Every time Hazel Tindall (world’s fastest knitter) sends me something in the post for review, it snows. It snowed when her brilliant DVD of knitting advice arrived, and it snowed again months ago when a parcel containing this new book flolloped through the letterbox and onto the doormat. This, despite the fact that it hardly ever snows here.
You might argue that a sample of two has very little scientific validity, but I love snow and I’m sticking to my theory that THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. I’m very curious to see what happens weather-wise if she ever sends me something in July. In the meantime, shall we get on with the book review?
In case you haven’t yet had the pleasure, allow me to introduce Fair Isle Designs From Shetland Knitters, Volume 1, by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, published by The Shetland Times, Ltd. (I love the ‘Vol 1’, because of its implication that there is more of this loveliness to come.) It’s been out for a few months, but I wanted to make one of the patterns before I wrote this review.
To give you a brief overview, it’s a collection of 15 Fair Isle patterns by 15 different Shetland women, all of whom are members of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. So as you might expect, the collection comprises a great variety of objects, from garments and accessories, to an iPad cover and a gift bag.
There’s also variety in the style of the projects. Whilst some might be regarded as highly traditional:-
…others break free a little:-
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The book begins with a brief (very brief) summary of advice relevant to Fair Isle knitting. If this is your first ever foray into the wonderful world of stranded knitting, you might need a tiny bit more help than is given here on topics such as steeking.
I decided to make Ina Irvine’s Clover Brimmed Hat (pictured above, in the book), using some Rowan Felted Tweed that was left over from another project. It was a pleasure to knit this thing, and it’s a beautiful design.
There is a tiny mistake in the pattern. (Row 2 should read the same as Row 1), but otherwise all was well. I like my hat! OK, it still needs a proper robust blocking over a dinner-plate to achieve the baker-style effect, but I couldn’t wait to show you:-
The book is beautifully laid out and photographed. You’ll love it if you’re an experienced knitter who wants an exuberant celebration of Shetland’s beauty and knitting heritage.
Fair Isle Designs From Shetland Knitters, Vol 1, by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, is available now, published by The Shetland Times Ltd., UK price £21.99. Yes I received my copy for free, so clearly you cannot trust a single word that I say.