Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the Present

Winter provides a great excuse for staying inside and knitting...or settling down with a good book.  Much to my delight, I just found another gem!

Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the Present, was recently published in 2013 in Great Britain by Shetland Heritage Publications.  Edited by Sarah Laurenson, it is a collection of articles by several textile historians and craftspeople (including Elizabeth Johnston) pertaining to the rich textile history of Shetland.

It is filled with fabulous photos and topics that range from Shetland sheep, wool, early textile history, wadmal, 20th century tweed weaving, lace knitting, allovers and contemporary Shetland fiber artists. It also has a number of great old quotes that give such an insight into how yarn and wool were processed in the past.  Here is one of my favorites:

'Dey reckoned at da saftest yarn wis da yarn scoored in Shetland Soda.  Dare I tell you whit Shetland Soda is?  Weel, you see dey hed a auld iron kettle, at wis come past cookin.  An dat was kept as a pee-pot.  An dey peed in him, an dey kept a lid upon him.  An dis wis whit dey kept ta scoor da yarn in.  An dey reckoned der wis somethin in hit at med da yarn extremely saft.' - Agnes Leask

(And I thought the softness of my wool yarn was strictly related to the genetics of my sheep!)

Although I was unable to find this book in the US, it is easily purchased online from the Shetland Heritage Shop.  (Be aware that the shipping from Shetland is not cheap!)

I hope it keeps raining...I have a lot of reading ahead of me...