|Gunnister Man from the Peat Bogs of Shetland|
The Shetland Museum details the history of the island since its formation which is fascinating. For textile lovers, there is a lot to take in. We loved this replica of the Gunnister man. He was a shepherd found in a peat bog in Shetland in the 1950's and was wonderfully preserved. He died in the late 1600s or early 1700s and was found wearing a woollen shirt, a suit of long coat and short wide breeches, and an outer jacket. He had two caps, a pair of gloves and knitted stockings as well as a purse knitted with two colors--the earliest found example of stranded or fair isle knitting, dating this technique to the early 18th century.
|A prize-winning example of fair isle knitting!|
|Left - colorwork charts, right - 1930's yarn color card|
Examples of 1930's Shetland wool yarn color cards show the importance of color selection and a wide palette for a long time on Shetland!
|A knitting belt on left and whale bone double point needles on right|
We love seeing examples of turn-of-the-century knitting tools! Above is a leather knitting belt and double pointed needles made from whale bone. These needles would be used two or three at a time, fitting one end of a needle into the holes on the knitting belt for stability and speedy knitting.
|Textile Museum in Lerwick|
|The finest Shetland wool gossamer lace yarn|
|A fine example of Shetland lace knitting|
Shetland lace knitting was often a way for farming women to make money as the fine lace work would be sold directly to merchants who came to the island. Queen Victoria popularized Shetland lace knitting in the 1800's and it became a high-fashion item. Shetlander's developed the "wedding ring lace shawl" - a lace shawl, knit so fine that the entire shawl could be passed through a wedding ring. These shawls were usually 6' square and would be sold for £100 - £2,000.
|Blocking boards for mittens|
|Examples of fair isle knitting in the Textile Museum|
|A color wheel of natural colors of Shetland wool - in rolag form!|
|A loom for making woolen fabrics|
Ysolda picked up a modern new pink knitting belt and some long double point needles. Lunch at the museum was the perfect chance to try it out...
|Ysolda practices knitting on a new Knitting Belt|
Next up: We travel West for more woolly treasures on the Isle of Skye!