In old Norse, Icelandic or Faroese, Bakka means steep coast or steep slope up from the sea. Boats were used for travel before there were roads. It is the land "at the back", the slope beyond the end of the land. This is where I live and work; a place of total calm and outstanding natural beauty. Remote in every sense of the word, it is an ideal location for creative expression.
My aim in establishing this Fair Isle knitwear business is to promote, and thus help preserve, the tradition and heritage of this uniquely Shetland product. My designs have all been inspired from the oldest garments in the collections in the Museums of Shetland and Edinburgh. I only use the traditional patterns and replicate the natural colours of old.
For many people around the world, these traditional colours are "Fair Isle" knitwear; what they expect to see in a Fair Isle garment. These colours predate chemical or synthetic dyes: white and black are natural colours of the Shetland sheep, yellow was obtained from onion skins or some local plants, red from the madder plant, and slightly later, blue was imported indigo or woad. The photo shows skeins of Shetland wool, handspun and naturally dyed by Elizabeth Johnston (www.shetlandhandspun.com). The very oldest garments have no blue.
While most of these old garments were knitted in the readily available handspun Shetland wool, there are one or two examples knitted in rayon (see Family 4). Those purists who might argue that authentic Fair Isle knitwear must only be made from pure Shetland wool would be misguided; this is not strictly true. Indeed, other wools have been established as a highly competitive category in local agricultural shows for many decades.
BAKKA's principal collection is knitted in luxury 100% superfine Italian-spun merino wool, and finished to the highest professional standard.
BAKKA also offers knitting patterns in 3 sizes for traditional fisherman's hats, called haaf keps. Each pattern is offered on its own, or as a kit with the required amount of pure Shetland wool.
Finally, BAKKA has developped a small collection of hand-knitted hats, both traditional fisherman's haaf keps and a smaller 'cloche' hat. Both use the same patterns and colours as in the principal collection, but are knitted in pure Shetland wool.
Please note that this range will be short-lived: it can only be available for as long as there are willing hand-knitters. Enjoy it while it lasts.
BAKKA products are of the highest quality. Our reputation for consistent high-quality customer service and satisfaction is invaluable to us. The immediate appeal of our designs lies in their timeless style and character as well as in the excellence of the yarn. Beyond this look and feel, genuine BAKKA garments may be identified by their labels and packaging; all bear the same, distinctive two-tone BAKKA logo.
BAKKA creations are a true craft, a statement, a celebration of contemporary heritage Fair Isle knitwear.
My hope is that some of the peaceful atmosphere that has inspired this collection is transmitted to the eventual wearer of the knitwear through their wearing.