Those of you who have been to our shop in London will know about the lovely, cosy corner upstairs where, nestled in their own little cubby-holes, are over 100 different coloured 25-gram balls of pure, delicious, Shetland yarn. We’ve long been fans of this wonderfully traditional British wool; spun and dyed in the Shetland Isles, Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift is a 4-ply or fingering weight yarn that’s perfect for colourwork. Lucky for us, a new book has arrived that will put all these wonderful colours to good use – writer, designer and blogger Kate Davies’ Colours of Shetland.
As Kate says, “Through the pages of this book, you will get a taste of the heritage that makes Shetland one of the world’s most knitterly destinations, and be inspired to knit with yarn that has a genuine connection to the landscape in which it is produced.”
Kate’s patterns are a match made in heaven for Shetland yarns. In her book she takes five distinctive aspects of Shetland heritage and creates two patterns inspired by each.
Above is one of our favourites, the Northmavine Hap. This cleverly constructed hap shawl is inspired by the rugged landscape of its namesake location. Kate was influenced by the terrain and its colours, which you can see reflected in the colours she chose. There is also a lovely hooded cardigan with a similar striped colour pattern.
The glorious cardigan below is the perfect project to start now and have ready for cool spring days. It’s called Ursula, named for Ursula Venebles, a naturalist whose book is a favourite of Kate’s about the Shetland Isles. If you’re not ready to cast on an entire cardigan, there’s also an adorable pair of mittens with the same colourwork motif, which should get you through the rest of winter beautifully!
We’re thinking that these would make an equally beautiful colour scheme for the cardi or mitts:
One of the sweetest interludes of writing in Colours of Shetland is the chapter on puffins, the inspiration for a sweater and ‘mantle’ (or sort of small poncho), below:
Kate cleverly takes inspiration from the puffin’s colourful beak for this design, and also provides us with the history of puffin names from around Britain, the most charming of which must come from the Shetland Isles themselves, where they are known as Tammie Norries.
If you’re not already familiar with Kate’s designs, you’ll want to note that, as an academic with a doctorate in Eighteenth Century studies, she is often inspired by some historical or cultural icon or phenomenon. At Loop we carry her single patterns too, like these stunners which can all use Spindrift, plus many more!