Niela Cowl - a pattern by Julia Farwell Clay

10th March 2016


I am absolutely delighted, and very touched, that American knitwear designer Julia Farwell-Clay has named a new pattern after me: the Niela Cowl!


Julia visited us in Hoswick in September 2015, on one of Gudrun Johnston and Mary Jane Mucklestone's wonderful 'Grand Shetland Adventure' knitting holidays.


I usually teach a handpainting dye class for Gudrun and Mary Jane's groups, and as ever this crew of international adventurers were a joy to host - many had travelled a long way and were so full of enthusiasm for Shetland and all things woolly. Along with lots of laughter, a particular memory of the day was talking to Julia about spinning wheels (one of my main passions!).


So, it was lovely to follow (via instagram) what Julia was knitting with the yarn she dyed in Hoswick. Very much in the spirit of the class, Julia swapped a skein with a classmate, which gives her cowl the beautiful contrast of two gradient yarns.


And then, what a marvellous surprise to see the pattern released last month, as the 'Niela Cowl'! It's such a beautiful piece, and the nod to Shetland knitting through the ribbing and stranded colourwork is so appropriate.


I may have to knit one myself...  expert Shetland knitter Hazel Tindall has been egging me on - brave indeed since she knows that she will be the first port of call for help.



buy the pattern on Ravelry

Buy Julia's pattern for the Niela Cowl >>



workshop notes

In the class we painted sock blanks knitted from Jamieson's of Shetland yarn (if interested in the blanks just get in touch). When dry these are unravelled and wound into skeins and balls, ready for knitting.


dyeing and spinning classes with niela

I often lead classes in dyeing and spinning. If you'd like to come to Hoswick with your group please get in touch.


If you're coming to Shetland Wool Week (late September/early October every year) look out for the Hoswick series of workshops, which I run with Elizabeth Johnston of Shetland Handspun. 


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shetland knitting holidays

Julia travelled with Gudrun Johnston & Mary Jane Mucklestone, on one of their Shetland knitting holidays.

All our painted sock blanks and the beginning of the #guyfawkes day bonfire pile #shetland #tricopinesashetland #knitting

A photo posted by Julia Farwell-Clay (@farwellclay) on

Dyeing sock blanks this morning with Niela Nell in Sandwick #shetland

A photo posted by Julia Farwell-Clay (@farwellclay) on

Feeling it #knitting #fairisle #tricopinesashetland

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This is where it gets weird #fairisle

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Meal Beach, a perfectly named lunch location #shetland #tricopinesashetland

A photo posted by Julia Farwell-Clay (@farwellclay) on