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A family Fair Isle

by ysoldateague December 02, 2013


I spent the weekend ‘up North’ visiting my mum’s family. We got together to celebrate her oldest brother’s birthday on Friday night in Glencoe – it’s the first time this many of us have gotten together for years. I always think I look more like my dad’s family, but there’s a pretty strong resemblance here – aren’t we cute? Maybe one day we’ll even manage to get a picture without some of the boys missing!

The next morning we took a quick walk up to this beautiful lochan, but although the rest of Glencoe is equally stunning the weather forecast was terrible so my mum and I headed North with one of her sisters.


That turned out to be an excellent idea. First of all, Sunday was a gorgeous day, even if our hiking turned out to be of the rather lazy, lets start with a leisurely breakfast kind.

Secondly, my aunt dug out a couple of Fair Isle jumpers to show me.

The first is an allover patterned one that her twin sister knit for her. The story behind it is that it’s a copy of a jumper that Mary acquired while in Shetland – someone gave her a lift and when she admired his jumper and asked if there was somewhere she could find a pattern he gave it to her (not sure if his mum or whoever knitted it was very happy about that!). And then she knit this one for her twin sister. It’s a little small for me – the sleeves are pushed up because they’re much to short, I’m both taller and a larger size than Frances so I suspect part of it is that if the body was looser the sleeves would drop down further (the major risk with changing the intended ease of a garment). I’m not usually a fan of allover Fair Isle pullovers / cardigans, the vast majority are just far too busy for my taste, but this one might have completely changed my mind. Part of it could be that I suspect my family shares a genetic sense of colour and visual balance. I may have to make one inspired by it – and the idea of that chain of garments is rather lovely in itself.

Both of the twins studied knitting in Shetland, and I have another jumper to show you that Frances knit – the best part is that I get to keep that one.

We took these pictures this afternoon close to my studio on Broughton Street, it’s a fantastic area for present shopping if you find yourself looking for gifts from independent shops and makers in the area. Speaking of presents, the hat I’m wearing is one of my oldest designs: Gretel.My mum made this one, but despite a clear memory of giving her the yarn I haven’t got the faintest idea what it is. Need a cosy hat, for yourself or a quick gift? Use the coupon code ‘family’ or click here to enjoy a 25% discount on the pattern (valid until Dec 9th).

I’m also hoping to make it along to this open studio eventon Sunday. It’s also on on Saturday but I can’t go then because I’ll be busy signing books at The Woolly Brew in Pittenweem (a place I’ve never been, despite it having such a great name). Do come say hello if you’re anywhere nearby – I think The Rhinebeck Sweater would make a great present, and there’s nothing wrong with buying your own presents either!


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