I've been waiting very patiently to read this new journal from Misa Hay - it came out whilst I was in Shetland, but beyond having a quick look in The Shetland Times bookshop and at my stepmothers copy I held off reading it for a treat when I got home. I'm glad I waited, it's good to have something to look forward to, and after a few grey days, a couple of loads of laundry, and all the other boring things that need to be caught up with when you've been away for a few weeks this was the perfect thing to read this afternoon.
I have a piece in it about Mary Prior's book, Rhubarbaria which I'm really pleased to have contributed. I'd actually subscribed to the Journal before Misa asked me to write something for it, I'm even more pleased she asked me now I've properly seen a copy. It's a lovely thing to be associated with.
The journal covers patterns, of which there are 6, walks, recipes, stories, and inspiration. The patterns are a mix of hats, gloves, mitts, a chunky shawl (Donna Smith's Brough - very nice) and a cowl. The hats and mitts are great projects for people relatively new to Fair Isle knitting - quick, not too fiddly, and the sort of thing that anybody would be happy to produce. I say this quite a bit, but I really like the accessibility of patterns which are both beautiful and not overly complicated.
The first knitting book I bought had a range of projects in it that all looked hideous to me. It quite quickly ended up in a charity shop; those patterns might have been carefully chosen to build a skill set, but who wants to invest in the materials and time it takes to knit something they're not going to like? The Shetland Wool Week annuals (which Misa was also responsible for in the early days) were the first things I bought that had patterns I really wanted to make in them, and felt I could make. I doubt I'm alone in this.
The recipes in here are great too. The ingredients and flavours reflect Shetland and the best of it's produce, but again are things I want to make and eat (especially the treacle bannocks which sound like ideal autumn/winter treats). I really like the way the landscape is showcased through a trio of suggested walks, and theirs a wealth of other things which come under the more general heading of inspiration.
My highlights include an article by Mike Finnie (architect, watercolourist, jeweler, and over all renaissance man) on croft houses, Eve Eunson on Fair Isle chairs, and a couple of articles on the history of Lerwick. All of it is an indication of the history and range of creativity to be found in Shetland - just part of why it's such an exciting place to be.
Details of how to order are here. It's well worth a look.