Ella Gordon is a textile maker born and based in Shetland who graduated in 2012 from Shetland College Contemporary Textiles BA with a distinction. Ella works at Jamieson and Smith, she also designs her own patterns, knits by hand and machine and blogs about her love of textiles and the inspiration she finds in her unique home. Ella has been appointed patron of the 2016 Shetland Wool Week.
Donna Smith is a textile designer and maker living in Shetland. Following her degree in Marine Biology, she decided to set up her own business, which was sparked by an interest in making felt from fleeces from her family’s flock of sheep. Donna uses a variety of textiles and techniques and is currently focusing on her interest in knitting patterns and teaching knitting.
Hazel has been knitting for over 50 years and since 2008 has held the illustrious title of ‘World’s Fastest Knitter’ having developed a fast and efficient technique. She is also a talented designer and has written many knitting patterns.
Hazel’s love of knitting Fair Isle is evident throughout her work and the endless variety of colours and patterns is a constant source of inspiration.
Julia Billings taught herself to knit thirteen years ago in an attempt to keep warm while working outdoors in horticulture – and soon found most of her spare time being spent knitting! Travel and time with inspired teachers further fuelled a love of traditional techniques and it is the reworking and combining of these with simple, clean design and materials that most inspire her. Julia firmly believes that the transfer of skills and knowledge is essential to the ongoing development and elevation of the craft and, since moving to Scotland with her husband in 2015, is enjoying sharing her take on knitting and natural dyeing with a whole new community. She knits by hand and machine, makes knitting pouches from repurposed tweed and dyes natural fine-gauge yarns.
Elizabeth is a spinner and knitter who gained much of her craft as a child, observing and learning from family and friends in Shetland. Her love of fiber became a profession. Her business, Shetland Handspun, now offers handspun yarns, handspun and handknitted garments, and tuition in spinning and knitting. Elizabeth has demonstrated, lectured, and taught workshops in spinning, lace knitting, and Fair Isle knitting in Shetland and throughout the U.K., Europe, and the U.S.
Niela Kalra is a Shetland-based knitwear and textile based designer, working under her own label Nielanell. She is particularly known for her use of colour and texture, and an innovative approach to textile construction. Niela is passionate about sharing her skills, and is an experienced tutor in the arts of dyeing, spinning and design.
Joanna’s interest in textiles began when her grandmother introduced her to Fair Isle knitting as a child. She was soon designing her own colourways and patterns which led her on to studying textiles at Shetland College. Soon after, she began her design company Joanna Hunter Knitwear, and now supplies to trade all over the world, with retail outlets in the UK, Scandinavia and Japan.
Helen Robertson is a textile and jewellery artist living and working in Shetland. She is inspired by Shetland and its rich textile heritage and employs these techniques in her work, celebrating and paying homage to the skilled knitters and designers of Shetland’s past. Creating connections is important to her; connections between current and past knitters are made possible by the wearing of her textile jewellery, connections between us and the natural world are celebrated within her crafted natural pieces. She is happiest creating new designs in wire or wool.
Outi Kater is a Finnish born Shetland designer who specialises in colourwork hand knitting patterns using Shetland wool. Outi studied history and ethnology and draws inspiration for her designs from traditional crafts, mixing influences from different traditions. She has published her knitting patterns since 2012 on Ravelry and in collaboration with Jamieson and Smith. Outi works in the Shetland Library which has got, among other literature, a large collection of knitting books!
Linda was born and brought up in Whalsay and has been knitting all her life. She tutors Fair Isle knitting at Shetland College through SIC adult learning. She joined the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers three years ago and is now the chairperson. She is currently working towards producing her own knitting patterns.
Ina learned to knit from her mother, who knitted to supplement the family income. Over the years she has completed many Fair Isle garments. She learnt to spin in the early ’80s and mostly spins fine lace. She is particularly known for her miniature shawls on a stretcher. She has taught spinning to groups and demonstrated to knitters many times. She has been a member of the Shetland Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers for many years.
Kirsty Jean Brabin
Kirsty Jean Brabin is a woven textile designer who specialises in tweed. Based in Yell, Kirsty Jean graduated from Chelsea College of Art in 2014 achieving a Distinction and gained a BA (Hons) Textile Design in 2012. Kirsty draws her inspiration from Shetland’s hidden coast, searching for colour in unusual places. She is the Creative Director of The Shetland Tweed Company, based in Sellafirth, Yell and the partnership creates contemporary tweeds for the fashion industry.
Kristi is a craftswoman from Estonia who specializes in hand knitting gloves. She graduated from the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy as an Estonian handicraft master in 2002. As well as working as a lecturer Kristi runs her own business, Ulas. Kristi has had two solo-exhibitions and is the author of a book of gloves, ‘Ornamented Journey’. She is also co-author of ‘Estonian Knitting Volume 1: Traditions and Techniques’.
Kathy Coull is a professional tourism operator and is currently the Vice Chair of the Shetland Tourism Association. She has an independent textile practice based in her croft in the island of Fair Isle. Having mastered and taught many traditional textile skills she then studied at Shetland College UHI and gained a 1st Class BA Hons in Contemporary Textiles in 2014. She researches and uses textile techniques in original, traditional and contemporary designs; has a range of Fair Isle Home-Grown Yarns from Fair Isle’s Shetland sheep, hosts workshops, gives talks and demonstrations, exhibits work and has written papers and articles.
Tori Seierstad is a Norwegian knitter living in Lillehammer, Norway. She loves wool and colours, and when her day job allows her, she designs colourwork mittens, hats and sweaters. With her knitting friends in the Mitten Guild she published the Norwegian book Eventyrvotter (Fairy Tale Mittens) in 2015. She has visited Shetland during Wool Week twice before and can’t wait to go back.
Anne Eunson is a knitwear maker/designer working in Shetland lace and fair isle, using both hand and machine knitting techniques. Anne graduated from UHI with a BA in Contemporary Textiles in 2014. Anne hails from a family of lace knitters, learning to knit at a very young age and is now one of the volunteers passing on these skills to the children involved in the “Peerie Makkers” Shetland knitting project.
As a child Marjolein Reichert learned to knit, and as a student she knitted for shops. She is now one of the ‘Master Knitters’ (www.tkga.com) and the only one in the Netherlands. She is an experienced knitting tutor, but is also glad that knitting is still her hobby.
Rachel Hunter was born and brought up in Shetland and like most young girls in the mid to late ’70s learned to knit at primary school and it became a lifelong passion and hobby. As far back as Rachel can remember various fads, interests and hobbies have come and gone but knitting has always been a constant in her life. Rachel is a member of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers, Knitters and Dyers and enjoys knitting Shetland lace and Fair Isle. She also enjoys crochet, felting and knitting.