I was feeling so tired this morning that I skipped breakfast and stayed in bed for a while.
Gillian, the owner of Shetland Art Company, was kind enough to let me drop by today and let her assistant, Mary, teach me fair isle knitting. Though it is Good Friday all the shops were open, which was rather nice since it's my last day in Lerwick.
Anyway, before going down to the shop, I stopped for a new rucksack at The Bag and Travel Shop just down the road. A strap on my old bag had snapped at the airport, so I had to have a new one before heading home.
So I met Mary; a very very nice lady in her early 60s. She claimed to be no expert but judging from the nearly finished garment she showed me, well, she wasn't no newbie either :)
We sat down in the middle of the shop - she had a small table at the end of some shelves we used. Mary grabbed a fair isle pattern from one of the shelves, I began knitting a rib just to have something to start off of.
The next couple of hours went by so quickly; me trying to knit the fair isle pattern Mary had laid out before me, and Mary telling me about fair isle patterns and colours.
Buttom right: The things I bought at the Shetland Art Company. Five balls of Patons Diploma Gold, a 4 ply wool/acrylic/nylon blend. A rosewood circular needle from Lantern Moon and a book on mittens :)
She also told me about how knitting had been a part of her life always. Her mother knit, her grandmother knit, and there used to be a wool mill run by her family as well. All very exiting!
I learned so many new things today, not only about fair isle knitting, but about life on the Shetland islands, e.g. that when Mary was a young girl they weren't allowed to speak anything but what was considered proper English in school - no Shetland dialect, so they always had to make an effort.
Mary was, I think, surprised that I knit continental style, mainly because she thought I was from England. I was then equally surprise when she said that she didn't knit English style as I had assumed. As it was done previously Mary uses a knitting belt! :) When I went to the Shetland Museum I saw one of those belts and again in the J&S shop. I believe many Shetland knitters still use them. I didn't know the first thing about knitting belts, so I was so pleased that Mary could, and not least, would show me how it works :)
Mary also showed me how she does fair isle knitting using a knitting belt.
I sat in the shop knitting as other costumers came and went - some of them thinking that I worked there :) Some had a glance at me knitting. And some seemed very interested in what I was knitting and how I was knitting. Everybody was so nice and friendly, and when I left Mary thanked me, which was a bit wrong :) I eagerly thanked her as well, because I had such a good time there, and all the things she told me where so very interesting. Thanks, Mary! :)