Discover Shetland Knitting

Fans of Shetland knitting won’t want to miss the Interweave Yarn Fest 2018 keynote speaker Elizabeth Johnston. Elizabeth is Shetland’s expert knitter, and on Friday, April 13 from 6:00–9:00 p.m., she will share stories of life as a native of Scotland. She is skilled in spinning, knitting, dyeing, and weaving, but her Shetland knitting is what PieceWork adores most. For more on Yarn Fest, visit

If you want to explore deeper into the world of Shetland knitting and Shetland history, see the 2014 PieceWork Collection on CD. Shetland seemed to be a bustling topic in 2014, as it still is today, and the issues from the year have many interesting Shetland-inspired stories.

For instance, in PieceWork May/June 2014, Evelyn A. Clark recreates and shares a pattern inspired by a Shetland shawl that was purchased at a jumble sale in England in the 1980s. Although its original origin is unknown, it is clear that it is knit in somewhat traditional Shetland style with garter stitch in Shetland 2-ply wool with a center square and border. Evelyn’s project, the Rachel Lace Shawl, is based on this mystery shawl and includes a variation of Old Shale lace.

Shetland knitting

The Rachel Lace Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark in PieceWork May/June 2014. Photo by Joe Coca.

Also in this issue is “Queen Victoria’s Unremitting Love for All Things Lace” by Christopher John Brooke Phillips. This story explores Queen Victoria’s obsession with lace, including the beloved Shetland items of her collection such as fine stockings that were presented to her by Arthur Anderson, a Shetland native and owner of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Debbie O’Neill recreates these stockings in her project Queen Victoria’s Stockings to Knit: A Modern Take, which keeps the spirit of traditional Shetland lace but adds a modern twist.

Shetland knitting

Queen Victoria’s Stockings to Knit: A Modern Take by Debbie O’Neill in PieceWork May/June 2014. Photo by Joe Coca.

For a piece of fascinating Shetland history, see “A Marriage of Convenience: Textile Archaeologists and Craftspeople Working Together” by Carol Christiansen in PieceWork January/February 2014. This explores the 2008 mission of the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick, Scotland to re-create clothing found on a man who was discovered in 1951 in a bog near Gunnister in Shetland where he had been buried in 1700. The clothing included a knitted cap.

Brush up on your Shetland knowledge to get the most of Elizabeth Johnston at Yarn Fest, and find more Shetland inspiration in these products:

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