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University of Southampton takes prestigious knitting collection to Shetland

Published: 
27 September 2010

A 1919 World War One ‘Victory’ tea cosy, miniature elephants and a pineapple purse are just a few of the knitted objects being taken by the University of Southampton to Shetland to exhibit at an international knitting conference.

‘In the Loop 2’ is being held between 1 and 5 September 2010 and is jointly organised by the University of Southampton and the Shetland Museum and Archives.

“Shetland has a world famous knitwear industry and heritage, and I’m thrilled to be taking items from our collection to display there,” says Linda Newington, of the University’s Knitting Reference Library.

She continues, “This conference has attracted some of the top names in knitting, and is a chance for people to share ideas and examine what the future may hold for the craft and industry. Hopefully our collection of objects from the past, can give inspiration for new and innovative ideas.”

‘In the Loop 2’ has attracted delegates and speakers from across the world, from places as far and wide as Norway, the United States and New Zealand. The theme of the event is ‘tradition and renewal’.

“We will examine traditional techniques from many different countries and encourage people to think about how these can be kept alive, while also influencing new developments. One way we may be able to achieve this is through the internet, which has already been greatly influential in spreading the word, sharing information and reaching new makers,” comments Linda Newington.

An object from the Montse Stanley collection
Knitted pineapple purse

Co-organiser, Dr Carol Christiansen, Curator and Community Museums Officer of Shetland Museum and Archives, comments, “I'm very pleased we have been able to bring this conference to Shetland. The Shetland knitting establishment will have much to offer on the theme of tradition and renewal. We're looking forward to displaying some of the marvellous examples of knitting from the University of Southampton Special Collections.”

The University of Southampton Knitting Reference Library holds collections of three renowned knitting experts; Montse Stanley, Richard Rutt and Jane Waller. These include over 800 knitted objects, hundreds of postcards and photographs, an estimated 1,200 knitting patterns, plus an extensive collection of books, magazines and journals – the earliest dated 1836.

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