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Community / Knitwear designer all set for teaching trip to India

A KNITWEAR designer from Shetland says it is a “real honour” to be invited to teach Fair Isle knitting in India.

Terri Malcolmson.

Terri Malcolmson, who is a Wool Week tutor, will travel to the Tamil Nadu province next week as part of an initiative to provide women in rural areas with skills to gain sustainable employment.

The region – known for its textiles – already has a Shetland link, with a delegation of volunteers travelling to Tamil Nadu in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

While there, late Shetland Amenity Trust general manager Jimmy Moncrieff had the “spark of an idea” which eventually lead to the creation of Shetland Wool Week.

Terri said she is “really excited about the trip to India and apprehensive at the same time”.

“It was participating in Shetland Wool Week that gave me the confidence to teach knitting – this is my third year as a Wool Week tutor and I love it,” she added.

“The opportunity to travel to Tamil Nadu and to contribute to such an important initiative is a real honour.”

Terri is being kept busy right now with Shetland Wool Week, which formally launched on Sunday.

Hundreds of people are visiting the isles from across the world to take part in events and classes.

I am busy teaching all week as part of Wool Week and then I can really start getting ready for my trip,” Terri said.

“Both Linda Coutts and Emma Perring at SIC volunteered in Tamil Nadu after the 2004 tsunami and they have been wonderful in providing me with information and advice for my trip. I really can’t believe that it is happening.”

Terri will be working on behalf of the company KOCO, which stands for ‘Knit One Garment Change One life’.

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It originated in Australia and the company got in touch with Terri earlier this year asking her to get involved.

It works in partnership with women who live in the rural villages of Tamil Nadu and trains them in the art and science of hand knitting, as well as reading English and mathematics, enabling them to gain full-time employment and financial independence for themselves and their families.

The women are already said to be skilled knitters and Terri will be teaching them how to knit two colours in each row.

Chair of Wool Week organisers Shetland Amenity Trust Ruth Mackenzie said: “[Terri] is a really talented young designer and it is as if Shetland Wool Week has gone full circle, back to the place where the idea for the event originated.

“The purpose of Shetland Wool Week was to celebrate and enhance all aspects of Shetland Wool and to make all aspects of the industry more sustainable in the future. Seeing a young local designer develop and grow in confidence as a result of the event is fantastic and we wish her all the best for her trip.”

Terri will set off on her journey on 11 October and will be writing about her trip on her blog.

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