knitting

Gallery

More information about my knitting projects can be found on my Ravelry project page

Unless otherwise stated the items are my own design.

Lerwick Headbands
These started as a present for one of our daughters and ended up being made for sale at a couple of local Christmas Markets. Each is hand knitted with Shetland wool from Jamiesons. The fair isle pattern is a classic X and O one and is the same on each but each colour way is different . 

The remaining stock can be found on the items for sale page. 

Custom orders can be discussed via the contact page. 

Dec 2019


North Atlantic Native Sheep / Northern European Short Tailed Sheep Blanket

A gift of three skeins of Tuath by Uist Wool inspired this project blanket. Tuath was a DK blend made especially for the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference 2018, held in Uist. It was a bland of 10 of the afore mentioned sheep breeds; Hebridean, Soay, Boreray, North Ronaldsay, Manx Loaghton, Shetland, Faroese, Villsau, Icelandic and Gotland. The nuances of the natural colours of the different breeds make this a particularly beautiful natural shade yarn. 

As I wondered what to make with them an idea began to form. Why not a blanket, made of individual squares, the Tuath being used for the centre of the blanket and then squares of the individual breeds making the surrounding squares? I already had a lovely dark grey Shetland from a friend's flock, some North Ronaldsay from The Wool Shed in Orkney, Hebridean from Croft 29 on Skye, Gotland from The Little Grey Sheep, Manx Loaghton from Ardalanish Mill, Icelandic from Blackisle Yarns and 

some handspan Villsau which I had purchased from Manndalen Husflidslag, North Norway, last summer. The Boreray was easily sourced from Blacker Yarns and that just left the Soay and Faroese to find. The Soay eventually came from a work colleague's small flock and was hand spun by a friend. It ended up being quite rough, thick spun fibre but I worked with it and after washing it softened greatly and the squares are very characterful. The Faroese I eventually sourced from Sirritogv via a French yarn shop called Laine des Iles

As the yarns all have slightly different characteristics despite being from the same family of sheep I decided to make each square with a crochet centre, picking up the crochet edge to knit out with stocking stitch and litres corners and finishing with 5 rounds of moss (seed) stitch before casting off each square. If the yarn was thicker than DK I knitted a few less rows. I blocked each square to just over 9" ( 23cm). two squares were made up of smaller squares in order to not waste any precious limited yarn. I hand sewed all the squares together with the Tuath using a whip stitch with through the outer edge of the cast off (right sides together) and then bound the whole blanket with a 5 stitch i-cord edge on a larger needle size. 

To say I love this blanket is an understatement. I have carried squares of this around with me for months as a very portable project and each individual wool brought a new pleasure and texture. I love the range of natural colours and the weight and drape of it. My middle daughter has drawn the sheep for it and I will be making a print to go with the blanket so that when it is passed on everyone will know the richness of the story and not be fooled into thinking its just a 'brown wooly blanket'. 

20th Oct 2019


Hamnavoe Sweater

Photos taken by the lighthouse at Hamnavoe in August 2019.

The design for this jumper for my husband was inspired by the wool itself. The wool is Donna Smith's Langsoond wool, shetland wool from the isle of Burra, Shetland. Just as with the Meal Beach Hap, I wanted to design something inspired by the area the wool comes from. My husband loves the sea and lighthouses so I used the lighthouse at Hamnavoe, Burra as the inspiration. The jumper has a saddle shoulder and blocks of the natural wool colours with textured panels at the chest front and back which mimic the panelling on the lighthouse. The purl bumps of contrast white reflect the scattered rocks around the lighthouse and two tirricks (artic terns) are swiss darned on to one sleeve. 

20th Oct 2019 (jumper finished May 2019)

Fugla Ness Lighthouse, Hamnavoe, Burra, Shetland 


Fun A Day Dundee "Ode to Wool" cardigan
January is Fun a Day month in Dundee. I decided after last year's exhibition that I would knit a jumper for 2019 FunADayDundee, knitting a stripe, or band, a day. I did not want to overplan it or overthink it but a few days before the 1st of January and the start date I decided that I would specifically use wool grown, spun, produced and marketed here in Britain, to a) showcase British wools and b) show how good the provenance of wool can be. I had a good selection in my stash, I bought a few extra as I did some research and found some more very local wools. I laid the wools out on the floor and got started. I knew some days would have a lot of time for knitting, some very little. I did not allow myself to plan more than one day ahead, choosing the next days wool for colour and texture. It was a bit of a rabbit hole and the discipline of doing a different band a day, and only one band a day for 31 days kept it from becoming an overwhelming project. I managed to include 31 breeds of sheep in the cardigan, not all officially British breeds, but all completely sourced in Britain. The cardigan will be shown in the Fun a Day Dundee exhibition on 22nd - 24th March 2019 (same weekend as Edinburgh Yarn Festival). 

The sheep in the photos are Ryeland sheep (seen before in the vest top and child's tunic) and they are in Day 6's stripe. The details of each day are in the text box below. The full story can be found on my Instagram account for each day of January. (See the tiled photo on the right)

11th Feb 2019

Day/sheep breed/producer

1/shetalnd/blackisleyarns 2/border leicester/doultonborderleicesteryarn 3/hebridean & cheviot/BirlinnYarn  4/shetland/jamieson&smith  5/scottish blackface,shetland,southdown/LifeLongYarns  6/ryeland/private  7/scottish blackface, cheviot, cross breeds/Harris Tweed Wool  8/North Ronaldsay/bought in Stromness at Quernstone  9/Wensleydale, Teeswater, Black Leicester Longwool, Cotswold, Cornish Mule/Blacker Yarns  10/Lleyn/springfieldfarm, Kinross  11/shetland/cockairney farm, Kinross  12/wensleydale & shetland/the knitting goddess  13/castlemilk moorit/Blacker Yarns  14/herdwick/crookabeckherdwicks  15/hebridean, zwartbles, exmoor blue face/daughter of a shepherd  16/shetland/donna smith designs and lammermuir wool  17/red fox/crookabeck herdwicks  18/hebridean/croft 29  19/jacob/Kintaline farm  20/zwartbles/downiemill zwartbles and blue faced leicester/ardalanish mill  21/shetland/jamiesonsofshetland  22/texel cross/balgove   23/swaledale/crookabeck herdwicks  24/icelandic/blackisle yarns  25/merino/uist wool  26/manx loaghton/ardalanish mill  27/shetland/hawkshaw sheep  28/gotland/the little grey sheep  29/blue faced leicester & masham/bordertart  30/blue faced leicester & north country mule/the knitting goddess   31/soay, boreray, shetland/blacker yarns 


Hawkshaw Wild Vest
This vest top was inspired by the wool I bought from Hawkshaw Sheep at Perth Festival of Yarn 2018, a beautiful DK weight in a moorit colour which Sue calls mochachino which she had also hand dyed with beautiful bright colours which are muted by the undertones of the natural brown. I deliberated for some time over how best to use the mini skeins of colour without using stranded colour work (which would mean some was lost in the floats on the reverse) or simple stripes which I felt would be too harsh for what I wanted. One day I found this slip stitch pattern in a book from the local art school library and I knew it was perfect. The overall effect is of tufted grasses on moorland: perfect for this beautiful Shetland wool from the Borders. It was knitted bottom up and has a lace hem. The armholes and neck are finished with an í-cord edge to keep it simple. I used different needle sizes to get the shaping rather than disrupt the 10 stitch pattern repeat. 


Waterfall Cardigan
This project was my first attempt at mixing weave and knit for a garment. Please see the weaving page for details. I used a shetland lace pattern for the sleeves which are knitted with lace weight shetland wool from Hawkshaw Sheep using the shetland lace pattern, 'Da print o da wave' (also known as Da print and da wave (The print and/of the wave). 


My KnitBritish #naturesshadesalong jumper
When Louise Scollay announced that she was running a ‘natures shades along’ to run through July and August I went straight to planning. If you have not heard of her you can find her at her website knitbritish.com promoting the use of local wool via her blog, podcast and social media accounts. She was also a founder of the Wovember campaign, a major push to celebrate wool for what it is. Louise is originally from Shetland and one of my favourite episodes of her podcast is still episode 30 when she visits Jamiesons of Shetland
Louise instigated the natures shades along to challenge people to make (be it knit, crochet or weave) a wearable item using natural shades of british wool (or wool local to where you are). If you'd like to see the results you can look for the #naturesshadesalong on Instagram or, if you have access, take a look through the Natures Shades finished objects thread on the Knitbritish Ravelry Group
I knew immediately that I wanted to use all the natural shades (7) of the Jamieson and Smith heritage range and make a jumper which spoke of the shetland origins of the wool blending lace work with colourwork in a traditional yoked jumper. 

Meal Beach Hap
Inspired by the stunning Meal Beach in Burra, Shetland and using Donna Smith's Langsoond wool. The sea colours are from Jamieson's of Shetland. The natural shade of Donna's shetland wool forms the base of the hap in a garter stitch with some lace highlights to reflect the patterns in the sand. The hap then expands into the sea colours using the Old Shale pattern and the edge is finished with a lace border with a little cable twist inspired by the gentle rolling landscape around this beautiful beach. 


Piperton Ryeland vest top
This was made for a colleague who owns two Ryeland sheep. Last year she sent three year's worth of fleeces to The Natural Fibre Company to be spun. I drafted this pattern for her so she can wear her sheep and smile. The centre front cable, two side cable and the back cable patterns are from Nora Gaughan's "Knitted Cable Source Book". It will be lovely when she and her daughter are wearing their jumpers from their very own sheep (see Ryeland Wee Envelope below). 

I love to work with wool with good provenance and especially when I have actually met the sheep.


Tour of the Isles 
A jumper reflecting the Scottish Islands and their wool. The neck and yoke represent Shetland with the traditional tree patterns and X's and O's. This part was knitted in Jamieson's of Shetland  aran weight, natural colours.
The mid section was inspired by fisherman's ganseys, with cables, trees (again) and other motifs all knitted with North Ronaldsay wool which i bought years ago while visiting that island during a holiday in Orkney..
Then finally (I knit top down) the Hebridean section. This is knitted in a simple lace style reminiscent of a hap which they also used in the western isles. The dark wool is pure hebridean from Croft29. This wool is from the croft of the sister-in-law of a friend of mine. I added a little of the paler North Ronaldsay wool to this section to highlight the waves of the Old Shale pattern. A traditional hap edging edges the bottom hem of the jumper. I do hope to develop this concept using finer wool. 


Hermaness vest
Another Shetland inspired knit, this time a tank top for my husband based on the colours at Hermaness Nature reserve on the northerly island of Unst, Shetland. The traditional pattern is a little muted by the way I put the colours together. The orange highlights represent the puffins which gather round here in the summer and the blue is for the sea (though my husband insists it is the old Northlink blue). Once again the wool is from Jameson's of Shetland, this time spindrift. I started knitting this while on holiday in Shetland and actually took my swatches to Hermaness to check them against the scenery. 

The photo on the walkway up from Meal Beach was taken by Hannah Mason. 


Ryeland Wee Envelope 

A special wee knit for the daughter of the owner of these gorgeous Ryeland sheep. I based the design on Ysolda's Wee Envelope but made it more tunic like and added pockets with intarsia sheep on them. The yarn for the jumper comes from her very own sheep and the lighter wool for the pockets is from the mother flock, Rosedean Ryelands. I lined the pockets with a pink shetland wool. 


Burra Tunic
A tunic inspired by the stunning island of Burra on the west of Shetland. This island captured our hearts back in 2005 - the rolling landscape, the sea and voes seen on either side as you drive or walk along the undulating single track roads, the tirricks (arctic terns) rising up from the ground if you go near their nests in the summer. I used a lativian braid to represent the single track roads, a textured stitch for the rough ground landscape and stranded work for the tirricks. What makes it even more special is that it was made with Donna Smith's Langsoond wool which comes from sheep from Burra itself. 


Gulberwick
Inspired by many happy stays in Gulberwick, near Lerwick. This top has a little bit of lace and a little bit of colour work to echo the pebbles on the beach in Gulberwick Bay. There's also a little bit of purple in homage to the chalet we used to stay in. 


Peerie Beads and Diamonds scarf with Soay

Another special knit for a friend who has rare breed Soay sheep. Last year's fleeces went to the Natural Fibre Company to be blended in with the Blacker Yarn's St Kilda  lace weight. So I made her a lace scarf using the Peerie Beads and Diamonds pattern by Kathleen Anderson from A Legacy of Shetland Lace by Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. My only modifications were to make the scarf wider and longer.   


Timberline by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed) knitted using Kate Davies Buachaille wool in Furze. 
I knitted the tie too, using linen stitch and an Easyknits colour way called Turkish Delight.  


Papil Vest
The photos on the right show this vest top before and after steeking the neckline and armholes.

This tank top was designed for my husband using Jamiesons of Shetland wool, Rosedean Ryeland and Croft29 Hebridean wool. The shetland wool provides the green and blue highlights. The mid natural shades are the ryeland and the dark is the hebridean. The band of colour work are each different using traditional small (peerie) patterns. 


shonamasonmakes@gmail.com