Book Review Fair Isle Shetland

A Shetlander’s Fair Isle Graph Book

img_0566I guess by now you may have realised that I am completely addicted to Fair Isle knitting in all its forms.  In fact I am even designing a pair of stranded socks at the moment.  Something I never thought I would do!

I’m not sure why or how my love affair started but the idea of having a lovely yarn in each hand and being able to create the most delicious patterns satisfies my love for knitting and for graphics as well.

Thanks to Phil at The Twisted Yarn blog I was alerted to an amazing bit of Fair Isle porn, recently published by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers – God bless them, each and every one – with some help from The Shetland Times.

Not only is A Shetlander’s Fair Isle Graph Book In Colour essential reading (or should that be viewing) for incurable stranders like me, but it is a wonderful snapshot of patterns from the past that we can all share.

The book is dedicated to the many women and girls who knitted at all hours of the day and night, in all conditions, to keep the knitwear industry supplied with quality, hand-crafted garments. Please take a moment to salute them!

img_0571Most of the patterns go back to the 1930s an 40s from two notebooks belonging to Bill Henry at Anderson & Co, although he probably didn’t design the patterns.  The book tells us more about the company and the knitters that worked there as well as explaining where and how the patterns might have been used.

What follows is page after page of colourful designs mapped out on graph paper, some pages with dates or notes – a loving facsimile of the original books.  From simple 3 stitch and four row repeats to complex patterns often involving 3 colours on one row,  the designs from notebook one are a brilliant resource.

Notebook two gives a little more information showing which designs were for gloves (front and back), Norwegian inspired designs and which complemented clan tartans.

I could go on and on about the wonders of this publication but I won’t.  All I will say is you can buy it here.



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