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Published: 06 March 2018

Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters, Volume 1

Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters Off and on, over the past 14 months, as a volunteer for Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, I have been working on new books. At first we thought it would be just one book but we were advised that too many patterns makes for a heavy book and issues with postage. Therefore two volumes are in the making. "Fair Isle Designs from Shetland knitters, Volume 1" is almost ready, and we are nearing the end of having the contents of Volume 2 technically edited. Jim and Jen at Arnall-Culliford Knitwear are technical editors of both books. 

A small group of Guild members was tasked with getting the book contents ready for publication. We knew we wanted to rank the patterns according to difficulty, as we did in "A Legacy of Shetland Lace", so that knitters can ascertain which patterns suit their level of ability and experience, or they can start with the easier patterns and progress to the more difficult ones. Once we decided to split the patterns into 2 books we had to choose which would go in each volume. In both volumes we wanted to have a mix of difficulty levels, use yarns from all the bigger producers in Shetland and have patterns for using small amounts of yarn left from other projects.

I have been writing patterns for a few years but most of the other Guild members who contributed patterns have little or no experience of written instructions - it is much more fun to get on with knitting the next project than it is to record how to replicate something already knitted. My task was to prepare the written instructions for technical editing and liaise with Jim and Jen. Once the editing had been done, test knitters were given the instructions. They were asked to carefully check yarn quantities and to ask questions if they were puzzled. This helped ensure that some close-up photos are also included.

photography photography On a glorious summer day Linda and I spent time with photographer Dave Donaldson. As we had coffee and Dave looked at the projects for the first time, our cover model came on a visit with her parents. She behaved perfectly and I think that set the tone for the day and we got some stunning shots. Choosing which photos to use in the book was not easy.

Once all the writing, charts and photos were gathered everything was sent to the publishers, The Shetland Times Ltd, whose staff worked their magic. A few sets of proofs went back and fore before printing could begin. In the end I am really pleased to have collaborated to create an attractive, usable book, and particularly pleased to have the endorsements from Kate Davies and Juliet Bernard. The book can be pre-ordered by visiting The Shetland Times Bookshop.

Now to Volume 2! Back cover Back cover

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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.