Shetland's wonderful culture of hand-knitting needs nurturing if it is to remain vibrant for future generations. The Brough Lodge Trust has decided to contribute by taking action and this page explains what you can do to help.
ShetlandPeerieMakkers was set up with Brough Lodge Trust, which was originally established to restore the historic Brough Lodge on the island of Fetlar. The Trust’s longterm intention is to offer courses in Shetland’s heritage skills, including textiles. Trustees realised that the restoration was some years away and in the meantime, supporting the current knitting tradition should become a priority.
With the help of experienced volunteer knitters, we want to launch 5 pilot projects to teach hand knitting to Shetland youngsters.
Hand knitting was taught in Shetland’s primary schools but this ended in 2010. Some parents, grandparents and others could pass on their skills; but there is a risk that insufficient numbers of children will learn to knit, and the knowledge and techniques of Shetland knitting will be lost.
In August 2014, we held a public consultation to discuss how this support might be most effective. A "world café" meeting was held in Fetlar. It involved a number of people working in Shetland knitting. Everyone agreed that the need to support Shetland’s hand-knitting tradition is urgent.
A group of local experts was formed to steer the project and ShetlandPeerieMakkers is the result of more than a year’s work. We plan to offer free tuition in Shetland knitting to Shetland youngsters. ‘PeerieMakkers’ means ‘small knitters’ in Shetland dialect.
ShetlandPeerieMakkers is currently a one year pilot project, to provide free lessons to youngsters, initially in five communities. Skilled volunteers want to provide the tuition and that reflects another Shetland tradition: our communities have always shared skills, whether in inshore fishing, spinning or peat cutting. These voluntarily shared skills are evident in community marinas, sailing competitions, and at sociable events.
The five pilots will run for a year, and we’ll apply the lessons we learn to establish a sustainable model for tuition in the longer term.
Although all our expert volunteers’ time is offered freely, and yarns are sponsored, we’ll need funding for basic costs. Whilst we hope to receive donations of materials, and spaces to hold knitting groups, we’ll need to buy knitting belts and needles; and, for tutors, there will be travelling expenses within Shetland.
Because Shetland knitting means so much to people in Shetland and around the world, we believe that we should launch an appeal. We’ll be really grateful for any contribution you can make and, accordingly, we want to thank you with a gift.
In the long term, we hope that money to support hand-knitting – and other aspects of Shetland’s heritage, such as music – will come from commercial classes for adult participants and held in the restored Brough Lodge building; there’s more about our plans on our main website www.broughlodge.org
But we feel that the risk of losing hand-knitting is too great for us to delay the pilot projects. That’s why we’re pursuing them quite separately from the restoration, and we guarantee that all the money you donate will go directly into ShetlandPeerieMakkers.
Our rewards are a thank-you for your donation. Naturally, to raise money for the 5 pilot projects, the value of the reward may be less than the value of your donation. That's because, although some rewards have been donated, we need to pay for others at cost, and to cover crowdfunding and credit card expenses before we benefit from your generosity. Rewards from artists include our Patrons Kaffe Fassett, well known to knitters world-wide; and Aly Bain, the equally well-known Shetland fiddle player.
Below, you will find the list of all rewards, with weblinks.
We will dispatch all awards in mid-December, unless otherwise indicated. Please also note that we have limited quantities of some awards.
If you do not wish to receive a reward please tell us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pledge amount 10 GBP:
A knitting pattern from the world's fastest knitter since 2004, Shetlander Hazel Tindall, knitting specialist and instructor, based in Shetland. http://www.hazeltindall.com/
Pledge amount 20 GBP:
A CD by Shetland Fiddler Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, signed by Aly. Limited to 25
Pledge amount 30 GBP:
A hand knitted Shetland Wool Fair Isle headband. One size fits all. Dispatch January 2016. Limited to 20
Pledge amount 50 GBP:
A package of 2 signed DVDs by Hazel Tindall. The Fine Art of Fair Isle Knitting with Shetland’s Hazel Tindall, based in Shetland. http://www.hazeltindall.com/
Pledge amount 75 GBP:
A book "Vintage Shetland project " signed by textile artist Susan Crawford: http://www.susancrawfordshop.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=17877382 . Dispatch January 2016. limited to 1
Pledge amount 100 GBP:
A book signed by World-renowned textile designer and project Patron Kaffe Fassett: "knitting with the color guys" by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably
Pledge amount 100 GBP:
A handknitted Tirrick/Artic tern, from fine artist Deirdre Nelson, from “Birdyarns" her climate change project.http://www.capefarewell.com/seachange/category/artist-diary They are knitted in communities in UK, in wool from Mull, with beaks and feet in recycled materials. One bird travelled to the arctic and back.
Pledge amount 150 GBP:
A hand woven / felted Shetland pony, size 30cm by 16 cm, by Joanne Bell of Fetlar, Shetland. Dispatch January 2016. Limited to 5
Pledge amount 200 GBP:
A weekend (2 nights) for 2 persons with breakfast at Brentham House, Lerwick, Shetland, during2016. Travel to and from Shetland not included Limited to 4. http://eden.www.visitscotland.nmspace.net/info/accommodation/brentham-house-p217211