Something to Knit With Aran

Do you ever get so excited about yarn that you want to pile it up and roll around in it? Or is that just me? Ever since Something to Knit With Aran arrived in the office back in May (yes, we really do work a long way in advance to get things ready for you!), I’ve been resisting the temptation to tip it all out and make myself a yarn nest. This new yarn is just so delightfully and irresistibly squishy and I love it to bits.

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Shetland Heritage Pattern Release

Well it's all go around here at the moment! Kate's book (Colours of Shetland) is now on sale (scroll to the bottom of this post to purchase a copy), and at some point next week, I shall tell you all about how much I enjoyed working on it! But today I'm delighted to share with you some work that I did over the summer...

Jamieson & Smith approached me earlier in the year to work with them on some patterns for their new Shetland Heritage yarn. I blogged about how much I liked the new yarn when it first went on sale, but now I'm delighted to be able to show you one of the patterns I've written for it.

© Jamieson & Smith

This is the Fair Isle V-Necked Jumper (it is not my own design!). I was asked to study some garments held in the collection of the Shetland Museum and Archives, and to create knitting patterns for them. So the design is the work of the unnamed knitter who created the original pieces. I've not changed the colourway, or the construction; I've just tried to recreate the design as closely as possible. This is thought to be a fashionable men's jumper from the early 1920s (rather than a fisherman's jumper).

While we were in Lerwick in July, I spent a day happily transcribing the patterns, and Jim even joined me to help out in the afternoon! There was such detail in the original pieces!

Shetland Museum & Archives1

The V-Necked Fair Isle jumper from which this pattern comes wasn't in the best condition. It had been worn and loved to pieces! Above you can see what remained of the sleeves.

Shetland Museum & Archives11

Even the body had been cut into pieces! In fact, when it was first laid out in front of me, it had appeared to be a cardigan...

Shetland Museum & Archives4

It wasn't until we laid the piece flat that it was clear that actually it was a jumper that had been cut open up the side seam.

Then began the meticulous task of transcribing the stitch patterns. The motifs appear in a fairly random arrangement, with many of them being knitted "incorrectly" in the lower portions of the body, and later repeated with the mistakes ironed out. Jim noticed that in the band of patterns where the neck split occurs, new motifs are introduced, and the gauge changed somewhat. So we speculated that perhaps more than one person was involved in making this sweater? Or perhaps it was put to one side for a while, and the knitter returned to it having improved their skills on other projects. It was fascinating how much you could guess from just looking at the remains of a jumper!

It was quite a task to decide how best to recreate the design - I took the rib pattern from the cuff fragment and used it at the welt, neck and sleeve cuffs, since the original garment had just a few rows of two-colour stocking stitch and it was curling badly.

In the interests of keeping the pattern to a manageable number of pages I felt it was best to repeat the design on front and back, so the arrangement of OXO motifs that you see on the front in the picture above is repeated on the back. I have tried to keep the feel of a sampler piece however, and resisted the temptation to cut down the number of different O designs. If you wanted to, you could easily adjust the pattern to use just one or two designs, or go the whole way and mix them up with your own patterns, making each one different!

The jumper has been sized to fit chests from 32 to 48 inches (81-122cm), and is only available as a kit directly from Jamieson & Smith: V-Necked Fair Isle Jumper

© Jamieson & Smith

I'm immensely grateful to Dr Carol Christiansen at the Shetland Museum & Archives for her assistance, as well as to Grace Williamson who did an amazing job of knitting up this jumper. Thank you both!