Sunday 28 October 2018

Shetland Wool Week Annual 2018 Review

The fourth Shetland Wool Week Annual, released during Shetland Wool Week in September, continues the festival's tradition of bringing together designers to celebrate the Scottish island's vibrant current knitting scene, combining traditional skills with a contemporary twist.

The 2018 Annual contains 12 patterns. Here's my choice of four which really stand out:

Image courtesy of Shetland Wool Week
Tree Yoke Jumper by Alyssa Malcolmson

A Woolly Yarn featured the Annual's cover pattern in our Six Yoke Jumper Patterns To Covet.

Malcolmson says 'In a traditional Shetland yoke jumper there is almost always a Ferm pattern between each star pattern. I have always seen the era as a tree and I love how simple but effective it is. 

I decided I wanted a yoke jumper that included only the tree, and after a lot of charting I finally got a pattern that I was happy with. I decided to put dots throughout the body and sleeves of the jumper because it adds a little ore texture and breaks up all the plain knitting."  

The yellow gold body colour really pops against the grey shade in the yoke. It's my favourite out of the 12 designs in the annual and is on my 'to knit ' list.

Lunna Mitts by Anne Eunson

These mitts provide a great contrast to the heavier wool designs one might expect from Shetland knitwear (although of course lace shawls, or 'haps', are also a local speciality). They're knitted in Jamieson's of Shetland Ultra yarn (lace weight). In the Annual Eunson explains the inspiration behind the pattern. "The Print an' the Wave is a traditional Shetland lace pattern and one of my favourites. With the gently waving lace running up the back of the hand and pulling the cast-on edge into soft waves of its own, these classic mitts need no other decoration."

Image courtesy of Shetland Wool Week
Merrie Dancers Toorie by Elizabeth Johnston

Johnston was 2018's Shetland Wool Week patron and she designed the Merrie Dancers Toorie hat especially for the event. The free pattern was released in March but it's also available in the 2018 Annual for those who missed the download.  

Says Johnston: "My Merrie Dancers Toorie (knitted hat) is based on a fisherman's keep on a display at Shetland Museum and Archives' Boat Hall. It was knitted about 1950 by an old woman from the island of Yell, who remembered patterns knitted by the womenfolk for the fishermen in her family.  

Such keps were worn when the men rowed to the far have (deep sea fishing grounds) in large open boats."

Autumn Mitts by Marcia Galvin

Image courtesy of Shetland Wool Week
These mitts would be a great hand warmer for in-between weather when it's not quite cold enough to wear full mittens or gloves. 

The chevron pattern is relatively simple to knit but really stands out. 

When asked out about her inspiration for the pattern, Galvin said it was her favourite season. "Autumn is an exciting time for the knitting community, as the cooler temperatures mean we can bring out our knitwear. 

The colours of my Autumn mitts remind me of family forest walks back home in England and collecting berries for home-made jams and pies. You can choose colours to remind you of your own happy memories."
There's more to the Annual, however, than the patterns. Turn to the back to read essays on the early 20th century herring boom in Lerwick; The Crofthouse Museum; rearing organic native Shetland sheep on the small island of Vaila; and the organisation dedicated to raising Shetland's next generation of knitters. 

The Annual costs £19 plus P&P directly from Shetland Wool Week's website

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