Shetland has become synonymous with certain kinds of knit textiles, which have influenced the development of its landscape, economy, and relationship to other places. Three distinct elements are important when considering Shetland knitting in relation to place: geographies of scale, e.g. small islands within a community of practice and creative economy that are global; typologies of space, e.g. domestic, educational, industrial, and online spaces; and place identity, e.g. conceptions of “Shetlandness.” The article examines each of these elements before presenting recent activity around the Shetland hap as one example of how they mesh together in practice. It builds on a 2016–17 study of contemporary Shetland hand knitting with further ethnographic research on Shetland’s knitting culture.
- space and place