Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Shetland Islands (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk yarn; hand-knitted

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs J. Drummond

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This hooded cloak would have been worn as a highly fashionable luxury item, requiring months of labour to make. It is an unusual example of the Shetland knitting tradition in that it uses silk yarn and not the fine wool yarn spun from Shetland sheep, and it has a hood.

Shetland lace shawls were knit on very fine steel needles, or 'pins' as they were called. The open patterns, imitating fine lace, were invented by Shetland knitters and named after local features, such as 'Ears o' Grain', 'Fir Cone' and 'Print o' the Wave'.

Although these shawls were bought by wealthy women, the knitters earned little in return for the amount of work that went into creating the thousands of stitches that made up one garment.

Physical description

A woman's large, semi-circular cloak with a small hood attached to the centre of the straight side. It is hand-knitted of fine white silk yarn in a lace pattern. The centre triangle is composed of bands of small interlocking diamonds, each with diferent pattern fillings, similar to those associated with the Isle of Unst. The larger border is knitted in two halves, joined by open grafting. The outer edge is finished with a separate narrow border, knitted in the perpendicular direction and attached during the knitting.

The hood has two draw strings, each finishing in a large silk tassel.

Place of Origin

Shetland Islands (made)


19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk yarn; hand-knitted


Height: 126.5 cm neck to hem, Width: 243 cm top edge, Width: 150 in at hem, Length: 141 cm neck to hem flat on table, Width: 170 cm top edge flat on table, Length: 154.2 cm Neck to hem, according to Accession Register, Width: 381 cm Width at hem, according to Accession Register

Object history note

Typical of Shetlands knitting.

Descriptive line

A woman's hooded cloak, 1850-1875, Shetland Islands, Scotland; hand-knitted silk in a lace pattern




Hand knitting


Fashion; Accessories; Women's clothes; Textiles; Scotland; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.