Shetland Wall Flowers by Tracey Doxey

Shetland Wall Flowers

February 2020
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
9 stitches and 9 rows = 1 inch
US 2½ - 3.0 mm
200 - 250 yards (183 - 229 m)
Small and Medium sized hats.
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This beanie shaped hat pattern is versatile. It’s a design that can seem quite ambitious but really, it’s fun and easy to knit. The change of colours within the patterns, draw you in to the tactile making of this piece. The motifs are a traditional Shetland pattern that I have adapted for a hat in two sizes. Please note, Instructions and 2 charts are given for a Peat Colour way but there are images of examples of swatches in other colourways including Nighthawk, Loganberry and Admiral Navy so that you can try alternative colours.

This hat is inspired by my many visits to Shetland where I began to build a strong love for finding the derelict, abandoned croft houses that are visible across Shetland, to see the interiors and to in some way connect with the women who once lived in them.
I’ve researched censuses to find out who lived in certain homes and looked at their professions. I’ve looked at photographs of women in books ploughing the Fair Isle land who are looking straight into the camera lens, then I have gone to the walled old grave yard by the sea at the South End of Fair Isle and sought out those women by their names. I’ve worn old original Fair Isle cardigans, sat in the Lerwick library for hours and hours pouring over the Shetland knitting books and crossed the seas to touch and feel knitwear created by absolute artists of their time.

All of the knitted pieces that are still in Shetland today, tell a story of the woman who made that knitted pieces – the work bears a story that is woven into every stitch.

On my walks across the islands, I found and looked at many derelict croft houses which were the homes of knitters, crofters, mothers, fishers, daughters and ‘spinsters’. The more I looked at, and went inside the homes, I felt more of a connection to the women who had lived there through visible signs of the past.

My most favourite croft houses, which I visit each time I return, bear the marks of flowers, and leaves painted onto the walls. Each design is carefully and beautifully made by the families who used to live there.
I can imagine a woman carefully stencilling or stamping the flowers in a border around the wall of the lean-to kitchen, standing back with pride and smiling at her work. Some wall-painted decorations particularly move me because they are so deeply powerful in their simplicity. I gently touch the patterns to feel through history to a time when a woman painted them long ago in a past that I long to know about. As I walk away, always, my lasting memory is of the painted walls and it is these that I am honouring within this pattern.

This hat pattern is inspired by the disintegrating flowers and leaves that I have found painted on abandoned croft house walls and the hat is made as a testament to the gendered craft of knitting, home, and to the beautiful women of Shetland who knitted all of their lives.

Instructions and charts for this pattern are in 2 sizes and given in a Peat Colour way.

The Small hat is 9 inches from centre of the crown to the bottom of the rib and will fit a head of 22.5 inches in diameter.
The Medium hat is 10 inches from the centre of the crown to the bottom of the rib and will fit a head of 23.5 inches in diameter.

The images shown are of the small hat in Peat (colourway and chart included in the pattern)
Images of the medium sized beanie knitted in Nighthawk as an example of alternative colourway. (Medium Chart included in pattern is in Peat colour way)

3 mm circular needle is used, then double ended needles to finish the crown.

The small hat uses Peat for a back ground and Chartreuse, Nutmeg, Amber, Mustard, Moorgrass, Burnt Umber, Poppy, Flax, Cinnamon and Foxglove.
The medium hat chart uses Peat, Poppy, Amber, Mustard, Moorgrass, and Chartreuse.

You can change any of the colours in the pattern for your own colour choices by using the charts and altering the colours.