Ukraine fundraiser - 18 June 2024
Thursday 13 June 2024
 8.1°C   NE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Trust expands free knitting lessons project

Brough Lodge patron and renowned Shetland fiddler Aly Bain at Mareel last week.

A PROJECT called ShetlandPeerieMakkers is set to provide free hand-knitting lessons in more areas of Shetland.

A pilot project was introduced in 2015 covering Whalsay, Lerwick, Skeld, Hamnavoe and Cunningsburgh. Now, three new tutors who are expert Shetland knitters have volunteered to take part in a second pilot year.

Final arrangements are being confirmed and it is planned that two new groups will be added in Ollaberry and Dunrossness from September. 

An existing group, the Unst Peerie Knitters, will also join the pilot project.

From 2018 onwards it is hoped the scheme can be extended to every part of Shetland, and funding for a paid coordinator is being sought from potential sponsors in the UK textile industry.

ShetlandPeerieMakkers was set up under the auspices of the Fetlar-based Brough Lodge Trust, which was concerned that – despite the efforts of many parents and grandparents to pass on the skills – traditional hand-knitting was under threat.

The number of young people learning to knit was “much reduced” when Shetland Islands Council withdrew support for knitting tuition. Councillors voted to remove the £130,000-a-year budget altogether in 2010.

A “task force” was put together to develop the pilot project, recruiting volunteer tutors and creating a model to operate the scheme. The task force’s work will continue in the second year.

Brough Lodge Trust chairman Pierre Cambillard said: “We want to support the culture of hand knitting in Shetland and we think we have a model that works.

“People all over the world backed the original pilot scheme and, although we are trying to find further commercial sponsorship, we would warmly welcome continuing support from anyone who shares our aim.”

With voluntary tuition and knitting yarns donated by Jamiesons of Shetland, the cost of the project is “relatively low, but some expenses have nevertheless had to be met” for things like knitting belts and notebooks.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


The funds have been raised through a few company donations, crowdfunding and JustGiving, with donations coming in from over 200 people throughout the world.

In total more than £8,000 has been pledged and the appeal remains open via the Brough Lodge Trust’s website and JustGiving. The group also has a Facebook page.

Hamnavoe volunteer tutor Anne Eunson said: “I feel quite privileged to be teaching knitting to these bairns. To see what they have achieved in this short space of time has been so rewarding.”

There has also been progress on restoring Brough Lodge in Fetlar, with the remaining external work needed to make it wind and water-tight being carried out by Shetland Amenity Trust.

Cambillard said the trust was grateful to Access 2000 Ltd for its “very generous” provision of the necessary scaffolding.

When funds allow, the trust will complete the lodge’s restoration.  The intention is for the building to become a centre of excellence for teaching hand knitting and other indigenous skills, including traditional fiddle.

It will also “offer high-quality residential accommodation to visitors from around the world, generating profits to sustain initiatives such as ShetlandPeerieMakkers far into the future”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.