Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Susan Crawford Vintage at The Knitting and Stitching Show

Its already that time of year again and as is fast becoming a tradition, I will be having a stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, Yorkshire, next week! 

The show is open from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th November and is at the Harrogate International Conference and Exhibition Centre. 

You will find the Susan Crawford Vintage stand at the back of Hall A, stand number A696. As always we will have a wide range of our yarns, books, kits and patterns available, plus a small selection of preview garments from the Vintage Shetland Project for you to see. There will also be a rail of ex-display/sample garments for sale! These are a variety of sizes and designs and all one of a kind. Come and have a look!

As an Autumn treat to brighten your day, we are offering a 10% discount at the show for all newsletter subscribers. If you're not already a subscriber you can join by following the sign up link on my website.

It will be wonderful to meet friends old and new at the Show so please do drop by to say hello!
For now,
Susan xx

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Shetland Adventure Continues

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy.  I’ve recently returned from a trip to Shetland and the beautiful island of Vaila, where I was working on further research and photoshoots for the Vintage Shetland Project book.

Arriving on Shetland - copyright Jeni Reid 2015

We had originally intended to stay a week, but this turned into just short of two, as gale force winds and high seas whipped up around Vaila preventing our departure. Our wonderful hosts, plentiful food and a huge amount of work to do meant our extended stay was in no way a hardship or a waste of time!

The stormy seas around Vaila
The limited hours of daylight at 60 degrees north latitude, caused a few challenges during the photoshoots.  However, the beautiful images captured on the visit were worth the horizontal rain and gale force winds.

Copyright Jeni Reid 2015
Here I am being held upright by the wind as we walked to the extreme western edge of the island for a very special view. Hidden inside her parka, is my daughter Charlie, who, along with her chap, Denis, accompanied us to Vaila. Charlie in her role as moving picture Director and Camera-Woman filmed behind the scenes, the photoshoot, and the incredible island of Vaila itself. This stunning footage will be edited together into a short film revealing a unique glimpse of our time on Vaila. Look out for further information of when the film will be available to view.

Denis was also with us for a very good reason, agreeing to be the primary male model in the book. Here he is somehow managing to look completely relaxed whilst surrounded by cameras. You may be aware of an additional photographer behind me in this shot and this is Jeni Reid, who took some amazing 'backstage' photos of the trip which will help decorate the book. 

Two days were also spent at the Shetland Museum Archive, where we set up a temporary studio to photograph each of the original museum pieces which are in the book. This was something I desperately wanted to be able to include in the book and thanks to the Crowd Funding campaign I have been able to do so.

Copyright Jeni Reid 2015
Exciting new research has revealed some crucial new stories and developments, which were previously unknown to me, but which are pivotal to the Vintage Shetland Project story and the completeness of the study as a whole. Whilst at the Museum, an additional garment came to light - the missing jigsaw piece in a way - that brings everything together and completes the collection. I felt it essential to include these new details. So this piece is now already being knitted and will be part of the final photoshoot.
This extra research, knitting and pattern writing is obviously going to take up more time so I have had to move the date of release to the Crowdfunders. All Crowdfunding books will still be sent out first with other pre-orders being sent out shortly afterwards. However for Crowdfunders this does mean that their books won't be despatched until early in 2016. If you are a Crowdfunder you should have been receiving regular newsletters about progress including one earlier this week telling you about this. If you've not been receiving your newsletters please check your spam box for emails from If there's nothing there either please let us know by contacting 

You can also sign up for my regular newsletter by following the sign up link on my website. And don't forget you can still pre-order your very own copy of The Vintage Shetland Project here.
More news very soon, but

For now,
Susan xx

All images copyright Susan Crawford unless otherwise stated. Images not to be used without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A Glimpse Inside The Vintage Shetland Project

As many of you know, I'm currently working hard on bringing together my research, patterns, photography and history for The Vintage Shetland Project

This very special book is based on garments held in the collection at the Shetland Archives.  I've selected a number of items from the collection and have meticulously charted and recorded stitch counts and patterns, to enable me to recreate them and from this information create multi-sized knitting patterns.  My choice of pieces has not only been based on beauty, but also on the stories which they have each revealed. From the Suffragette Movement to WWII, prize winning knits to highly experimental work the book is proving to be incredibly rewarding and fascinating work. 

I've recently held a photoshoot for the book, on the island of Vaila which is off the West coast of Shetland and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.  It is a truly awe-inspiring and majestic location - but more of that later, first let me introduce you to some of the patterns that will be in the book and also give you a peek at some behind-the-scenes photos.

Here is my beautiful model, Ria, knocking at the door of Vaila Hall whilst wearing these beautiful pair of gloves featuring a Norwegian flower motif and knitted in organic Shetland wool produced from the sheep of Vaila.

Here I am hard at work, photographing Ria in the gardens of Vaila Hall. She is also wearing a stunning Aquascutum coat from the 1950s.

Here's a detailed shot of the mittens. Typically of the late 1940s/early 50s these mittens have extra long cuffs to ensure the gap between coat and hand is protected. These mittens are knitted in Jamieson & Smith 2ply jumper weight wool.

One of my absolute favourites is this amazing and highly unusual sleeveless pullover whose pattern and colours echo the rugged landscape and coast of Vaila. If you look to the horizon you can just see the island of Foula in the far distance.

The Vintage Shetland Project featuring 26 patterns, essays and histories is available for pre-order for only £25 (plus p&p). 

You can pre-order your copy here 

Please note that despatch will commence in early 2016.

The island of Vaila is a very special place, owned by Richard Rowland and his wife Dorota, accessible only by boat and home to Shetland sheep, ponies, seals and many, many sea birds.  Richard describes Vaila as a microcosm of all that is Shetland - incredible scenery, nature, space and peace.  I'm so very fortunate to be able to use the island as the backdrop for my book.

When you arrive on Vaila you feel you have stepped into a fairy tale - after all how many places do you know that has a watchtower at the bottom of the garden!

And so, my thoughts are turning to the next photoshoot for the book.  I'm now on my way back up to Shetland and then to Vaila.  I'm excited to see how the landscape has changed since I was there a few weeks ago and also very excited to see the newly prepared pieces in this stunning location!  Look out for more behind the scenes photos and shots of beautiful Vaila on my Instagram feed in the next few days.

For now,
Susan xx