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Sources of Inspiration

There are a number of garments which have inspired the range of products. Typically four colours were used in the oldest patterns but occasionally there were five or even three.

I am grateful to the Shetland Museum and Archives (SMA) and the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) for their kind permission to publish the photos below. Please be aware that they cannot be downloaded or published.

Design 1

Family 1 Inspiration

This is a classic design with motifs varying all over the garments. There are several examples of this kind of pattern in both the SMA and the Shetland Textile Museum. It is our iconic design.

Design 2

These socks are in the National Museum of Scotland (NMS). There are bands of stripes in between all the patterns.



Design 3

This sock also in the collections of the NMS. It is a vertical pattern, simple motifs with zigzags (waves).


Design 4

Although the colours are not Catholic ceremonial colours, its style and the motifs suggest that the knitter had seen some Catholic top-piece. Again held by NMS.


Design 5

This beret is on permanent display in NMS. I have extended the triangles of the beret into lozenges in my designs. 



Design 6

Bands of large motifs are separated by what is called the Sand pattern. This consists of a grid 3 motifs deep of alternating small motifs. It is held by NMS.



Design 7

This scarf is probably one of the oldest Fair Isle garments in the collections of the NMS. The large patterns simply sit on top of each other, rather than being interspersed by another smaller pattern. Note the trees at the ends.


Design 8

Family 8 Inspiration

This sampler is on permanent display in the galleries of the NMS. There are 12 large motifs, which are separated by 2 columns of zig-zags. It is in 4- colours, with blue being used rather than black.



Design 9

A simple structure, bands of alternating large and small motifs. Patterns vary.




Design 10

5-colours with large and small motifs.



Design 11

The most minimalist of the patterns with only 3-colours.





Design 12

This is where you will find the totally contemporary designs, all with Fair Isle motifs in the pattern.