Friday, June 01, 2012

Fair Isle Knitwear Photographed in the 1970's

Babs Stout of Lower Stoneybrek knitted this classic Fair Isle jumper for George Waterson founder of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, from all account George wore a Fair Isle Jumper like a badge on honour.
Recently a woman said to me... I know who you are, I read your blog and It has helped me to reconnect to Fair Isle and has made me come revisit after 30 some years. Her name? Sally Hind a former Fair Isle Bird Observatory administrator from the 1970's. She told me some bird stories like the time she found Fair Isle's first an only record of Gull-Billed Tern. etc. She also had brought with her some old photos which I asked to scan and show on my blog and I have made copies for Anne Sinclair at the Fair Isle Museum. Lucky for me Sally was already a fan of the blog, but even more Sally had been and still is a keen knitter and had taken record photos of Fair Isle Knitwear on the visitors or while cleaning or stretching the garments for returning guests with their previous purchases. I think we would all like to thank Sally for sharing these photos and I don't think she was at all disappointed with her visit. I imagine it will not take her so long to come again next time.

If you have any old Fair Isle photos, knitwear or historical items please contact me or the Fair Isle Museum. We would love to see them.

Unknown knitter & vistor

Anne Thomson's Fair Isle Jumper 1978 for John Potter

Unknown Visitor & Knitter 

Fair Isle Scarves 

Fair Isle Jumper by Helen Stout for Dr Jeul Jensen

Groovy Baby!
Made by Anne Thomson -1972
Though non-traditional this Fair Isle Shaded Jumper would of been the height in fashion in 1972.

Fair Isle Jumper - Knitter unknown? 

Molly Wilson - Fair Isle Knitting 1978
Fair Isle Knitter Helen Stout of Busta made this jumper in 1952 for Dr. Bodington.
Interestingly this Fair Isle Jumper was lengthened by adding a row or 2 of pattern.
 Even in this photo you can see they had some difficulty matching the natural home died colours. 

It was vintage then! Fair Isle Knitwear on display at FIBO 1978
If you have any additional info on these photos please leave your comments below. I have not yet conferred with Anne & Annie for additional info on these, I have just used what was written in the back of the photos. cheers!


  1. I'm a knitwear designer who reads your blog. Great photos. I will share them with the knitting community.

  2. Hi Tommy and Sally,
    These are great photos and a fantastic design resource. Please advise me of the copyright and usage restrictions attached to them. They form such a major part of Fair Isle's unique heritage. Thanks for letting me/us see them.
    Kathy (Fair Isle Textile Workshop)

  3. hello i have just been watching the programe coast on the tv,,,,,it was about fair isle,,,very interesting dont know when they filmed it though,,,,that made me look at fair isle on the web, my mum could knit fair isle,,,she knitted a jumper for an american, my mum was a scot came from wick, caithness, she sadly passed away 4 years ago,,,,,,,i can knit a little,,,but not like her, lovely to see it,im from milton keynes, near london, i love crafts,

  4. I love vintage knitwear style like this, reminds me of my grandfather. Thanks for sharing. great post ! We also offer knitwear for men, visit White + Warren page. Thanks !