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Shetland Wool Week patron and nature inspired hat pattern announced

Published: 28 April 2023

The Shetland Wool Week patron for 2023 has been named today as Shetland-based nurse and talented Fair Isle knitter, Alison Rendall, at a launch event held this evening at the Shetland Museum and Archives.

The much-anticipated annual hat pattern, which is synonymous with the launch of the patron was also released. This year’s Shetland Wool Week hat, designed by Alison Rendall, takes inspiration from nature and is called the ‘Buggiflooer Beanie’.

Shetland Wool Week is delighted to have such a prolific knitter of Fair Isle as this year’s patron. Shetland born and bred, Alison grew up in the early 1970s surrounded by knitters in pre-oil industry Shetland. She was deeply influenced by the designs and colours of her Nan’s knitting, and has never forgotten the Fair Isle allover and yoke jumpers her mother made for her each year. She learned to knit when very young, and progressed to Fair Isle knitting at school when she was just eight or nine years old.

On hearing the news Alison said: “It was a total surprise to be asked to be this year’s SWW patron. This is the kind of thing that happens to someone else, but I never expected it to be me! I am delighted and honoured to be asked. I hope to use my time as patron to showcase Shetland’s unique culture, heritage, language and especially the makkin.

“Knitting is a great relaxing therapy for me and has seen me through tough times. It is easy to become absorbed in a world of my own, especially in Fair Isle colourwork. I often think about the many, talented makkers of the past, many of whom have gone unrecognised and this is what drives me to share my skills. I believe it is important to keep Shetland and Shetland maakers on the map.”

Alison’s hat is a distinctive design that incorporates traditional elements together with a flower motif. She chose the name Buggiflooer – a Shetland name for Sea Campion – which grows in abundance near her home by the sea. “I like to support Shetland language and culture by using Shetland words in my designs. This practice helps keep them alive in both usage and understanding, bringing them back into the forefront of people’s minds.”

The Buggiflooer beanie is available in five different colourways using Shetland yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland; Jamieson & Smith; Uradale Yarns; Laxdale Yarn and Aister Oo. Two of the versions use just two colours – a design led decision by Alison but also a way to simplify the pattern for those new to Fair Isle knitting.

Chief executive of Shetland Amenity Trust Hazel Sutherland said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Alison has agreed to take on the mantle of wool week patron. Linda Shearer has done a sterling job for us and we know she will pass on her tips to Alison.  Alison is an established designer in her own right.  She is a proud supporter of Shetland’s heritage, with her inspiration for this year’s hat pattern rooted in Shetland’s landscape, nature and language.”

The hat pattern is available to download from the Shetland Wool Week website for £1 and is also available as a printed version for £2 from the Shetland Museum and local wool shops.