I have lived in Orkney all my life. Raised in the West Mainland, my mother taught me to hand knit when I was 5 years old, and by the time I was a teenager I was knitting cardigans and jumpers for myself. After I married I moved to the East Mainland parish of Deerness, where I have lived for over 30 years and have two grown up children.
I began working at Scapa Knitwear in Kirkwall in 1976. Although the actual knitting was carried out by outsourced knitters and I was part of the full time staff based in Kirkwall, assembling the garments in readiness for shipping to Belgium, it was here that I developed a real interest in machine knitting.
Following my time at Scapa Knitwear I knitted for a number of other local knitwear firms, and also continued to knit in my spare time as a hobby, making jumpers for friends and family. I discovered that I thoroughly enjoyed designing my own knitwear, creating my own patterns and the challenge of making these work on the machine and ultimately for the end product.
In 1986 I began selling my knitwear at the Orkney Craftmen’s Guild Exhibition, which was held every July for around three weeks. It was here that I gathered interest from local craft and gift shops, and The Quernstone in Stromness was one of the first to begin stocking my knitwear.
In August 1994 I was approached by Christine Clarke to produce cardigans and jumpers with Celtic and Orkney designs especially for her shop in Kirkwall, which I did for around seven years, while I also attended craft fairs to sell my own designs.
I continue to sell my knitwear at a number of local shops today, and a full list is available to view on the ‘stockists’ page.