Wednesday 13 June 2018

Visitors from Scotland

Last week the Knitting and Crochet Guild Archive (KCG) in West Yorkshire welcomed some visitors all the way from Scotland, Carol Christiansen, Shetland Museum curator and Roslyn Chapman from Glasgow University. The KCG archive holds an enviable collection of hand knitted "Shetland" lace shawls. Some of the most interesting and delicate examples had been selected in advance to show the visitors. 

First on the morning agenda customary, tea, coffee and biscuits in the office and a chance to discuss the archive in general.

Carol and Roslyn outlined the purpose of their visit which related to research started in 2016.  It centres around the traditions of Shetland lace knitting, cultural implications, branding and the marketing of "authentic" Shetland knitwear. 

Filmed and broadcast live, a study day held in 2016 about the research gives an overview of the project. The recording can be see here or by clicking on the image below. Background information to this film can be found here on the Shetland Museums website.

Following our refreshments we relocated to the main archive. Much discussion and information was exchanged around each knitted item displayed. Carol and Roslyn shared their in depth knowledge of Shetland lace shawls, haps and garment construction, along with insights on authenticity.  

Members of the KCG team shared information on the history and provenance of items in the collection. Much discussion followed which I haven't included here, but the following images hopefully give a snapshot of some of the lace knitting the team had prepared for the visitors.

The above images show two good examples of large shawl/haps with the knitting pattern for both shown below.

Knitting pattern books dating from the 1800's are held by the KCG archive.  The Edinburgh based author Jane Gaugain wrote extensively on "Shetland" lace knitting. A blog post by Kate Davies  "In the steps of Jane Gaugain" gives an insight into this prolific pattern writer.

Going off-piste at the end of the day, some knitted treats from the archive were retrieved to show the visitors. Three lovely examples of children's Fair Isle jumpers dating from the 1930's to 1950's.

Then some excellent examples of Bohus knitting from the collection. (I wrote a little piece about this style in an earlier blog post here).

And finally the group photo, (unfortunately some of the team had to leave early and are missing from the photo). 
From left to right Trish, Julia, Barbara, Ruth, Carol and Angharad.

Following a very informative and interesting day our visitors left for the long trip back north.