Summer Part 2

It's that time of year when you really don't know which clothes to wear in the morning: last week I had a dress, woolly cardigan and boots on in the morning and by the afternoon I was wearing my sandals and a t-shirt.  There are still some lovely spells of weather but we are also starting to experience the transition to Autumn, like today as it felt decidedly more autumnal.  I think this time of year when it starts to change is probably my favourite.  The summer jobs are done (or it's too dark and cold to do any more) and it's time to think about inside projects (which of course involves lots of knitting!).

We got the hay dried and in the byre (barn) a couple of weeks ago, although with the amount of rain we had the week before we wondered if it would ever dry.

Turning the hay over by hand to help it dry

Turning the hay over by hand to help it dry

 The hay will be used to feed the sheep on the croft over the winter - and speaking of sheep - if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook or got my newsletter (or if you figured it out from my last blogpost) you will know that I have my own yarn coming soon, spun from the fleeces from our own and our neighbours' sheep.  

Going over a fleece on the "sorting table"

Going over a fleece on the "sorting table"

I will give you more details very, very, soon but currently I am busy  working on the labelling, writing up patterns using the new yarn and things like that!  I am planning to launch it at the Maker's Market in Isleburgh during Shetland Wool Week on Saturday 30th September and anything leftover will be sold through my online shop.

It's a very exciting project for me as it's something I have been thinking about for a long time, and sometimes you just have to stop worrying about what might (or might not) happen and try it!

I had quite a varied summer, after I came back from Fair Isle I spent a week in Edinburgh and straight after that, at the beginning of August I went to teach at a Creativity Festival in Saunderton outside London.  The Festival was the brainchild of Natasha whom I only previously knew as Taking a Moment of Time on Instagram.  I have followed her for a while now and longed to go on her retreats and so was delighted when she asked me if I could come and teach classes on Fair Isle knitting.  Over 30 creative people gathered on Natasha's farm for a weekend of crafting, chatting and eating gorgeous food, most of which had been grown on the farm.


The format was camping but we had lovely tents all beautifully decorated, marquees in case it rained (which it did a bit) and a large fire to gather around at night.

Teaching Fair Isle knitting inside the marquee

Teaching Fair Isle knitting inside the marquee

I was just a tiny bit jealous of the vegetable garden (that's an understatement)

I was just a tiny bit jealous of the vegetable garden (that's an understatement)

It was wonderful to meet up with so many people I "knew" through Instagram like Melody (bmandarines), Janice (Janice Issitt Lifestyle), Renee (Eastlondonknits) and Linda (Kettleyarn).  There was such a range of people there with a similar interest in craft and it was lovely to relax and spend time together.  For a more photos of the retreat Janice wrote a really good blogpost on it here.  Look out for future retreats by following The Hill View Farm Moments website here.

As I mentioned earlier I am busy at the moment getting the yarn and all the related things ready - all the individual things, like the logo, labels, etc.. have taken a while to complete but now it's all finally coming together so I will let you know more within the next few days - Stay tuned!

Summer Part 1

The schools went back this week here in Shetland, I can't believe how fast the time went.  We did manage to squeeze a lot in, I had a few trips away as well as getting a little bit of work done. 

During the first week we went camping to Unst, the most Northerly island in Shetland and so the most northerly island in the United Kingdom which involves taking a short ferry journey from the mainland to Yell and then another short ferry journey to Unst.  We pitched or tent in the grounds of the youth hostel which is right next to the sea.


Unst is very rich in history and archaeology and has many lovely white sandy beaches.  we spent our days walking, exploring and palying on the beach.

Heading home of the ferry....


I must admit I am not the best camper in the world, I get SO cold (especially at night), despite the many, many layers of clothes, but it was good fun!

I was home for just over a week and then headed off to the island of  Fair Isle, this time just south of the Shetland mainland.

Fair Isle is really a wonderful place, the scenery is really stunning, the people are so friendly and kind and the Bird Observatory where we stayed is an extremely relaxing place.  I went there with three of my knitty pals and we spent our time walking and knitting.  I really did feel refreshed and inspired when I got back.

Fair Isle is a bird watchers paradise, and there were thousands of puffins, we only had to walk across the road from the observatory where we were staying and we could see them really close up.

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Of course, Fair Isle is famous for its knitting, we spent a lovely morning in the museum with Anne Sinclair, I didn't take any photos I was too busy looking!

There are a few people still making and selling Fair Isle knitwear on a small scale, we spent a really interesting hour beside Holly Shaw who runs Fair Isle Made In Fair Isle.  Holly gave a very in-depth talk on how they create and design their knitwear on hand frame knit machines.  You can see more of their work on their Facebook page here.

Holly Shaw in her workshop

Holly Shaw in her workshop

Scarves for sale at Fair Isle Made in Fair Isle

Scarves for sale at Fair Isle Made in Fair Isle

The mode of transport to and from Fair Isle is either by boat (a 2.5 hour journey on The Good Shepherd) or by small plane and being not very good sailors (read: terrible) we chose the plane which flies from to and from Tingwall airport which takes around 25 minutes.  Of course the other bonus are the views.

Flying over Minn Beach at the south end of Burra

Flying over Minn Beach at the south end of Burra

Of course, a yearly event on any croft and farm here is sheep clipping, here is our neighbour Liam clipping one of our ewes (many thanks to him for doing that!).  Earlier this year I decided to do something with last years clip - the project is nearly ready to show you so keep your eyes peeled, or better still you can sign up to my newsletter to get details straight to your inbox.


I will be back again next week with more photos from the summer but until then I have a 6 year old's birthday party to organise.....

Speak soon

Donna x

New Beginnings

Hello!  Its a while since I blogged but I am still here working away on patterns and an exciting project that will be revealed very soon.  I have spent the past few months developing a new website which includes a new logo,  thanks to Diana Lukas-Nulle for developing it for me.

The logo is a simplified version of the "tree" or "fern" pattern that is often used in in both lace and Fair Isle knitting in Shetland, its one of my favourite motifs due to its simplicity.  I use the lace version  in the Houlland shawl pattern you can see here

I have been looking for a website for a while that is streamlined,  and contains a way to showcase my patterns, a blog and most importantly an integrated shop - details of what will be sold in the shop will be coming soon!

May was a busy month, I spent a week in the Netherlands at the Nederlandse Breidagen in Rijswijk, a knitting festival that ran over two and a half days.  It consisted of a marketplace combined with classes and lectures, I gave talks on Knitting and Living in Shetland and classes on Fair Isle knitting and Hap construction.

To celebrate my links with the Netherlands I released a pattern, the Papil Beret, it was inspired by a tin containing the traditional Dutch syrup wafers, Stroopwafels that was given to me by two Dutch friends when they visited Shetland wool week last year.

The hat features colourwork tulip and oval motifs inspired by the tin, and it is knitted in Jamiesons of Shetland Spindrift Shetland Jumperweight yarn.  You can hear me (and see me!) speaking about the inspiration behind the design in the New Releases section of the Fruity Knitting podcast, which is also filled with lots more information including a very interesting interview  with Carson Demers on ergonomics in knitting something which is very important and which I have been thinking about a lot lately.

Several of my days these past few weeks have been spent teaching classes to the new tours Shetland Wool Adventures organised by Misa Hay, it has been great to meet so many people from all over the world that are interested in textiles and Shetland as a whole.

The Baa-ble Mug Cosy is a project I use regularly when teaching Fair Isle knitting classes,  it covers knitting in the round, knitting with two colours at one time, corrugated rib, steeking, picking up stitches etc.  Originally I hadn't planned to release it is a pattern but so many people asked for it when I shared pictures of my classes on social media so it now can be downloaded from Ravelry here.  It's an excellent way to practice the knitting techniques mentioned above as its a quick knit, it uses small quantities of Shetland yarn and is a great way to use up scraps from your stash.

Thank you for reading the first blog post on my new website, you can keep in touch with what I am doing by subscribing to the blog by entering your email details below and/or subscribing to my newsletter on the homepage (if you subscribed to my old blog, you should still receive emails whenever there's a new blogpost).

Donna x