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Fair Isle Knitting Patterns


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Reproducing the known work of Robert Williamson.

By Mary Macgregor.

Ringbound paperback.

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£ 15.99

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Robert Williamson (1885-1954) was by all accounts a master of many crafts and an early entrepreneur. After having fished with his father and uncle for several years around 1920 he opened a barber shop along with a cycle agency and cycle repair shop in Commercial Street, Lerwick... He was interested in Fair Isle knitting, and possibly knitted himself. He collected patterns and printed them in standard exercise books using stencils. The patterns were usually printed in red and green bands, and these would have indicated to the knitter where a colour change usually occurred. Interspersed with these traditional patterns are ‘fantasy’ patterns … He even printed the letters of the alphabet. In total,

I have managed to study some 60 different pages (excluding the tartan book which I treat separately), and it is these traditional patterns that I have used for this catalogue. It is by no means an exhaustive collection of all the different pages he ever printed, but simply all that I have had the privilege to see and record. Some readers will be surprised that many of the more popular patterns, for instance those that repeat on 12 stitches, are absent from this work. All that I can say is that they are either newer patterns or simply ones that he did not print or that I have not seen.

Mary Macgregor

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