Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another Wee Shetland Tribute
















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!

12 comments:

marit said...

Thanks for sharing- it was lovely reading about it! Those shawls are huge!!! I've never knitted a Shetland lace shawl,only Icelandic. Once I read that the finest of Shetland Shawls- weddingshawls?- were made with really fine yarns and could be drawn through a wedding ring...

kathleen said...

I'm kind of caught by those awesome striped stockings in the third photo, with the ankle boots. They look like something I would wear!

Gudrun Johnston said...

Hi Kathleen,
thanks for stopping by...I went and checked out your blog...do you live in
Peru? If so where? I spent a month there as a young traveling student type
(feels very long ago now).
Gudrun
PS the stockings are pretty groovy!

Laughton & Patricia Johnston said...

Oh these photos take us back! Yes, the finest shawls could be drawn through a wedding ring. There are few who can make them now. Doesn't Patricia look good in her own design. Dad.

ladybug-zen said...

great post! how interesting. i love stuff like this...all the connections...to knitting, to history, to geography, to family. and those stockings! what a rich heritage you have.
thanks for sharing

Connie said...

Thanks for sharing those lovely photos. Your mother is so cute in her cute design!

And congrats on releasing your self published pattern! I've got to get going on that too. :)

melanie said...

Those old images are wonderful - both of Shetland shawls and of you as a baby! My knitting skill isn't up to that level but I still want to get my hands on that book and take a good look.

*melanie from www.meli-mello.com

Cirilia said...

Those are so great! I love the picture of your mum, that sweater and the kerchief are adorable. What a nice part of the world to be homesick for...

I am planning to knit that Bressay Shawl, which is called a Hap shawl and designed by Sharon Miller! The color combination is drop dead pretty.

Gudrun Johnston said...

Oh...that's funny and appropriate that Sharon Miller is the designer of that shawl! Can't wait to see it!

kat coyle said...

Wow, what a great post. I have to check out that book. I have Heirloom Knitting. Maybe it's the same book.
Anyway, I'm tagging you to list 8 random facts/habits about yourself then tag 8 people.

lillysmuul said...

WOW ,huge shawls! Great picutres ,I love old picutres!You have great mom!

Romi said...

Those pics are great! Sorry to have missed you this past weekend!