Thursday, September 29, 2011


Theresa and Sara had it right.  The trip was designed around a variety of shared interests of 8 people (4 couples) and we packed more into 11 days than I would have thought possible.  In addition to the churches, cathedrals, museums, and cemeteries, we packed in textiles, golf, scuba diving, textiles, whiskey distilleries, archeology, more textiles, and food.

Since this is a textile blog, let's stick to the textiles:
We didn't do a lot of textile stuff while in Edinburgh.  I did see some of the personal textiles that belonged to Mary Queen of Scots in Holyrood Palace and there were some very old tapestries in the palace as well, but alas no pictures allowed.  Somehow cathedrals, food, cemeteries, and museums took over the rest of our time in Edinburgh.

There was some good natured heckling among us about our varying interests.  This was particularly so as we were taking the golfers to Carnoustie to drop them off while the rest of us were headed to Stirling Castle, especially to see the recreation of the Unicorn Tapestries.  When we pulled up to the brand new clubhouse at Carnoustie I  followed the rule "never pass up a chance to use the 'necessaries'" and  dashed into the women's locker room.  HA!  Directly facing the entry was this story board of the textiles used in the clubhouse.

Rule number two is never pass up the chance to be one up on your hecklers.
If you're interested, here's the text from the story board (as always, click to biggen):
And off to Stirling Castle and the tapestries:

These are some of the completed tapestries hanging in the Queen's Chambers in Stirling Castle. (Click on the link to learn more about the tapestries and the West Dean College connection.) The tapestry workshop was open, where a recently completed tapestry was displayed and two weavers were working on sample looms to get themselves ready to start a new one.  We were fortunate to be there for the weaver's talk at 1 PM.  From that talk, we learned that:
  • the wool weft yarn was spun from British Wensleydale wool to specification for the project.  
  • Pantone colors were used to select the dyes for the fiber and the dyes used were from Pro Chemical & Dye.  
  • the warp sett for the reproductions was decreased to 8 epi which is a more open sett than the original tapestries which hang in The Cloisters in New York.  
 The pieces are vibrant with amazing detail.

As we headed into the Highlands there were the ubiquitous sheep.  When we stopped in the village of Dornoch, I found these in a small independent book store for 3.99 each.  They are not Deb Robson's book, but they are the perfect size to travel.  And the Know More Sheep edition rates the breeds according the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. many much little time.

From the Highlands we took a ferry over to Orkney where we managed to squeeze some textiles in amongst the archeological sites, the scuba divers Scapa Flow adventure, and the Highland Park Distillery Tour (highly recommended!)
I was able to score some roving from North Ronaldsay sheep:
Wonderful Stuff!!

And we were able to visit the Hoxa Tapestry Gallery on South Ronaldsay on a Sunday afternoon.  Beautiful work was on display.  Click around at the link to see Leila's work.
Back down through the Highlands and to Glasgow via Inverness.  Dh and I had been in Glasgow years ago and I wasn't able to go to Paisley, so that was high on the list for this trip.
Photo's from the loom loft at The Paisley Museum.  They are kind of cramped right now as they await being moved to a more open studio space.  The good news is that weaving classes are being taught there every Friday.  The shawl display was fascinating, but sadly no photo's allowed.  However they do have a fascinating book published:
Nope...I didn't buy a shawl.  That's a scarf I purchased in Edinburgh.

And the rest of Glasgow was cathedrals, museums, more cemeteries (I've never spent so much vacation time in cemeteries in my life...and that wasn't on the interest list when we put this trip together!).  I guess coming across the stone of the author of Wee Willie Winkie was worth it.
 Of course I got my Rennie Mackintosh fix at the house as well as the tea room (see previous post)

And that is the textile version of the story.  
Must go...the looms beckon.


  1. Jell-us!!! And I was just there :D! You saw more/different textile things, and some of the same...your Stirling tapestry pictures look just like mine :).

    So glad you will be coming to Howell, we can compare notes (and can you bring some of that North Ronaldsay? I'd love to see what the wool is like).

  2. Ohhhh.... what a joy to catch up to this!

  3. What a fantastic trip you had! Ian's mother is from Paisley - he's a first American-born Scot. I'm jealous - Bravo!!


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