Anne Eunson’s artistry

What’s this? A fence?

A fence and a flowerbed?

Take a closer look . . . for this is no ordinary fence. . .

. . .this is a knitted fence . . .

. . . a Shetland lace fence, no less.

This beautiful and imaginative creation is the work of Anne Eunson of Hamnavoe, Burra. Anne loves lace knitting, and how better to express that affection than by completely wrapping one’s garden up in Shetland lace? The fence is fashioned from strong black twine (the same kind that is used to make fishing nets) and Anne knitted it up on specially adapted curtain poles. It took her about three weeks to knit enough lace to surround her front garden, using a 23 stitch repeat of a familiar Shetland lace pattern.

It kills me how the pattern is revealed so strongly, as if it were stretched around the garden on gigantic blocking wires. I gasped when I saw it and really think it is just about the most beautiful fence I’ve ever seen.

I love the way that the lace and Anne’s planting speak to and interact with one another, as the heads of daisies peak through the yarnovers. It is as if the flowers are wearing a shawl, and the shawl has been decorated with flowers. A knitterly Eden! Anne told me that she was really pleased with the finished fence, and says that she now has plans for further lacy additions to her garden. Watch this space, Shetland!

Thanks so much, Anne for your kind permission to write about your work and reproduce these photographs.

163 thoughts on “Anne Eunson’s artistry

  1. OK, I now have an overwhelming desire to go out and find some fishing net twine and sharpen up a couple curtain rods. That is beautiful!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s both fascinating and amazing. Suddenly I really really want to knit a fence. Now that’s something I never imagined myself wanting to do!

  3. This is wonderful! How did you find this fantastic fence? Is the artist a friend of yours? I blog for a local yarn shop here in Salem, MA, USA and would love to feature some of these images and link back to your post. Can we work it out? Please email me if you are interested.

  4. This is definitely the most beautiful fence I’ve ever seen. Aren’t people ingenious. Such great lateral thinking. It really does show off the pattern wonderfully. It must have been hard graft knitting it with curtain poles, I find any needles over about 5mm difficult enough!

  5. Just absolutely gorgeous! Anne’s house is going to be on all the tours this summer & will probably be the most photographed place on Burra. I think the Shetland tourist office should definitely ask Anne if they can use her garden fence in their advertisements. Thanks for telling us about this, Kate.

  6. I have seen it previously on Facebook, but thank you for the story behind the fence and even móre pictures. We’ll probably will not have the time to visit and ADMIRE this amazing piece of laceknitting, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like it!

  7. That is incredible. If good fences make good neighbors what could an extraoridinary fence like this make? Thanks for sharing

  8. WOW!! This is utterly enchanting – I gasped too when I saw your photos. I’m so full of admiration for Anne’s inspired piece of work. Thanks for sharing this Kate :)

  9. Like so many others, I am stunned and thrilled by this beautiful, functional knitting! I wonder if the deer in upstate New York would appreciate my efforts if I enclose my vegetable garden in knitted lace fencing next summer. I have the winter to work on it….. Fishing net twine, you say? Does it have a plastic or waxy coating so it won’t rot in wet conditions?

  10. Absolutely fantastic! As well as being a keen knitter I make fishing creels for one of my livings – the twine is totally weatherproof and much harder wearing than it looks – would totally cope with dogs, chickens etc. Going to get out some twine and have a go!

  11. That is the loveliest fence I have ever seen! Thank you Kate for photographing it so beautifully and putting the photos on your blog for us to see too. I am inspired by Anne’s genius… I use spoiled lucerne hay as mulch on my garden and probably get through about 40 bales a year… now I have a possible, wonderful, use for all those metres of blue bale twine that I’m left with afterwards. Thank you for opening my mind to new possibilities. fiona x

  12. Wow. That’s absolutely unspeakably cool. Did she say what gave her the idea? I ask because this never would have occurred to me, not in a million years. And wow, so so so brilliant!

  13. Don’t know if you can here the cheers of ‘ABSOLUTE AWE’ from over here, but this is truely just an amazing creation. SUUUUPERB!!!!

    Thanks for sharing all the lovely pics…they have helped me convince hubby that we indeed, need to visit the Shetlands in all their splendor next yr., during our Scotland tour.

  14. Amazing! I pinned it to my Pinterest wall accrediting you, but let me know if that feels like I’ve overstepped copyright. But I just wanted to share how stunning it is!

  15. Reblogged this on My Life as a B-lister and commented:
    This is the most beautiful idea, a knitted fence. It is complete yarnbombing inspiration, and I’m carefully taking notes. (By the way, for you knitters out there, this blog is just the sweetest thing, and the patterns from Kate Davies are amazing.)

      1. Anne–I doot you wid nivver be aksin a man for PERMISSION!!! I wiss I hed gotten me bridder ta tak me doon ta see it whin I wis hem for UHA. A’ll hae ta mind ta come an see your lovely wirsit fence nixt time A’m hem. It is an amazin thing. Cheers.

  16. There is a fairy tale by a famous Latvian writer Imants Ziedonis, written in early 80-ies. It tells of an iron man out of iron, with an iron heart who is haunted by iron things – he builds many fences but none of them guards his house against the iron visitors such as old forks, razor blades, or even meteorites – and the problems they cause. And everything becomes right in his life when he meets a fairy who does him a fine fence, albeit in crochet, not knit.

    “You need less of iron, and more of softness and wool.” As soon as I saw the fence I thought of the tale.

    The link will take you to the fairy tale in Latvian, google translates it very crappy, but the story will come across anyway.

    1. Very interesting story!!! Good to use as a therapeutic tool.. Also, as a spinner/knitter/crocheter/healer, I find that there is something magical about wool. When I am working with wool I find that healing energy, in the form of symbols and archetypes, influences my choices of colour and form. So I find this story very interesting on lots of levels. Thank you for posting the link!

  17. This is ABSOLUTELY spectacular!!! I am inspired! A beautiful knitted fence? How could I incorporate this brilliant idea somewhere on our acre farm. OHMY!!! Thanks for doing it, Anne and for allowing Kate to share it with us. I need to get down to the market and see what I could use for “yarn”…

  18. hello…
    it’s absolutely wonderful and I love this creation !!! Very interesting to see what we can do to have a spectacular garden

    1. Well it keeps my neighbours kids out but wish I could say the same for their CAT!!! Will need to remember and knit some Cat Traps in the next piece!

  19. I am ready to tackle this for a dear friend who wants one for a housewarming gift, but I am clueless about the pattern. Can someone tell me either the name of this pattern or where I can find it? I figure since I once had to make 2 foot long needles out of wooden dowels to knit an afghan (for the same dear friend) I can make needles out of larger wooden dowels or rods or something. And after she gets one, I get one… Thanks, Anne, for such a lovely inspiration. Truly breath-taking.

    1. Ditto – I too would really like to know the 23 stitch repeat so I could try this too here in Canada. Does anyone know if there are instructions? I’m really surprised that I couldn’t find anything on Ravelry. Anne could be making some good income by selling her fence pattern.

  20. Okay, not sure if my original post went elsewhere or just disapeared. Looking for some help in finding the pattern for this as a very dear friend wants this for a housewarming gift. I can do the knitting but need help finding the pattern!! Thanks much!

  21. Years ago the Folklife Festival-held every summer- in Washington DC- featured knitters from Shetland. Ann Eunson was one of the knitters who came. I had the privilege of hosting dinner one night for Ann and another Shetland knitter- also an Ann.I invited all my knitting friends that I could round up at the last minute. It was a miserably hot summer night in DC, but everyone was in rare form and we all had a great time. My only regret was that I never kept in touch with either Ann. She may not remember me, but I remember her fondly. Please pass on my greetings and best wishes. Her fence and garden are beautiful.

  22. I DO remember you. I have photo’s of that night. We had a really good time. I think it was you who gave me a recipe for humous…..which is pinned on my fridge at this very moment!! That trip to Washington was one of the best three weeks of my life, a life changing experience. Mali, Appalachia and Scotland, what a mix……just fabulous!!!! Are you on facebook…maybe we could get in touch. Best wishes

    1. Hi Anne,
      Yes I do have a facebook account- just Marsha Edwards. There are probably many by that name, mine has a picture I took in Hawaii, palm trees and blue water. I do not post very often- maybe I will get better about doing it. Yes, let’s try to keep in touch. Email is probably a better way, I am not sure how to send it to you. Any ideas? Glad to know you do remember me!

      1. Can’t find you on Facebook, it might be easier for you to find me. It’s just Anne Eunson and the picture is a close up of my fence.

  23. Kate thank you so much for sharing this … i spotted the blog a few weeks ago through a facebook post and have now shared it on pinterest and it came up again today in a discussion in a facebook group I host… Thank you so much for sharing the photos on your great blog. Although I have a studio here in Cyprus we have a Shetland connection through my husband job previous job- Hamnavoe (Annes home ) and other northern isles names are a clue to his profession :-) and our mode of transport to visiting that special place…. You have both renewed my interest in knitting…large and small scale :-)

    1. If you go onto Shetland Arts & Crafts Association Facebook page, July 20th post, you will fine photo of needles.

  24. I finished a lace shawl a few months ago that used that EXACT design in it. Surreal and beautiful, like the fence around a doll’s house!

  25. I am travelling to Shetland for wool week and would love to catch a sneaky peek of Anne’s gorgeous fence. I wonder if she is going to any of the wool week events? What about running a coach trip from Lerwick Anne?

  26. How incredibly creative! I would love to have the yard to knit a fence around!!! Thanks so much for such an inspiring sight :)

  27. Thank you for sharing the artisty of the fence. I have seen a photo of some and wondered about the process. So refreshing and practial!

  28. I am inspired and in awe. What an amazing creation! I think we all have an obligation to try and make the world around us more beautiful in whatever way we can, and you have succeeded spectacularly.

      1. Just lovely, Anne. Any chance you could share photos or video of the process? (Maybe just post them as “public” on your Facebook?) Such a clever idea; I know many would like to try it, or just see how you did it! Thanks for sharing these photos! So much fun to see.

  29. Stunning fence surrounding a lovely garden……….Please pass on my congratulations on a stunning idea beautifully executed

  30. Reblogged this on tangleknot and commented:
    This is a beautiful way to incorporate knitting into your environment. I wouldn’t call it knit graffiti at all, but it is very closely related. A garden fence knit out of twine. Simply beautiful!

  31. Could animals, like rabbits for example, chew through this strong, black twine? That would be too much work if so although it is so exquisite that I would love to have one in my yard.

  32. Just curious as to how your knitted fence has held out for these few years? It sure is gorgeous. Being a knitter and having knitted a few things with lace patterns I can appreciate the time and labour that has gone into your work of art!

  33. I am at a loss for words to describe how I feel about this amazing fence. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, I truly wish I had thought of this for my garden when I was younger. The esthetic beauty of it is so special. I awoke to a friends chat suggestion that I check out your site and I am so happy I did, what a lovely way to start a spring morning in Michigan after our hard winter.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)