Knitting is much in the minds of visitors to Shetland and rightly so. Our textile tour this week has four knitters on it, from the USA, France, Alderney and London.
So it is not surprising that we are talking all about knitting and yarns, and the car is laden with bags of wool and blankets, jumpers and the like. I will be the first to admit that I am not a knitter; weave is much more my thing and we only do weaving up in the North where the studio is based, but we are working on a sample which uses Fair Isle patterns and colours and attempting the crossover from knitwear to woven fabrics. We will let you all have a look at what we have made in a few months' time when we are ready with the sampling.
Of course knitting up here in the isles is, like weave, a tradition and so it is heartening to see that there are a few initiatives to support teaching young children handknitting. The launch of Peeriemakkers (dialect for "little knitters")who are seeking crowdfunding to do a pilot programme of handknitting in schools is very welcome, and the Shetland Wool Week team is also supporting knitting with classes. Across the islands people are volunteering to go into schools to teach knitting; in Whalsay there is a group of young knitters being taught by local volunteers while in Cullivoe, the community works with the local school to provide sessions in knitting, sewing and other textile crafts.
It is real community effort keeping things like crafts going. Both the Wool Brokers and Jamiesons sponsor yarns for classes, and other organisations are involved too. Fantastic to see. Congratulations everyone.