Donna Smith lives in Shetland and designs and writes knitting patterns. She also teaches workshops and classes in knitting and design around the world.
Donna is a past patron of Shetland Wool Week, and was asked to design and commission brooches of a Shetland jumper for this year’s event. So she contacted me to ask if I could make them from plywood.
Vector artwork is ideal for projects where products are laser cut and engraved. Donna sent a perfect file.
Her design included the square and cross elements from the Merrie Dancers Toorie pattern by this year’s Shetland Wool Week patron, Elizabeth Johnston (Shetland Handspun). She wanted the intricate pattern around the yoke raster engraved.
She also wanted a ribbed effect at the cuffs and the waistband of the jumpers. These details would be created by a series of cut through lines.
As soon as Donna had confirmed how she wanted all the details of the brooch to look, I made prototypes to ensure I could make something that Donna would love. These brooches are 68 x 45mm which is not especially small, but the details on them are very fine. Yoke detail would need to be very crisp and fine cuts can be liable to burning on the backs of products if settings are even slightly out.
Donna agreed that 3mm plywood would be fine. I created two prototypes with different weights of engraving to choose between. One brooch featured a lighter engrave and the other a darker engrave with more depth that was created using more power. You can see them in the picture above.
Selecting a product
In the end, the darker engrave was selected and Donna asked me to proceed with making the brooches. She needed enough time to attach the brooch clasps and send them out to their premium members before Shetland Wood Week begins on 22nd September! The video above shows how they’re engraved and then cut out on the machine.