Some of the patterns in our box show signs of multiple use, pieces of tape and repairs with pins. These were not one-use only, they were shared, passed on. I don’t remember ever making a second version of a dress myself, but I do remember ironing the creases back into paper, fitting it gently back into the envelope, passing it on....
Over the pandemic the shop filled with people wanting to learn the slow arts of making and mending for the first time, or to reacquaint themselves after many years with sewing, knitting, mending. The last few years have prompted many of us to consider new ways of living, to slow down, to reconsider how we relate to each other and to the planet...
We’re open again. After what seems like forever, we’re opening the doors cautiously, and letting the world back in a few people at a time! We’ve all been on a journey and many things have changed along the way.
These quiet pieces are part of a much-needed change in our buying habits, production processes, scales of output, things that need to be urgently addressed. Mindful businesses like the Shetland Tweed Company support local communities and practices, and hand in hand with that, the revival of traditional crofting and farming practice on Yell helps environmental healing, allows sheep to graze, birds to nest, wild flowers and inspiration to blossom, and of course, shuttles to fly.
There’s something about not finishing things that has a familiarity for everyone, at least everyone I’ve talked to in the shop about it. In a basket under my bed a hand-made clown suit in black and red diamond cotton, one leg coming adrift – where did I get that?
I’m happiest in the shop near the wool. It appeals to me on an almost visceral level. Like many people of my generation, my childhood was littered with abominable hand-knits. Maybe being here next to the piles of yarn makes me feel like I’m working through the horror of a white and green acrylic kilt, electrostatically charged, purple and brown leg warmers that never stayed up, and the grey worsted swimsuit, heavy, expansive, embarrassing.
7 years old. Brownies. I’d made it to be the seconder of my six, totally unassuming and shocked by my ascension - I’d been bestowed in the woodland circle my badge of honour. Riding a high, I was someone. Until the Halloween party.