape that wasn't Yorkshire or our usual holiday spot of Bournemouth. The week was sunny and bright, showing Shetland off in its best light. I remember picnics on the beach, boat trips and buying some wonderful Shetland wool fingerless gloves (this was the 1980s!) Perhaps my love of yarn began there? As an adult I'd love to go back and I follow Shetland Wool Week on the internet. My only reservation about returning is that now I'm a wheelchair user, which may be a barrier to finding accommodation and exploring outside of Lerwick.

Gudrun Johnston, aka The Shetland Trader, was born in Shetland in the 1970s and her mum ran a design company on the island. Whilst Gudrun now lives in the US her heart is still in Shetland and her homeland inspires her designs. Book Two contains an amazing fair isle jumper called Northdale and the design on the book's front cover, Nikka Vord, has an intricately-patterned yoke.

My favourite sweater is Snarravoe, knitted in Jamieson & Smith Shetland Aran. It is knitted top down in one piece, with the sleeves and body separated at the underarm. The jumper is one colour only and has a lovely rib pattern. Knitting it in the round may be a challenge for me but it's certainly one worth rising to!

The book has nine beautifully-photographed patterns, modelled by two Shetland women. The book's foreword tells the reader about the models, location and the yarns featured.

Having now discovered Johnston's work I'll be taking a look at The Shetland Trader Book One. Join her Ravelry group here. Meanwhile I'll be browsing Jamieson & Smith's website to decide which colour to knit Snarravoe in, and armchair chair planning a trip to Shetland. If anyone does have any advice for a wheelchair-friendly holiday in Shetland that involves yarn for me and wildlife for my husband, I'd be very grateful if you could let me know below. Many thanks.

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