My Dad – wooden things for wool


Dad as a young man on top of highest hill in Shetland, Ronas Hill in the parish of Northmavine

In this post I am sharing with you a little bit about my dad as over the last few years dad has kindly made me wooden things to use with my knitwear.
These things  have been used when I have completed knitting Shetland lace scarves, woollen socks, Fair Isle gloves, or jumpers. These boards are commonly used in Shetland – now I have a sock board, glove boards, stole board – and the list goes on! I’m hoping he’ll make me a hap board soon!


Dad in his workshop

He has created things all his life including building houses,extensions, out buildings for livestock on his croft and greenhouses. He’s built wooden boats and renovated older houses. He’s even done a little bit of sculpture by creating a sheep! Dad’s always doing something and having him make me these items is very special for me. His latest project is restoring an old tractor which he purchased just before Christmas. He’s keen on horticulture and has his own tree plantation which is thriving on the croft.


Dad haymaking with two of his grandson’s helping him. The hay was cured and they were taking it in before it rained.


Spinning wheel complete.


Spinning wheels nearly completed in his workshop.


Jumper board in dad’s workshop.



Swinister – a traditional croft house which my dad renovated and uses as self-catering accomodation. Hay drying on the wooden racks. Ronas Hill and Midfield in the background.

This is the house which two lovely older ladies lived in when I was a child – they were called Alice and Annie. They both died during the early 1980’s. They were always knitting – especially haps and spencer’s. The house was on the croft, and rather than let it be abandoned dad renovated it. Nowadays it is used during the summer by family friends as self-catering. My parents made many friends through letting the house over the years. Friends come from all over the world including France, Norway, Germany, USA and UK.

A sock board, mitten boards and glove boards used to block, or dress socks, mittens and gloves on after washing.

24 thoughts on “My Dad – wooden things for wool

    • Hi Polly, it is lovely to hear news from you. We too fondly remember your visit, in fact I was meaning to write to you and Lorna via Ravelry. It is quite apt you writing ‘stay warm’ as we are having a little bit of snow. Just had 105 mph wind gust recorded in Shetland on Friday with storm Gertrude and storm Henry is due tomorrow evening. This is a new thing here in UK having gales named. All schools were closed on Friday in Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles. All the very best, Emily

  1. Your father is amazing! What a great gift he is to everyone! His spinning wheels look wonderful and I love the sweater board ( I’d love one!) as it is the kind that folds in the front like the older ones did. The mitten and glove boards are great too! Give your dad a big hug from me! He reminds me of mine whom I can never hug again. Dads are the best heroes ever!

    Have a great day to you and your family!

    Lisa Marie in Maine but from Norway. :,))

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Amazing, to see all the things your Dad makes. He is so very talented. 🙂
    Loved seeing all the photos from your part of the world, its stunning. Thank you so much for sharing with us all.
    Have a great week. 🙂

  3. Dads are so great that way! Mine made for me a wonderful potting bench so many years ago that I still use today!
    He made for my children many wood toys, rocking horses and trucks. Those items are so cherished.
    Seeing your dads’ work and workshop reminds me so much of mine!

    • You’re right they are great! Reading your message has reminded me of more things he’s made including a rocking horse, telephone table and dominoes for his grandbairns and now great grandbairns play with these.
      Thanks for your message, Emily

    • Thank you, I think living in island community you become quite resourceful and creative in lots of ways. I’ll possibly write a post about other members of my family – I think they’re turning out to be quite creative too and one of them is dedicated to sheep!

  4. Pingback: » Blog Archive » in our hands this week . . .

  5. Emily,

    I happyily remember our visit last year in May and the meeting with your dad!

    I am so happy I own a real sweater board now, and I use the glove-boards quite often.
    I remember the glove- and mitten-boards in the Tangwick Haa-museum and your father’s boards and I admire the tradition and your father enriches our “knitting life” with his work and dedication.
    I hope your father and your mother are doing well, please give them our greetings!

    Connie and Heinz (Germany)
    PS: Maybe one day we will manage to spend some time in Swinister ;=)

    • Thank you Connie and Heinz, it was a lovely day we had with you. We would be delighted if you came again! Dad’s glove boards and jumper boards are popular with knitters making items with Shetland wool. Best wishes, Emily

  6. This is such a lovely post. What a wonderful thing to have beautiful hand-made objects like these, especially from a parent. Really special.


    • Thank you Anna for taking the time to write. Today is Dad’s birthday so for a change I made him something – a birthday cake 😊 He was appreciative of it too, he’s now 79 years old. Tomorrow I go to Lerwick and I need to remember to go along timber merchant to find Dad some more wood. He’s about to make me, and a few others some mitten boards.
      Cheers, Emily

  7. I love this posting, and just found it recently. I met you and your dad at his croft just before Wool Week last year in 2015 along with a group of three friends, all of us from the US. We marveled at your wonderful knits, admired the spinning wheels, the chickens, the model boats, the real boat, family photos, and glove blockers. Then to top it off you took us to that most wonderful local textile museum at Tangwick Haa. That was my absolute very best day in Shetland. I will always see that day first in my mind when I recall this magical trip. Thank you so much for your kind hostessing and generous sharing of your Shetland home and family with us. And your dad is completely charming. I have some nice photos to share with you from that day if you would like them. Let me know how to send them on to you and I will do it. And if you should ever wish to visit the US out West in Utah, you have a place here to stay!

    • Dear Patty,
      It is so kind of you to write such a lovely message! We have often thought of you all too. I have a nice group picture of you all, I would like to send you as well.
      My parents are well. In fact my father is preparing some glove boards and mitten boards just now. Their peats are home but he has to begin cutting some hay.
      Next week I meet a young family from France who are visiting Shetland for first time. I truly hope they’ll enjoy their visit as much as you did 😊 Again it was through a love of knitting that we made contact!
      If you, or any of your friends fancy a trip across to Shetland again, remember to look us up!

      Very best wishes,


  8. Oh, if only another trip to Shetland! I am sure the French family will love their adventure. I will gather up the photos and send them to your email. Have a wonderful long summer!

  9. Only just found your blog, does your Dad make the jumper boards for J&S? If so, I have one, and I love it. He is a very talented man, you are so lucky to have him and appreciate his abilities. I have been dropping broad hints to my husband for a hap stretcher. I’m awaiting Father Christmas…
    I’m just back from a visit to Shetland (we’ve stayed twice at Garderwick, in a super cottage right by the Voe) and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Hope to come back up the year after next. Well, that’s the plan, but I’m not sure I can wait that long.
    Best wishes from Leiccestershire


    • Hi Linda, My father didn’t make the one you purchased from Jamieson & Smith (The Wool Broker) – though I am sure your one will be as good! I know these are made locally also, but not sure by who.
      I am so glad you like to visit Shetland! It does seem to be a place which some people fall in love with – despite the weather being a bit unpredictable. At the moment we cannot complain as had summer all over again in September and now October – it is so nice! The children are off school this week, so they’ll be outside playing I think 😉
      Thank you for your message – look us up when you visit our shores again.
      Best wishes, Emily

  10. Hi Emily, These pictures of your dad, his work, and his landscape are wonderful! Does he sell jumper boards? I would love to order one from the country of my ancestors. Yours in knitting.

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