Exhibitions & Events

Exhibitions are an essential aspect of our work to provide access to the Collection. They are held annually at the Böd focussing on a theme related to Shetland Textiles, and change every year.

This years main exhibition is called Accessories

We have a wide range of accessories from hats, gloves to underwear. We also have some of the items necessary to produce the garments, spinning wheels, wool winders, glove boards, knitting belts even niddy noddies!

In addition we have a display of work by Deirde Nelson called the dangers of sewing and knitting. This is a small part of an exhibition she produced some years ago, and kindly donated the Shetland elements to our Museum.

In the Loom Room we have a rather splendid Taatit rug and a selection of items knitted in different types of wool.

There is of course the muckle gravit [big scarf] which is going to be 20 years old later this year. We hope as many visitors as possible will add to it.

In our other exhibition we are showcasing the the work of Zena Thomson, a well known and much respected knitter. This shows the range of her talent.

In 1998 she was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II to make a shawl for the Queen to present to the Empress of Japan during the State Visit of the Emperor and the Empress to the UK.

The letters and a copy of the shawl take pride of place in this exhibition.

We are grateful to her family for the loan of this work.

Our main exhibition for 2023 celebrated the union of the home-based machine and hand knitter.

Since the fifties home based knitting machines were common in Shetland homes. Many a Shetlander remembers falling asleep to the background noise of the knitting machine. The knitters were both men and women, and even children who would knit for pocket money. The introduction of these machines back in the thirties helped to preserve and expand traditional Shetland knitting.

Machine knitting gave women the opportunity to be business women with many employing family and neighbours to help produce garments which could be sold privately and not through the local merchants.

Our other exhibition showcased the work of the late Bella Tait from Bigton, 1928 – 2000

Like many women of her generation she knitted all her life and produced all types of knitwear, but her love was for knitted lace.

Her family kindly donated all her work, together with her patterns and her makkin belt to the museum for which we are very grateful.

A Selection of lace scarves.


Lace jumper and Fair isle beret, gloves and a hap.

Bella’s patterns

Loom Room

We have a small display to celebrate the return of the Tall Ships Race to Lerwick 26 – 29th July 2023

The last working loom from Adies of Voe, together with some weaving and a taatit rug

After languishing in a corner of the workroom for 3 years due to Covid restrictions, the Muckle Gravit [big scarf] is back. Do come along and add a few rows to it.