study day


This Saturday I am going to an event hosted at the Shetland Museum and Archives which I am VERY excited about. It is called ‘Authenticity in Culturally Based Knitting‘. I have tried and failed before to explain some aspects about culture and knitting in relation to Shetland, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how some of the speakers approach it! I’m obviously extremely proud of my heritage – the fact I’m from Shetland is probably how some of you came to find me and it can be frustrating sometimes as to how Shetland, Shetlanders and Shetland knitting can be represented in books and online. Its also quite hard to verbalise how I feel without offending someone although that’s never my intention, but it is so important to me. I literally think about knitting all the time, (rock and roll) and its something which has become all consuming over the past 5 years.


The day’s description is: ‘The event will explore definitions of ‘traditional’ in Shetland knitwear design, the promotion, branding and marketing of ‘authentic’ Shetland knitwear, and how designers and industry are helped or hindered by a strong basis in heritage. These issues have implications for other types of craft, beyond textiles.’ Doesn’t that sound great? The speakers are a good bunch too:

  • Professor Lynn Abrams, author of Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000;
  • Roslyn Chapman who recently completed her PhD thesis on the knitted lace industry in Shetland;
  • Curator, Dr Carol Christiansen;
  • Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow;
  • Rhoda Hughson, Chairman of Unst Heritage Trust;
  • Kathy Coull, wool producer on Fair Isle and Vice Chair of Shetland Tourism Association; and
  • Helen Robertson, jewellery designer.

Happily the museum is going to live broadcast the event, you can find out more information here about half way down the page. So if you watch keep and eye out for me! I will try and come back after the event and give you my thoughts on the day

speak soon xx

17 thoughts on “study day

  1. Hi Ella,
    Hope you’re all feeling better now….That sounds like such an amazing talk, thank you so much for putting the link in, and it’s very generous that the museum is letting people watch it for free….
    You should feel proud of your cultural heritage, and I don’t think anyone who reads your blog would think you’d intentially offend or upset anyone when you write about something you care so passionately about.
    I’m not up to stranded knitting quite yet but when I talk about it I now try to call it that rather than “Fair isle” as I’m not from there…
    I understand a little about what you mean about how Shetland/Shetlanders are portrayed in the media, I’m from Suffolk and whenever Suffolk is in a tv drama everyone in it sounds like they are either from Somerset or Devon.
    Hope you have a wonderful time at the talk and look forward to reading your next blog post about it.

  2. Wow – would love to be there. ‘Authenticity’ within cultural textiles is a minefield, and one I struggle with. Some regional knitting has been so bastardised that I get cross when I see things labelled Guernsey/Fairisle/Aran when they just aren’t. But then I wonder if I’m being too anal about the whole thing! Looking forward to your next blog.

  3. That sounds so interesting. I had the good fortune to visit Shetland in 2014 and visiting the Shetland Museum and Archives was one of the highlights. I am anxious to hear about the event. Enjoy!

  4. Enjoy the day and thanks to you I hope to enjoy some of it too. I have been horribly aware since visitingShetland and Fair Isle just how insulting some patterns and names must be to be you all.

  5. Please do report back, it’s a fascinating topic and I’d love to know what opinions and conclusions there are. Unfortunately I’ll be working on Saturday so can’t even watch it online. I’ve been thinking about this recently too, it’s a huge question, and oh I do wish I could be there!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful event and I’d love to hear your thoughts when all is said and done, especially in regards to Ms. Robertson and the jewelry angle. Intriguing! Have fun!

  7. Thank you so much for putting in a link to the museum study day.I have just enjoyed a very cold, wet Saturday, more than I thought possible.The live streaming is a brilliant idea. Apart from the excellent and thought provoking content, it was good to see so many familiar faces. Makes me even more impatient to come back to Shetland. Thanks again, Regards Edith

    Date: Mon, 29 Feb 2016 21:01:42 +0000 To:

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