Shetland Wool Week patron and hat pattern announced for 2022
Published: 13 June 2022
The Shetland Wool Week patron for 2022 has been named today as Whalsay knitter, Linda Shearer, at a launch event held this evening at Shetland Museum and Archives.
The much-anticipated annual hat pattern, which is now synonymous with the launch of the patron was also released. This year’s Shetland Wool Week hat, designed by Linda, is called the ‘Bonnie Isle Hat’.
Shetland Wool Week is delighted to have Linda as this year’s patron. Linda is an experienced Fair Isle knitting tutor, and shares her skills year-round via Shetland Adult Learning, ShetlandPeerieMakkers and annually during Shetland Wool Week. She joined the Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers in 2013 and just completed six years as chairperson.
Linda has lived in Whalsay, Shetland all her life. Her father was a fisherman, and her mother, Ina, knitted private commissions to supplement the family income and was also a keen spinner and knitter.
“It was my mother who taught me to knit; I can’t say at exactly what age I began knitting Fair Isle but I designed and knitted myself a Fair Isle jumper at the age of 14. I do remember knitting childrens’ mittens with a small Fair Isle pattern when I was quite young; I even got to sell some of them. Knitting has always been a passion of mine – I cannot remember ever not doing knitting, I’m always planning the next project in my head while doing other things.
“My hat design is named after the nickname for Whalsay, the ‘Bonnie Isle’. Living on an island means the sea is ever present in our lives. All the men in my family have worked on or near the sea. But although the ‘Bonnie Isle’ hat has a nautical theme, the patterns mean much more. The chain in the rib represents the link between us all during Shetland Wool Week; and the anchor, a common motif in Fair Isle knitting, symbolises a sense of keeping grounded, connected to what matters most, and able to cope with life’s challenges. The crown, a circle, is to me a spinning wheel and a tribute to my mother Ina Irvine. A prolific spinner and knitter, she was my inspiration.”
Linda has created five very different colourways for the hat using yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland, Jamieson and Smith, Uradale Yarns, and new yarn producers Laxdale Yarns and Aister Oo, and kits are available from each company’s respective shops and websites.
The organisers of Shetland Wool Week said: “We are delighted to have been able to announce the news this year in person and are thrilled that Linda Shearer will be the ambassador for Shetland Wool Week 2022 and will put knitting from Whalsay on the global map.”
“Despite two years of Covid the event is as popular as ever, helped in part by our virtual offerings but also the annual hat pattern release. Wilma Malcolmson’s last two hats have proven incredibly popular and I’m sure Linda’s will this year. The Bonnie Isle Hat features very distinctive motifs and we’re really looking forward to seeing visitors and folk from around the world share their knitted hats online and in person later in the year. The hat patterns will be available from the museum or the shops, and are also available to download for free from the Shetland Wool Week website.
A Question and Answer interview with Linda is available to read via the SWW newsletter and the website. A special facebook SWWKAL (Knit-A-Long) has also been launched for the Bonnie Isle Hat and the SWW organisers are encouraging everyone to join in and share their hat works in progress, questions and photos.
The thirteenth Shetland Wool Week is due to take place from 24 September.
The Bonnie Isle Hat pattern is free to download from www.shetlandwoolweek.com