I love Fair Isle knitting. Complex patterns come out of simple rules – like only two colours per line – so there’s a good balance of relaxing versus interesting. I’m knitting this snood with some space dyed wool my sister brought me from Ronaldsay, so I don’t even have to change the foreground colour.
Fair Isle and Shetland knitting’s been deeply shaped by economics, mechanisation, and geography to give it a distinctiveness that’s bred in the bone, and that has many lessons to give up about the nature of craft and craft’s relationship with place and community as well. Like the balance between uniqueness and repeatability – something I struggle with for pots too.
I buy my wool from Jamieson and Smith in Sheltand, it’s a thrill when it arrives with a Lerwick postcode. Their blog is great too, this entry shows the wool arriving from their 700+crofters. I also like Ella Gordon’s blog: she’s one of the new generation of island craft workers.
I scour charity shops for knitting books (it’s surprising where they show up) but can also strongly recommend Ann Feitelson and Alice Starmore .