I first came across the Edinburgh based designer Kate Davies via the knitting website Ravelry and then started following her blog. When her book 'Colours of Shetland' was published I was drawn to it immediately. Since I started keeping Shetland sheep anything to do with 'Shetland' catches my eye. Published in 2012 the book features 10 signature hand-knits inspired by the Shetland Islands.
All of the patterns in the book are also available to purchase individually via Ravelry.
What I like most about this book is the combination of pattern instructions with details about how the design was inspired. These include pieces about the Shetland Islands history, colours and textures of the landscape and wildlife all illustrated with wonderful photography and graphics.
Instructions are very clear and detailed along with 'how to' knit swatches for each project to ensure correct size and fit.
Many of the garments have a smaller project in the same design for example a hat or a pair of gloves. You can try out the smaller project before making a commitment to the larger one. I love the Scatness tunic at the end of the book. So I might try the Scatness hat featured on the front cover to try out the pattern design.
So far I've completed the Ursula Mittens. This pattern was inspired by the writer Ursula Venables who lived and worked on the Islands documenting the wildlife, landscape and crofting life during the 1940's. I altered the mitten pattern into a fingerless mit version just because I find this style more practical for me. I love the simple Fair Isle design in the three colour combination.
The other larger project using this design is the Ursula cardigan. It's a classic shape and very much fits in with the vintage styling that is so popular just now.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book featuring traditional knits combined with a modern twist, presented against background information about the Shetland Islands. As if I wasn't already inspired to make a trip to the Islands this certainly has added to my interest to go there one day...