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The Herring Girl Collection draws inspiration from those lasses who followed the Herring fleets around the North and East coasts of Britain.  The knitting, the colours, the pattern and what they created, all inspired by a way of life that lasted generations. 

Herring Girls and Knitting

Herring Girls and Knitting are connected with each other just line the sea and the shore, or the sun and the wind.  They led an almost completely nomadic lifestyle, taking every little bit of opportunity they had to make themselves and their loved ones things to wear, or to give or to use; practical and beautiful.


It might have kept their minds off the monotonous nature of gutting the herring, it might have reminded them of home, but a Herring Girl was never far from her needles and yarn. 

Shawls, Guernseys, Hats, Scarves, Cushions, and not forgetting the babies as well.  The modern Herring Girl Collection pays tribute to what they would have been knitting, the designs and even the patterns are the same.  We have a wider range of colours to chose from today, but I'm certain these lasses would have used all the colours available to them, so I'm sure they would approve of our colours.

Herring Girl Patterns

Traditional knitwear was often made for work, it got dirty and had a hard life.  To make sure the meaning of each garment was known; who it was fro, who it was from, why it was knitted, the Herring Girls could not rely on just colour.  Patterns started to get knitted into the knitwear, sometimes unique to a knitter or wearer, sometimes unique to the village or port, with different regions of Britain having their own patterns and meanings.

When ordering your Hiring Girl Collection Knitwear, you can select which of these patters will be knitted into your products, selecting from some of the more widely used patters.  If you would like a Gansey, part of the reason it takes a wee bit fo time is that you can get just about any pattern you might want, even if it is truly unique.


With a ring on top a cross bar, the shaft of the anchor drops down to the main cross member, just like any anchor you have seen drawn in a picture.

Marriage Lines

Bringing two people together, following a path through life together, this pattern is distinctive for having two parallel lines following each other side by side.


Like any good fishing net, this is a regular pattern repeated across a large area, providing a regular texture on the knitting, as if a net was sitting on top.


If you look at a little yacht or dingy, it will have a mast going straight up and a beam coming out the side from the bottom.  The sail will form a triangle between these two lines, and the sail pattern repeats this triangular motif.

Ships Wheel

As the main way of controlling the direction of a ship, the wheel is often used as the main central pattern on a shawl.  A stylised circle of the wheel with spokes running out from the centre and the handles on the outside of the wheel.

Wheat Ear

Look at an ear of wheat (a weetabix logo) and you see the column of V-shaped seeds packed in net to each other.  This repeating pattern from nature is knitted into our collection.


Colours from Nature All Around

Because every Herring Girl product is hand knitted, each one is unique, as are our colours.  Inspired by the unique light and colour palette that is ever changing in the Hebrides, our 4 main colours, Colours of the Croft, Shades of the Shore, Oceans of Blue and Seas of Green each pull together element of this palette to give colours to suit all moods and situations, while reflecting their Western Isles origins.


With The Herring Girl Collection, you can have a little bit of the Hebrides with you always. 

Rocky Water's Edge





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