Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Artwork and photos of Shetland

While browsing through my iphotos I came across this other piece of art by my aunt Maggie Riegler. This image represents my parents return to Shetland (note the Fair Isle sweaters they are wearing) and their wee renovated cottage in Sandness. I love this picture. Mum and Dad coming back to the same spot where they began their life together and had all four of their children. Their croft cottage really does look like this so I've included some shots of their home and a token Shetland sheep which lounge around my parents home (not so much since my dad built a Ha Ha- a dropped stone wall-out the front of the house)!
Hi Mum and Dad...I know you'll be reading!

Hip In Hemp Gallery

Please email me photos if you have made this skirt!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Thoughts

Here in the States it's Mother's Scotland it's not officialy Mother's Day but nonetheless that is where my mum is and I want her to know that I'm thinking of her today. Mum thank-you for being such an excellent parent and for always being there for all of us through all of our ups and downs. I hope Maya and Sage will feel the same kind of love and support from me. We love you so much.

These photos show me with my daughter Maya, my mother with Maya and the other wonderful treasure I have as a mother, my son Sage.
Side note: The poncho Maya is wearing was the knitted item that got me into knitting 3 years ago-she had lost a well loved blanket at the Iceland airport during our relocation to the States and this was made to replace it....3 years later she still sleeps with it every night and her cat has even fromed an attachment to it too!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Summer tank

Here is my lovely model again in a summer tank I designed. Yes it is in Hempathy really is a great yarn for the warmer weather which we are certainly getting here today in Colorado. I designed this to go with the culottes but Maya prefers wearing them separately. I took the post about the culottes off the blog as I wanted to use a similar design for submissions to magazines and thought I'd better not have it out there in cyberspace.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Hip in Hemp in other sizes

Child Sizes 2, 4 and 6 for Hip in Hemp Skirt
These are a few more child sizes for the skirt pattern on Knitty. I’m not exactly giving you a full written out pattern. This is meant to be used in conjuction with the pattern published on Knitty.

So to get started I would suggest printing out the pattern and then making the following changes:

Finished Measurements:
Length: approx 12 [13.5,15] inches
Waist: to fit waist 20 [21,22]

Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy [34% Hemp, 41% Cotton, 25% Modal; 153 yd/140m per 50g skein] Colors are given for Child[Adult].
[MC] #02[09]; 1,[2,2] skeins
[CC 1] #015[016]; 1[1,1] skeins
[CC 2] #017[06]; 1[1,1] skeins
[CC 3] #010[04]; 1[1,1] skeins

Note: If working the skirt in a solid color, you will need 3 [4,4]

18[19,20] inches waistband elastic, 0.5 inch wide

Stripe Pattern (for sizes 2and 4 only)
Work 3 rounds in CC1.
Work 3 rounds in CC2.
Work 3 rounds in CC3.
Work 3 rounds in MC.
Repeat these 12 rounds for Stripe Pattern.

Changes to make to Table/chart (for sizes 2 and 4 only)
In the table part the column with the rounds numbered will need to be changed as for these two smallest sizes only 2 rnds of knitting is done between each scallop shaping round (as opposed to 3). So the column showing the rounds should read from top 1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,28,31,34,37,40,43,46,49,52,55,58,61 (this will be last round of table for size 2) 64,67,70,73 (this will be the last round of table for size 4)

For size 6 follow table/chart for size 8 (after initial set up round) but stop at rnd 81.

Cut a piece of waistband elastic 18 [19,20] inches long. Overlap ends by 0.5 inch, ensuring that elastic is not twisted. Sew ends securely together.

Using MC and US #4/3.5mm needle, loosely CO 130 [136,143]

Set-up Round: Using US #5/3.75mm needle
Size 2: increase 6 stitches evenly around and at the same time place a marker every 17 stitches
Size 4: [k17, place marker] to end.
Size 6: increase 10 stitches evenly around and at the same time place a marker every 17 stitches

Including end-of-round marker, 8[8,9] markers in place.

(You should be able to continue following the pattern as seen on Knitty at this point except that for sizes 2and 4 only you will need to remember to work only 2 rnds between each scallop shaping pattern. The reason for this is that with the wee sizes the skirt needs slightly more frequent increasing for good drape).

When all rounds of the chart have been worked, you will have just started a stripe using CC3. Complete this 3 [3,4]-round stripe and break CC3. There are 312[ 344, 351]sts: 39[43, 39] sts between each pair of markers.

Continue as follows, using MC:
Work Round D; value of N is 11[ 13,11].
P 1 round.
K 1 round.
P 1 round.
Work Round D as above.
P 1 round.
K 1 round.
BO all sts purlwise.

For sizes larger than published on Knitty.

My general guidelines for any sizes larger than what is on knitty would be to measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit and then multiply that by 6.5
Round that number up or down a few stitches so that it is divisible by 17 (which is the initial pattern repeat). If you are too many stitches away from a number that is divisible by 17 then increase what you need on the initial set up round (as described in pattern).

I would then continue to work from the pattern following the large size in the table/chart
Also add one more skein of each color to materials just to be sure.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Lacy Hat

So I thought I should start posting some of my knitting projects and then I realized that most of what I'm working on right now are my own designs that I want to use for submissions and therefore that means I cannot reveal anything about them on my blog!

However I did make this hat recently from Lace Style (Pam Allen and Ann Budd) for my husband . I altered the pattern by chopping off some of the height (as he suits more of a skull cap style) and I also omitted the inner lining (as it was meant as more of a spring weather cap). I also used Hempathy for this as I'm pretty addicted to it right now!

Anyway David (my husband) likes it and wears it a lot!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I wanted to provide some background as to why I’m using the name The Shetland Trader.

This was the name of the knitwear business that my mother began back in the 1970s in Shetland, the most northerly islands of Scotland and from where my grandfather's family come.

When my mother moved to Shetland and became interested in knitwear the Fair Isle traditions were coming under the influence of the larger and less subtle Scandinavian style patterns lacking the traditional finishing around the cuffs, hem and neck.

(The picture below of a child's sweater is one of my mother's designs and was featured in a book called "Traditional Fair Isle Knitting" by Sheila McGregor as an example of the use of corrugated ribbing)

After seeing old photographs of the traditional knitting styles in the Shetland Museum my mother both returned to the roots of Fair Isle, for example using the narrow patterns and natural wool colours, and also began designing more modern styles and garments. As she did not knit herself she turned to local knitters. Initially, these designs were only to clothe the family but the interest she created generated requests from friends and then friends of friends. Then she turned the growing demand into a mail order business offering made to measure sweaters, smocks, skirts, gloves etc and opened a shop. When an article was written about the Shetland Trader in a national newspaper she was overwhelmed by a sack of letter orders.

The Shetland Trader had a brief life of only a few years as my parents left Shetland. However, its influence helped revive the use of traditional Fair Isle patterns, styles and colours so that today there is again a thriving traditional knitting industry, albeit machine rather than hand produced.

Thirty years later my parents now live back in Shetland in an idyllic renovated croft cottage down the road from Jamieson's Mill and across from the house they renovated back in the days of the first Shetland Trader
It has also come about, 30 years later, that I have become a knitter and designer. I want to pay homage to my mother and continue the use of the Shetland Trader name as my trademark signature. Her designs inspire me as does my Shetland heritage and I hope to pick up where she left off.

The drawings shown here are from the original Shetland Trader catalogue and were done by my grandmother, Elizabeth Balneaves.