So although I'm knitting like a maniac I still can't really blog about my current projects so instead I'm going for a blast in the past! I recently received a book from my Dad (in Shetland) on the traditional Hap shawl and had to share some of the images of hard core blocking techniques and head-to-toe knitted outfits (note the seated man with knitted stockings, sweater, scarf and tam this one is removed temporarily as I check on whether I can use it or not!- and then I've also included a picture of me as a babe in full knitted attire....almost didn't post that one)!
The hap shawl was usually the first piece of lace knitting that a Shetlander would knit progressing from there to more complicated lace. They were made a lot in the Victorian era for use at home and as an exported good (note the layers of shawls behind the picture of the 3 seated knitters). They were also often used as baby shawls (and still are by some Shetlanders-both my sister and I were given them for our first born...however mine (or my daughter Maya's) ended up with a huge hole in it after a lot of dragging around and chewing!. One of the images below shows me wrapped in one as a newborn (as were all my siblings). Funnily enough as I visited Cirilia's blog today I saw a similar looking shawl in a link she provided to the recent Rowan pattern book, scroll down to Bressay. ( Cirilia just informed me that this is a hap shawl and is actually designed by the author of this book-Sharon Miller)
It's kind of mind boggling to imagine knitting lace shawls of this size and in such quantity! However after getting this book I feel it may be in my duty as a Shetlander and knitter to make one. This wonderful book provides patterns (and colour charts) for hap shawls and scarves with some modern interpretations. It's called "Heirloom Knitting's Shetland Hap Shawls-Then and Now" and is written by Sharon Miller and can be found here. For a wee reference I've included a map of Shetland and if you look really hard on the left hand-side about halfway down there is a wee pink arrow to show the approximate spot where my parents live (and where Jamieson's mill is). I also wanted to include the picture of my Mum in her days of designing Shetland knitwear (she's wearing one of her designs) as she looks gorgeous and I love her and it was her birthday on Friday...happy birthday again mum!