Tuesday, May 06, 2014


With 11 minutes to go, in the game with Crystal Palace last night, Liverpool were leading 3-0. That's a lot. The match ended in a 3-3 draw. It is still not impossible that Liverpool should win the league, if Manchester City disgrace themselves in their last two matches. But is it likely? No.


I have finished off the recent row of motifs, and reached round 79. Today's target is to finish round 80 and with it, the second chart. That's three and a half rows of motifs done, two and a half to go. I must surely be half-way, even allowing for the expanding corners.

Cam, yes, you've got it. A traditional square Shetland shawl consists of a square centre, usually with an all-over pattern, surrounded by four trapezoidal borders, the principal design element, the width of each border being roughly half that of the centre. The whole is finished off (or started, depending on which way you're going) with a strip of lace with a toothed edge – the edging. Liz Lovick refers to her edging patterns simply as “lace” – and she lives on Orkney and ought to know how people talk about things.

The first such shawl I ever knit was from a Paton's leaflet in the 50's (when I was expecting Rachel), designed by “Mrs Hunter of Unst”. I can't believe that Mrs Hunter knit it Paton's way – the six elements (centre, four borders, edging) were knit separately and laboriously seamed at the end. Shades of EZ's experience with editors! who insisted on taking her Aran designs apart and issuing the pattern so that they were knit flat. EZ found her own solution to the problem of editors. Mrs Hunter presumably just went home to Unst.

I got Sharon Miller's pamphlets out yesterday and began re-reading them attentively, starting with “The Lerwick Lace Shawl” in which, rather as with the Queen Ring, she deconstructs and then re-constructs an antique shawl in her own collection.

Her achievements really are rather remarkable. As far as I know, no one else has brought remotely her range of skills to bear on Shetland lace. It is appropriate that the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers include an enthusiastic paragraph about “Heirloom Knitting” in the acknowledgements to their recent book “A Legacy of Shetland Lace”. A distant Englishwoman – or is Sharon an expatriate Shetlander? Google is quiet on the subject. Wikipedia knows only of an American professional golfer under that name.

Her ability to read a piece of old lace is remarkable, and to deduce the design process of the knitter. To knit and design herself, goes without saying, But she also has done serious research into the printed references to Shetland knitting and sheep. Her books/pamphlets contain many interesting quotations, passages not easy to find elsewhere.

Zite doesn't seem t have anything for us this morning.


  1. Hello Jean, I wondered if you had seen this interview with Sharon Miller? http://www.knittingbeyondthehebrides.org/lace/sharonmiller.html

  2. i was wondering whether you can knit the edging on to the border as you go - it is of course different from knitting the edging on to the border but would the end product be dramatically different? would it be possible?

    1. I think that is how orenberg shawls are done. At least that is how I interpret the patterns I've seen.