Brough Lodge: a remarkable site on the Shetland island of Fetlar Brough Lodge

More children will learn knitting through ShetlandPeerieMakkers

More children will learn knitting through ShetlandPeerieMakkers

More areas in Shetland are to benefit from the free hand-knitting lessons provided through ShetlandPeerieMakkers.

In 2015, the first pilot project was successfully introduced in Whalsay, Lerwick, Skeld, Hamnavoe and Cunningsburgh.   Three new lead tutors, who are expert Shetland knitters, have generously volunteered to take part in the second pilot year, for which final arrangements are being confirmed.  It is planned that two new groups will be added from September, in Ollaberry and Dunrossness, and an existing group, the Unst Peerie Knitters, will join the Shetland PeerieMakkers pilot project

From 2018 onwards, it’s hoped that the scheme can be extended to every part of Shetland, but a paid co-ordinator will then be needed to manage the project.  Funding is being sought from potential sponsors in the UK textile sector.

ShetlandPeerieMakkers was set up under the auspices of the Fetlar-based Brough Lodge Trust, which became 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  The number of young people learning to knit had been much reduced when Council support for tuition was withdrawn.  A task force has developed the innovative pilot project, recruited the volunteer tutors and created a model to operate the scheme.  The task force will continue to work with the tutors in the second year.

Brough Lodge Trust Chair, 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.”

Because the tuition is provided by volunteers and knitting yarns  are being donated by the local spinners, Jamiesons of Shetland, the cost of the project is relatively low, but some expenses have nevertheless had to be met, for example knitting belts and note books. All the funds required so far have been raised through a few company donations, crowd-funding and JustGiving online, with donations coming in from more than 200 individuals throughout the world.  To date, more than £8,000 has been pledged in that way and the appeal remains open via the Brough Lodge Trust’s website and JustGiving.  The group also has a Facebook page. 

Hamnavoe  volunteer Head 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"

The Trust was originally set up to restore Brough Lodge in Fetlar and there has been progress on that project, too, with the remaining external work needed to complete the wind and water tight phase being undertaken by the Shetland Amenity Trust.  Pierre Cambillard says that the Trust is very grateful to Access 2000 Ltd for their sponsorship in the form of the necessary scaffolding. 

“We’re all delighted that Access 2000 have made this generous donation towards the project and I would like to thank them very warmly for their support.  It’s a further step in the restoration and ultimately helps towards the long term sustainability of ShetlandPeerieMakkers.  Garry Carey, owner and Managing Director, wanted to make this donation to show his support for what he regards as a very worthwhile cause.”

As soon as funds allow, the Trust will complete the remaining phases of the restoration.  The intention is that the building will become a centre of excellence for the teaching of hand-knitting and other indigenous skills, including traditional fiddle.  It will offer high-quality residential accommodation to visitors from around the world, generating profits to sustain initiatives such as ShetlandPeerieMakkers far into the future.


Note to editors

Further information is available on the Brough Lodge Trust website at:

Pierre Cambillard, Chairman of the Brough Lodge Trust can be contacted via email

Brough Lodge Zoom Brough Lodge

Graham McNally, Garry Carey  and Torneil Halvorsan at Brough Lodge

Aly Bain Zoom Aly Bain

Brough Lodge Trust Patron Dr Aly Bain at Mareel, August 4th 2016

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