Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Top StoriesKnitted saris will warm up Edinburgh Tattoo musicians

Knitted saris will warm up Edinburgh Tattoo musicians

A SCOTTISH fashion designer is helping Edinburgh Tattoo performers beat the cold summer – with knitted Indian style saris.


The saris use a traditional Shetland “lace” pattern.


Niela Kalra has kitted out 40 musicians in the woolly creations from her base in Hoswick, on mainland Shetland.

The theme of this year’s outdoor Tattoo is East Meets West, and both men and women from the Shetland Fiddlers group will wear the eye-catching garment.


The saris were made by combining local Shetland wool and gold acrylic yarn in a traditional island pattern.

And the 53-year old knitter, whose father was born in Lahore in India, also intends to sell them to shivering tourists.


The saris will be worn by both men and women.


Neila, who worked as a criminal defence lawyer for over 20 years before re-training as a designer, said: “The theme of this year’s event is East Meets West.

“We call it Shetland meets Bollywood.

“They are made for all weathers – the Tattoo is being performed outdoors, rain or shine, every evening for weeks.”

She added: “I was always fascinated by saris as a youngster.

“My whole family in India wore them. It was a very traditional family and they wore traditional dress.

“A kilt or a sari are the same – they are both one piece of fabric. We all have the same need for warmth.

“They are ideal for a Scottish summer.”


Model and trainee Emelia Delnicka shows off the design.


Musical director Margaret Scollay, who leads the group of musicians, said: “It’s never tropical in Shetland but this year we were quite concerned.

“We can do nothing about being dry but we would like to be warm. You’re out in all weathers.

“We’re quite glad the costumes have turned out how they are and we also have the opportunity to wear base layers.”



The Shetland Fiddlers (also known as Hjaltibonhoga) will perform at the Edinburgh Tattoo between 7-29th August.


Neila now hopes to sell the £230 saris to tourists from her shop on the island. She said: “People come here from all over the world, off cruise ships.

“It’s a very multicultural place.”


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