FAIR ISLE KNITTING HOLIDAYS
Our individually tailored knitting holidays give you time to explore all things Fair Isle.
We offer a unique opportunity to come to the island to get a taste of our extraordinary life here and learn something of the craft of Fair Isle knitting at its source. During your time with us you can explore Fair Isle patterns and techniques, looking at the yarns we use, testing out different colour combinations and trying your hand at the flat-bed machine to produce your own piece of knitwear. From the comfort of our lovely croft house, you will hone your knitting skills whilst enjoying good home-cooking, amazing views and relaxing into a rare kind of peace only found in dreams.
There is ample potential for research for those who are curious—our modest library of books is stocked with volumes on textiles, colour, knitting techniques and the history of the island. Local people are a great source of knowledge and we are fortunate to be located next to the Fair Isle museum which holds many artefacts and stories detailing the long-standing connection of the islanders to knitting.
We like to get to know you a little beforehand—usually we begin with a video call to discuss possibilities so we can get planning an interesting week to fit with you. With only a maximum of 2 guests staying with us per week, we devote our full attention to your needs and wishes, ensuring your stay is memorable and rich. No two holidays are the same and we work to customise your stay with us based on what you would like to get from your days with us on Fair Isle. There will also be opportunities to share a morning or afternoon with a different specialist on the island, personalised to your interests. There is much to discover on Fair Isle.
Whatever the level of your ability and experience, we welcome you to spend a week at Taft with us where we’ll help you to delve into the design process and support you to produce some Fair Isle knitwear of your own to take home with you (be that a matching scarf and wrist-warmers, perhaps an array of hats as gifts for the family or, for those more advanced, a jumper).
Whilst basic hand-knitting skills are an advantage, no pre-existing experience of machine knitting is required. We are able to teach all you might need to know to gain confidence and feel at ease with simple machine knitting. Modern Fair Isle knitting equally combines hand-finishing with work on the machine. Equally, devotees of hand-knitting are welcome to knit with us solely by hand if preferred (though output may be more modest over a week).
We delight in sharing our passion for the island and promoting a craft that produces enduring knitwear of incomparable beauty. There is something deeply satisfying about working to continue a much-admired tradition. Only the finest beautiful locally produced wool is used, spun and dyed on Shetland to produce remarkably warm, resilient yarn. You can see the sheep from our window! We hold over 80 colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wool for you to choose from in hues that reflect the landscape of these northerly isles.
Our lovely peaceful croft house ‘Taft’ is located to the south of the island. We are conveniently situated next to the Fair Isle Museum and there are glorious views of the sea (a 10-minute walk away). The house was recently renovated and inside you’ll find a stylish, warm, uncluttered space with all the comforts of modern life. You will be living for the week with myself and my partner Thomas. All food is lovingly prepared and cooked for you by us. Meals are relaxed and communal, eaten around our kitchen table; cups of tea can be taken by the fire. (Please advise us in good time of any allergies/dietary requirements. We are happy to accommodate you but we do need advance notice to bring any special supplies on the island). You are free to make use of the kitchen but we kindly ask that you leave it as you found it.
There is one bedroom for guests with 2 beds which can be configured to a double or singles. The bathroom is shared. We’ve taken booking from friends and partners but also people booking singly who are happy to take the chance on meeting a new knitting friend!
Our accommodation is entirely on the ground floor but has no specific adaptation for those of limited mobility. Please note, there is strictly no smoking permitted inside the house.
My Fair Isle knitting holiday with Marie was just wonderful. I learned so much about machine knitting and I now
have the confidence to use the machine I inherited. Marie is so patient and sorted out my mistakes for me which
meant I managed to produce a lovely cowl, wristwarmers and a headband and I’m sure I’ll be able to transfer all I
learned and make things by myself.
Add to the learning the warm welcome, the fabulous food, and the range of other things Marie arranged for me to
do and see and it was just the perfect knitting holiday. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone!
I spent 7 wonderful days on Fair Isle on a knitting holiday with Marie in July 2021 – and loved every moment of it. Marie balanced the week’s activities perfectly to give me both a good understanding of the process of knitting Fair Isle by machine, and a real feel for life on Fair Isle. I met other Fair Isle residents, saw the whole island, visited the lighthouse, was lucky enough to take part in Sheep Hill and help shear some sheep – and still we had ample time on the knitting to choose pattern and colours, learn the process, and knit and finish my chosen project. Marie is a great teacher and very knowledgeable on machine knitting. The accommodation at Taft cottage is beautiful and comfortable, Marie and Thomas are very welcoming hosts, and Marie’s cooking is amazing. All in all, a fantastic holiday, and 7 days flew by. I left with a finished fair isle cowl, hand warmers and two hats – as well as the knowledge to machine knit and finish fair isle items on my own. Also, a strong desire to visit Marie and Fair Isle again in the near future. Highly recommend this holiday.
Staying with Marie, in her home, experiencing her way of life is like no other “holiday” you will ever experience. Transport to and from the island is unique and at the whim of the weather. Be prepared for a proper adventure to a remote and friendly isle, Fair Isle.
The joys of running a knitting holiday business, along with contributing to island life as a retained firefighter, as well as being an island crofter with sheep to look after, as well as dealing with the everyday challenges that living on Fair Isle brings could be overwhelming for some, but Marie is full of warmth and has such a passion for her way of life that is infectious. Given the choice, I would never have left!
Knitting, looking after the sheep, running over the hills to catch sheep, seeing Orca swimming past, catching the last glimpses of the Puffins in late August and being part of a Storm Petrel survey will be treasured memories forever.
The full cost of your stay includes:
– Discussion time with us (usually via video link) to establish your hopes and wishes for your stay
– Return transportation to Fair Isle from Lerwick (on Shetland)
– All meals
– Accommodation in the shared room
– Various visits around the island, such as to the lighthouse, the museum, etc. (tailored to your interests)
– All materials and instruction with a minimum of 28 hours of workshop time/tutoring with Marie
£ 1990 / 7 nights
To confirm a booking we require 50% of the total cost, payable at the time of booking.
The remaining 50% cost of your holiday is due one month before arrival.
The holiday’s price is calculated on the basis of two knitters sharing a bedroom.
If you are travelling on your own and are not willing to share a bedroom with someone you don’t know there is
the possibility of an exclusive One to one holiday for a supplement of £995.
If you have a partner/friend or family member that want to come but aren’t a knitter it is possible for them to
join and the price for the non-knitter is £995.
Single bookings will only be confirmed once a second knitter is also interested in booking that holiday
( no deposit taken until then ).
You will find below the provisional dates for the 2022 season.
Bookings and deposits will only be taken after December 2021 but you can already inform me of your interest which will make you a priority for the chosen dates.
Getting on and off the island can sometimes be challenging—please allow a few days flexibility for your onward travel plans. In order to ensure that you enjoy the full span of your holiday with us, we refrain from taking any bookings in the following week specifically so that we can guarantee to accommodate you in the event of late arrival due to poor weather. In this vein, we ask you to make sure you will also be able to stay extra days should the weather dictate a shift in your departure.
Equally, it’s a good idea to build in a buffer of time on Shetland mainland after your proposed stay on Fair Isle so that you don’t miss your onward travel. The holiday is 7 days/nights over the period of two weeks starting on day 1 but if you don’t make it to the island it’s still 7 nights from whenever you arrive.
This cannot be refundable if you need to leave earlier because you have not planned for weather delays. It can seem a bit complicated but it’s part of the joy of visiting the UK’s most remote inhabited island!
Please note dates in red are no longer available. Dates in blue have one available space left.
Sorry, we are fully booked for 2022. Please contact us if you want to be informed when THE dates for 2023 are made available.
16/05/22 → 23/05/22 → 30/05/22
30/05/22 → 06/06/22 → 13/06/22
13/06/22 → 20/06/22 → 27/06/22
27/06/22 → 04/07/22 → 11/07/22
11/07/22 → 18/07/22 → 25/07/22
25/07/22 → 01/08/22 → 08/08/22
08/08/22 → 15/08/22 → 22/08/22
22/08/22 → 29/08/22 → 5/09/22
05/09/22 → 12/09/22 → 19/09/22
19/09/22 → 26/09/22 → 03/10/22
03/10/22 → 10/10/22 → 17/10/22
17/10/22 → 24/10/22 → 31/10/22