Monday, 9 July 2012

Stranding Edinburgh

I have a new project underway - Luckenbooth Brooch by Ron Schweitzer.
 This is a 'commission' of a sort - I am knitting it for the sister of a friend. She bought it as a kit a few years ago and recently came to the realisation that she would never find the time to start it, never mind complete it. A search was on to find someone who would handknit it for her, here in Shetland. You would think that would be easy, plenty of wonderful handknitters around, with the right skills. It seems, though, that nobody wanted the job - Margaret couldn't understand why. Eventually someone told her - because it wasn't a 'Shetland' pattern, although the wool was Shetland and it had been designed for the Wool Brokers here in Lerwick, traditional knitters would have had to follow a chart.
 These knitters know most of the traditional patterns off by heart - they never need to look at a chart. It is just irritating to keep looking at a chart if you are used to flying along at top speed. Knitters like me, who don't have 40 odd years of practice at this, are quite happy following a chart. So I agreed to do it this once (I am not usually keen on knitting to order - it has a faint whiff of drudgery about it).

I am really enjoying it as it turns out. It is time-consuming - each round of 400 plus stitches is taking me about 45 minutes at the moment - but the pattern itself is a lot easier than the bigger motifs in fair isle knitting and can be memorised fairly quickly , so that after the first repeat or two, I don't keep having to check the chart and can get on with watching Lewis or King or whatever.

The Luckenbooth brooch is a traditional Scottish, rather than Shetlandic/Norse, symbol. They are named after the Lucken Booths, or 'locked booths' - early shops around St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, that sold jewellery and trinkets. The broochy were often given as a betrothal gift, and later pinned to the shawls of babies to protect them from evil spirits. Normally made of silver, a Luckenbooth brooch consists of two intertwined hearts, often topped with a crown. Lots of modern examples on Etsy