Yarn Story - Fair Isle


Happy February! We are enjoying beautiful weather after our month of heavy snow. The sunshine today will likely not last, winter will return, but the sun is giving us a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

I promise! It is!

This month’s yarn story is not anything to do with Valentine's Day. You’re welcome. Some of you may be surprised by the dark turn we’re taking in the month of love and chocolate, but should you be? Really? If you know us at all, this will make total sense because it’s all about Shetland.

Our book this month is Raven Black by Ann Cleeves, the first in her Shetland series. During the pandemic, both of us went down the Shetland rabbit hole and fell in love. Visiting Shetland and Fair Isle went on my bucket list. I started noticing the rising popularity of Fair Isle knitting (for the second or third time in my life). More people started talking about Shetland the show- clearly it wasn’t just us having this moment.

Ann Cleeves won the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award in 2006 for Raven Black.

 A few interesting observations- Raven Black introduces the reader to DI Jimmy Perez, a native son of Fair Isle. If you’re confused about his last name, as I was initially, Perez is said to be descended from someone aboard the Armada’s flagship El Gran Grifon which crashed in a cove on Fair Isle in September of 1588.  A somewhat romantic notion in the folklore of Fair Isle knitting is that the design inspiration came from this contact- but there is no real evidence that this is the case. In the case of this book and character, however, it’s fun to think about Jimmy being a descendent of this connection.

Onto our pattern this month- The Up Helly Aa mitts by Nicole Estelle Designs, which you can purchase here. We used Nature Spun Fingering for this project, and I have some advice on sizing if you decide to make these beauties. The designer is a native of Shetland and she was inspired by the Up Helly Aa festival that takes place throughout Shetland in the early part of the year, which you’ll become acquainted with while reading Raven Black. 

Lastly- a picture of the Cake Fridge featured in S6/E3 of Shetland for no other reason than that there is a cake fridge on Shetland. 

Back to blog