Study Day: Authenticity in Culturally-Based Knitting

Hand knitted Shetland Fine Lace enlarge Hand knitted Shetland Fine Lace Shetland Museum and Archives is to host a study day in March on the topic of Authenticity in Culturally-based Knitting.

The workshop will explore definitions of ‘traditional’ in Shetland knitwear design, the promotion, branding and marketing of ‘authentic’ Shetland knitwear, and how designers and industry are helped or hindered by a strong basis in heritage. These issues have implications for other types of craft, beyond textiles.

The study day is the last event in the series Knitting in the Round: Hand-Knitted Textiles and the Economy of Craft in Scotland, organised by the School of Humanities, University of Glasgow and funded by a grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Previous events in the series included a workshop at Sanquhar on the knitted glove tradition, Knitting in Wartime, and the fourth ‘In the Loop’ Conference held in Glasgow.

The study day at Shetland Museum and Archives will include a morning of illustrated talks. Speakers include Professor Lynn Abrams, author of Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000; Roslyn Chapman who recently completed her PhD thesis on the knitted lace industry in Shetland; Curator, Carol Christiansen; Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow; Rhoda Hughson, Chairman of Unst Heritage Trust; Kathy Coull, wool producer on Fair Isle and Vice Chair of Shetland Tourism Association; and Helen Robertson, jewellery designer. The event will conclude with a panel discussion of the issues raised.

As part of the Shetland event, an exhibition will be held in the foyer of Shetland Museum and Archives on knitted lace patterns found in books published between 1840 and 1880. All of the samples in the exhibition were knit by volunteers across the globe, contacted through social media. The patterns were termed ‘Shetland’ by their Scottish and English authors, but how authentically Shetland are they? Curator Carol Christiansen will discuss the findings of the 19th century pattern books project during the morning talks.

The study day will take place on Saturday, 5th March 2016, from 10.00am to 4.00pm. The event is free but booking is essential. Reservations may be made by phoning Shetland Museum and Archives on 01595 741562 or online at

The event will also be broadcast live by 60 North TV for Shetland Museum and Archives. See for details. Viewers may contribute to the afternoon discussion by tweeting comments and questions preceded by @ShetlandM&A.