Unst’s knitting history
Knitting in Unst in the past was an economic necessity. Many women were living on a croft, which was seldom large enough to provide a living for a family. Out of necessity too, most of the men were crofter/fishermen, leaving the womenfolk to tend the croft and knit in every spare moment to support the family, for the fishing too could be very uncertain, especially with the Truck system in operation.
Mothers and Grannies have always taught their bairns to knit, as they too could contribute to the family as well as helping with croft work.
Until recently there were knitting teachers in Shetland Schools, till the Education Authority in their wisdom decided to cut this vital service.
Peerie Knitters Out and About
Over the years the Peerie Knitters has taken part in a variety of activities.
One year a group was invited to the Royal Highland Show and demonstrated knitting to other young folk.
Unst Heritage Centre fashion show and book launch
“A Stitch in Time”, a book about Unst Lace knitting created by the Unst Heritage Centre, was published and launched at the Fashion Show event.
The children made jumpers and took part in the knitwear fashion show “One hundred years of Unst knitting”.
It is interesting to see that, when the local Care Centre has a Knit and Chat evening, the range of ages of knitters attending ranges from a lady of over 100 years to a child of 7 years of age!
It is to be hoped that the special knitting skills for Unst’s fine lace live on in the next generation now learning to knit.