I’m glad the skills are being kept alive
MARY WILLIAMSON Knitwear designer “I was five years old when I first learned to knit. I started making wee hats and scarves for bairns and soon learned the Fair Isle pattern. Even as a child, I was getting paid for my knitting. I later worked in the local fish factory and after I came home and made dinner, I’d sit in the living room and knit. It’s something we grew up with.
“For the last 10 years, I’ve been knitting full time. I used to be very fast but I’m a bit slower now at 91! I think knitting has helped keep my mind active and it’s also very relaxing and therapeutic.
“I’m best known for my Fair Isle patterns. It takes around three weeks to knit a men’s jumper. Sea Pinks is one of my most popular designs because using pink in that pattern is very unusual.
“The colours are inspired by the wild rock flowers that grow along the Whalsay coast. I think I’ve probably sent a design to every continent.
“I would like to see more young people take up knitting. It almost died out here and in the Fair Isle. It’s such an important part of our life in The Shetlands and I think people just didn’t want to lose those skills and tradition so it’s made a big comeback here.
“I’m really proud to be a V&A Design Champion, especially for the Fair Isle knitting. It would be great if the V&A can inspire more people to get involved in the textile industry. Knitting has certainly become more popular now as a hobby.”
The already iconic V&A museum in Dundee