Published: 15 November 2018



The baby means I can date this jumper The baby means I can date this jumper
Perhaps I thought I'd knit these colours again Perhaps I thought I'd knit these colours again All that remains of this jumper I knitted and wore in the late 1970s is a tiny fragment cut out of it. It most likely got worn and mended until I could mend no more and the bulk of it probably ended up in the dog's bed.

I found the piece when searching for something else otherwise I probably would have forgotten all about it. I then found a photo of me wearing it so I was able to see that I offset the pattern (motif) so the dark section is either in the centre or at the edges of the pattern. This is one of the patterns I created when I got bored with the traditional patterns used when knitting Fair Isle yokes. It's 31 stitches and 31 rows so maybe it was used in a yoke in a large size garment. I call the pattern 'clock keys' as it reminds me of the key I use to wind my clock; winding a clock once a week used to be commonplace. I used this pattern in Hinnerley jumper pattern.

When I posted the photos on Instagram someone commented about the bright colour (green) being 'unusually off center'. This jumper has 9 colours - it looks more like 11 because the palest 2 pattern colours become background colours across the middle. Knitting with colour is a bit like painting a picture as you choose whether you're painting will have a light or a dark background. Here it is a light background so the pattern colours are darker. As the background gets darker and then lighter, the pattern colours get progressively darker and then lighter too (it's traditional for patterns to be mirrored). In this way you can always see the pattern shape.

Jamieson & Smith colourbox colours Jamieson & Smith colourbox colours That led me to looking at other colour choices I have made. These three were knitted for the book "Fair Isle Designs by Shetland Knitters, Volume 1", two with a dark background and one with a light background. I called the pattern Sandison. The one on the left was the first to be knitted and was a competition entry for Jamieson & Smith Colourbox competition where I had to use at least 5 of the 8 colours they had chosen. Which is the brightest colour is debatable - but I think it isn't in the middle. When writing patterns I like to give folk alternative colourways so knitters have a choice, or see enough suggestions to be able to put together their own colourways. Fewer colour choices are available in undyed yarn so the colours are not used in exactly the same way in that one. It was great to see a young lady - known as FabClaire on Ravelry - wearing this jumper at Shetland Wool Week 2018. Undyed organic yarn; colours used differently Undyed organic yarn; colours used differently Sandison yoke - the book needed something green! Sandison yoke - the book needed something green!


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About Shetland


Shetland is the most northerly group of Scottish islands. Apart from mainland Scotland, the other near neighbours are Norway to the east and the Faroe Islands to the north west.