I’m glad the skills are be­ing kept alive

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

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

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