Still Baa-bling on…

I think I have now just about recovered from Shetland Wool Week although it has taken a while!  This year Ella Gordon‘s lovely Crofthoose hat was the official hat for the event; last year it was the Baa-ble hat and I still often get asked where to get it.

It can be downloaded from Ravelry for a small fee (the pattern was free while it was the official hat).



The hat pattern is written for one size (average sized adult) but I have written instructions of how to adapt the pattern for children (bairns as we call them in Scotland!).  You can find those instructions here.  The hat is knitted in a fairly tight gauge (to keep those northern winds out) and some people have had trouble getting the required gauge.  You can also use these instructions to make your hat a bit smaller.

But remember  – it is very important to do a gauge swatch (for all patterns I might add).  I am as guilty as anyone of not doing one especially with something as small as a hat – but I have seen several people complaining their hat has turned to too big but its not if you knit it at the gauge written in the pattern.


Different sizes of Baa-ble hats

It has been such an amazing experience seeing so many of you knitting the Baa-ble hat – as I am writing this there are an incredible 5807 projects on Ravelry!  Last year it was amazing to see the hats being made for attendees to wear at festivals such as the Rhinebeck festival which incidentally takes place in New York State this weekend.

All I can say is THANK YOU for knitting!

I am eventually finding the time to work on a range of matching accessories and other Baa-ble inspired patterns – look out for a cowl and mittens patterns coming very soon…




Shetland Wool Week 2016

I can’t believe it is over a week since I taught my last class during Shetland Wool Week.  It was an extremely busy week and it seems to have taken a bit of time to get back to normal – I only unpacked the suitcase I carried my samples and books in this afternoon!

img_3047Some of the merchandise from this year – a notebook and tea towel with a sheep design by Natty Maid and my Sanik Shawl (the pattern is in the Shetland Wool Week Annual Volume 2)

I have very few photos of the week itself – was teaching every day and kept forgetting to take my camera with me (so many other things to think about!).

img_3012Hard at work during the Mug Cosy class

My classes included a Mug Cosy, where knitting in the round with two colours and steeking were two of the things covered, traditional Shetland haps and Shades of Shetland where we used the colours from a photo of the South lighthouse in Fair Isle to knit a Fair Isle swatch.  I enjoyed doing two full day classes together with Joanna Hunter Coe of Joanna Hunter Knitwear and Ninian; in the morning Joanna guided the class participants through creating mood boards and choosing colours which in the afternoon they used to knit a Fair Isle swatch.  We were all even treated to Joanna’s tattie soup (a traditional Shetland potato and vegetable soup made on salt beef) and bannocks made by Mabel (Joanna’s Mum)!

img_0502Finished Mug Cosy

img_3028A swatch inspired by a photo of the South Lighthouse in Fair Isle in the Shades of Shetland class.

Since I was teaching more of less full-time and still had day to day things to do at home, I didn’t experience many of the amazing events going on.  I did make it to Ella Gordon‘s talk on Monday evening though (in case you don’t know Ella was patron of Shetland Wool Week this year and designed the Crofthoose hat we have seen all over Shetland last week).  Ella was speaking about being a knitter in Shetland.  She spoke about her inspirations and touched on many important subjects affecting the textile industry in Shetland at the moment such as large companies using the concept of Shetland to promote their own mass produced garments.  She discusses this in her blogpost here.

I also made it to the Baltic knitting night at the museum on the Thursday evening, Outi Kater was speaking about the inspiration for her work.  She grew up in Finland and now lives in Shetland and although her work clearly reflects her origin, Shetland features strongly too.

DSC02325.JPGThis is Outi’s pattern, Polar Star mittens I made last year.

You can see Outi speaking about her work and inspiration on the Fruity Knitting Podcast Episode 14 (the same one I am on!).

We were also treated to a talk by Kristi Joeste who is from Estonia and concentrates on knitting Estonian mittens and gloves, both in the traditional patterns and she creates new designs which are inspired by the traditional ones.  The samples she showed us were outstanding as well as very inspirational.  Kate Davies writes a great review of Kristi’s book  here.   I don’t have a copy yet, but it is certainly on my wish list.

I would like to thank Misa Hay and the staff of Promote Shetland for organising such an amazing event and also thank you to everyone who visited, came to classes and just showed an interest in the event – maybe see you next year!



Fruity Knitting Podcast

Shetland Wool Week is almost at an end, I have been very busy teaching every day but it has been great to catch up with so many people, friends old and new (I will write about the week shortly).

In the meantime you can hear me speaking about Shetland Wool Week, the history of Shetland knitting and some of my designs on the latest episode of the Fruity Knitting podcast.  The podcast is by Andrea Doig and her husband Andrew, Australians living in Germany, and they cover a wide range of knitting related subjects.  Finnish born Shetlander Outi Kater features in the section “Knitters of the World” and you can hear her speaking about the inspiration for her designs.

You can read the programme notes here.


Thank you for featuring Shetland Andrea!

The Good Years Hat

It’s a while since I wrote my last blog post, the summer holidays now seem like months ago and I am trying to get into a new routine with the boy being at school now for full days.  It seems very strange but I have lots of projects on the cards and I have just released my latest pattern this morning, The Good Years Hat.


It uses a repeated zig zag pattern that forms a very satisfying star at the crown due to the zig zags converging into the centre.

Anyone who has knitted the Shallmillens Snood will notice that the zig zag repeat is the same as one of the sections, so you could knit it to match.


I have knitted it in black and cream to match the snood but it would look great in many different colour options.

While I was knitting the crown I was listening to music, I have a selection of songs on shuffle in a playlist.  “The Good Years” by Karine Polwart came on and I pressed repeat several times (as I do sometimes much to the annoyance of others).  The opening line is “Wherever you are, you shall be my Star”.   I decided that the hat had to be named after that song.  I have had the pleasure of meeting Karine several times, her music is among the best you will ever hear in my opinion and she is a lovely person too.

You can find out more about Karine’s music here.

To purchase The Good Years Hat you can do so on Ravelry here.

It’s only a week until Shetland Wool Week starts so its getting very exciting around here!


Croft Hoose Hat

This year’s official hat pattern for Shetland Wool Week is the Croft Hoose hat designed by this year’s patron Ella Gordon (you can download the pattern for free from the Shetland Wool Week website).


I made the hat using yarn from my stash, I have a very large stash of Shetland jumper weight yarn as I have inherited a lot of it and of I have a lot I have bought just because I am passing the shop and I don’t have a particular colour (doesn’t everyone do that?).

DSC05792 (4).JPGThe pattern is a very clever way of mixing traditional Fair Isle knitting techniques with a contemporary design.  I really enjoyed knitting it as the little hooses grew really fast and beforeIu knew it I was putting the lums (chimneys) on.

Several people have asked over on Instagram and Facebook what colours I have used.  Good question!  As a lot of my stash is really old, many of the colours and yarn companies don’t exist any more.  So I have given the nearest colours for yarn from both Jamieson’s of Shetland and Jamieson and Smith.

Jamieson’s of Shetland:

Shetland Black 101, Ivory 343, Mooskit 106, Thyme 226, Burnt Umbre 1190, Paprika, 261

Jamieson and Smith:

Shetland Black 2005, Off white 202, Fawn 2, Brown FC44, Orange 122, Rust FC38

The only change I made to the pattern was I left out the decrease row just before the crown decreases as I prefer a slouchy beret style hat.  I am very pleased with how it turned out and am sure it will get a lot of wear.

The first photo was taken by my good friend Kate, she has spent several weeks in Shetland gathering stories from fishermen.  We have had lots of interesting discussions and of course knitting, she is on her way back home to Maine and she will be a huge miss, Bon Voyage Kate!

Here we are knitting at Uyea, which is four miles from the main road at North Roe in Shetland, and is such a beautiful spot.  We were fortunate to be able to get a seat in a land rover so it meant we didn’t have to humph the picnic thing on our backs there and back.

me and kate

It was worldwide knitting in public day, there weren’t a huge number of the public to be seen other than a few other walkers and tourists and lots of sheep!  The hat Kate is wearing is her own design based on gannets, I am glad to see she has been inspired while in Shetland!

On a side note, this week I am taking over the Shetland Wool Week Instagram account where I will be sharing some of my inspiration and wool related pictures.  Hope to see you there!

DSC05785 (3).JPG







Houlland 2

It’s really good to see all your Houlland projects on Ravelry, there are a range of beautiful colours being made.

I have made another, this time in Ultra lace weight yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland in colour eesit.  It’s lovely and soft as it is 50% wool and 50% lambswool.





The pattern Houlland is available in The Book of Haps by Kate Davies.

There are two KALs for projects from the book running at the moment (that I know of anyway), one in Jen Arnall-Culliford’s group and one in the KnitBritish group over on Ravelry.  I thought that would be a good thing to join in with and I have cast on another Houlland in jumper weight Shetland yarn, it will work in that weight but it will be slightly larger than the original. I am using yarn on the cone that I bought from a sale, there are no details about the origin or colour but I love it, and fancy a Houlland in this colour to wear myself.  The same evening I also cast on Theme and Variation from the book, using another cone of yarn I got at the sale; maybe I am being a bit ambitious as I already have several projects on the go at the moment, but I hope to get some knitting done over the summer holidays.


HAP-py Knitting!



Rhubarb and Apple Crumble Slices

One of the few vegetables we can grow in Shetland without really trying is rhubarb.  We have had three patches in our yard all my life and it’s still going strong so it’s always good to find new things to do with it other than crumble or jam.


There is often discussion between other rhubarb growers here about recipes and I have noticed a few people on Instagram looking from recipes so I thought I would share this one.

This tray bake combines apples and rhubarb which are stewed together, spread on top of shortbread and then it is topped with crumble.

It is delicious served warm with ice cream or cream as a pudding or cut into squares when it has cooled and served as a cake.




8 oz (225g) rhubarb (roughly 3 large stalks, trimmed), cut into 2 cm pieces.

6 oz (175g) eating apples (roughly 2 small ones, peeled and sliced)

2 oz (50g) caster sugar

2 teaspoons water


Place all of the filling ingredients in a pan and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb and apples are soft.  Leave to cool slightly.



5 oz (150g) porridge oats

9 oz (250g) plain flour

4 oz (100g) caster sugar

6 oz (175g) butter


Preheat oven to 180C (fan 160C) and line a 25cm (9.5 inch) square tin with greaseproof paper.

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Melt the butter and pour into the dry mixture to form a crumble mix.  Press half of this into the tin and press down firmly.  Spread on the rhubarb and apple filling.  Spread the rest of the crumble mixture on top and press down lightly.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until it is golden brown.