Kep's, for the uninitiated, are a bit like an extra long ski hat, and I guess we're traditionally worn by fishermen looking to keep warm at sea - I've seen old ones in the Shetland Museum, seen pictures of even older ones, and read accounts of them in descriptions of local costume from at last the early 19th century. They are remarkably flamboyant articles.
The Facebook group is having a Kep-along at the moment which was just the spur I needed to use up some of my yarn stash and get on with it. The group is friendly, supportive, deeply enthusiastic about all things kep, ranges from beginner knitters to old hands, and has almost 4000 more members than Fair Isle has inhabitants (which I think is about 55, give or take). I do love the thought of thousands of people across the world having this particular link to one small island.
Meanwhile knitting the kep was fairly straightforward, I learnt a bit doing it, and realised there's a lot more still to learn - which is all to the good. I used Jamieson and Smiths heritage shades - it's a nice soft yarn, especially for Shetland wool, and as the range is designed to work together I thought I'd be on safe ground colour wise. I stuck with the patterns provided by Anne Sinclair (but have seen an amazing array of possibilities in the last few weeks) and avoided adding extra stitches, wanting to keep it as simple as possible first time around. The pattern gives you a basic template to work too, but with all the room you could want for personal variations - which is perfect.
I'm quite happy with the results - there are mistakes, but they're not to obvious. How I put colours and patterns together needs more work, but I find it easier to learn from not getting it quite right first time than from careful planning (which I don't always have the patience for). I really enjoyed the community aspect of the knit along and being able to ask questions, or better yet see that someone else had already asked the question. It was also a fun thing to knit.
There is a reasonable chance that if you know me, you'll be getting a kep.