Lovely Shetland Lace…

When Brenna heard that one of her wonderful customers, Jolynn, had created a lace shawl using her wool, she was quite pleased, to say the least. And when she saw a photograph of it she was ecstatic, rushing off to the barn to tell the other ladies.

Shetland wool is an incredibly natural and sustainable fiber, and is world renowned for its fineness and warmth. Shetland Sheep graze on the Shetland Islands’ hills and beaches (and rocky New Hampshire hillsides) eating wild heather and seaweed (Oh my, those poor dear things…). This diet, along with the not-so-great weather, makes Shetland wool soft, strong and warm. Shetland Wool is also very diverse: it’s perfect for hand-knitting both Shetland Lace and Fair Isle.

Don’t get Brenna started on the subject. Oops! Too late!

“Shetland knitters have long enjoyed a tradition of fine lace knitting, my dears, since the early 19th century. When Queen Victoria assumed the throne in 1837 it became fashionable for women to wear more dress accessories, especially lace mantles, stoles, and shawls. Presented with examples of Shetland lace knitting, the Queen immediately ordered 12 pairs of lace stockings. Within a few years Shetland lace knitting was widely available in the shops of London.”

Here, pausing to catch her breath, Brenna assumed her “I hope I’m not going too fast for you” look before resuming her narrative.

“I will quote from an article by Dr. Carol A. Christiansen available at the official site for Shetland tourism,” she declared.

“Shetland lace is not true lace, Dr. Christiansen writes, but is called so because of the fineness of the thread with which it is made. Fine lace shawls are sometimes called ‘wedding ring’ shawls because although they can measure nearly six feet square, they can be passed through a wedding ring. What makes this feat even more remarkable is that the yarn is usually doubled.”

Impressed, as usual, with her knowledge of things Shetland, Brenna returned to the photo of the exquisite shawl. “I’m so happy I made that lovely shawl possible,” she said.

Leave it to Brenna to try to take credit for the entire project.


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