Saturday, 9 October 2010

Back to my roots

Some time ago I began to research my family tree. I discovered that my maternal ancestors were from Fair Isle in the Shetland Islands. At first I was very confused because records show birth places as Fair Isle, Dunrossness. Further research revealed that Fair Isle used to be included in the Parish of Dunrossness in the Shetlands. As the family name is Norwegian, it is likely that, along with many of the Shetland settlers, my ancestors originated from Norway.

I was raised in County Durham in the North East of England and my mum, from as far back as I can remember, knitted the most fabulous aran sweaters. In fact, it wasn't unusual for my sister and I to be swathed in aran and I can still remember specific sweaters. It was my mum who taught me to knit as a small child and I have taken up the needles on and off since then. I love aran knitting but my particular love is Fair Isle - coincidence? I have a real love of all Northern design - Scandinavian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish - and love the gorgeous weaving technique that is Fair Isle knitting.

I have dabbled in Fair Isle in the past. This was a blanket I made when expecting my son, some seven years ago.

The yarn is a pure wool 4 ply and the pattern was from Debbie Bliss. For a little blanket it seemed to take an age to knit. But I love it and I loved the appreciative comments I got when I took my baby out in it. I still have it tucked away in a drawer with all the other special things from the Boy's life. Well it's an heirloom isn't it?

I recently found a fabulous book on Fair Isle knitting that inspired me to have another go, but to make a garment this time.

It is rather an old book (1980s) but this just shows the timelessness of Fair Isle. The author has added a twist to traditional patterns by including fruit, vegetables and even bumble bees!

I just love this book...the designs are so colourful and witty.

A friend of mine went to Iceland some years ago and brought me back this hat....

Gorgeous! Not as colourful as the traditional Fair Isle but very Nordic and lovely.

So I am going back to my Northern roots and channeling my Fair Isle and Norwegian ancestors! Just need to find a pattern, a supply of good yarn...and then the real work starts with choosing the colours. This project could take some time, especially as I am also crocheting blankets!

1 comment:

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