Published: 18 September 2016

Lumbercoats and other garments

zip fronted lumbercoat zip fronted lumbercoat After a recent blog I was asked to explain the word 'lumbercoat'. A lumbercoat is, traditionally in my part of Shetland, a front opening garment for the top of a body which fastens up to a round neck. I seem to think only women wore lumbercoats for I don't think I ever heard that term used in association with a man's garment - perhaps someone will correct me. I am not sure if a man's zip front with a round neck would be called a lumbercoat, a jacket or something else. A cardigan, I believe, describes a front opening garment with a V neck. Jumper or gansey are the usual words in Shetland to mean what others would call a sweater. AOFI is used to describe all over fair isle, usually for jumpers and cardigans but can also describe gloves.

I recently paid a very too brief a visit to Tangwick Haa Museum in Eshaness and saw some examples of lumbercoats, and lots of other knitting. This museum is run by volunteers and opens between mid April until the end of September so it is open during Shetland Wool Week. It is an interesting small museum, with permanent exhibitions as well as some which change each season. There is a lot for a knitter to look at, including looking through the old school photos to see how many children were wearing hand knits. There is plenty for knitters' companions to enjoy too.

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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.