The Vintage Shetland Project, an interview with Susan Crawford

I’ve run into Susan Crawford in Shetland a few times over the last few years, and every time she’s been hurrying to or from the Shetland archive (or roping me into testing her renditions of vintage knitting projects — like a woolly swim suit in the Atlantic in October). I managed to pry a little bit about what she was working on out of her each time, but I was delighted to get a chance to really pick her brain about it in an interview. 

It turns out that Susan spent all of that time in the archive poring over vintage knitting projects, transcribing their stitch patterns and construction stitch by stitch and hunting for any related documentary evidence or living people who could provide context for the project. That investigation has culminated in a book of reproduction multi-size patterns plus the story of each garment and the people who knitted, wore, loved and mended them. 

A note: I went back and forth on whether to format this as audio or video. It’s definitely not a documentary (although if Susan has any energy left after the huge book project I’d love to watch one about vintage Shetland knitting!) and you could just listen to it, but in the end I decided video was worth it because it’s a chance to see a couple of the pieces from the collection.  

You can find more information about the book and the crowdfunding campaign at