I have always loved flowers. When I was training to be a herbalist, I was delighted to be told to compile a herbarium for a Botany module; although it was tricky to find flowering plants in Scotland in October and November!
When walking in Scotland, I always take my camera along in case I spot any interesting flowering plants. One of my favourite places for wildflower spotting is the isle of Ulva off the west coast of Mull. These photos were taken in the summer of 2009, and show devil’s-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) and ragged robin (Lychnis flow-cuculi).
Another wonderful place for wildflower walks is Glen Affric, an ancient pine forest to the west of Loch Ness. These are photos of eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) and bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum).
So, when I came to think about a new bag design, there could be only one thing: Scottish wildflowers! I’ve chosen ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), both distinctive plants that can be easily identified. The former is one of my favourites especially as the crushed leaves make an excellent salve for nettle stings!
If you’re in Edinburgh on Saturday 3rd December, pop along to the Out of the Blue Xmas Arts Market on Dalmeny Street, off Leith Walk in Edinburgh.
I’ll be there from 11am till 5pm selling my Woolly bags, including these Christmas-themed ones. It’s a wonderful event, and the artist studios will also be open.
I love traditional north European patterns. The star or rose motif, also known as a snowflake, is one of my favourite. I frequently use it in the fabric design of my Woolly bags.
The origins of the rose or star pattern are discussed in two wonderful books: “Icelandic Knitting – Using Rose Patterns” by Helene Magnusson, The Icelandic Knitter and “Traditional Scandinavian Knitting” by Sheila McGregor. Both books are great references and between them cover knitting traditions in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands. If you’d like to know more about this subject, I would highly recommend either of them.
The Dovecot Gallery & Tapestry Studios is one of my favourite places in Edinburgh. It is an amazing centre for art, craft and design. The Edinburgh Tapestry Company, as it was first known, was founded in 1912 and originally based in the west of Edinburgh. It has been housed in the restored Infimary Street Baths in the centre of the city since 2008, producing hand-woven tapestries and gun-tufted rugs.
The Gallery holds a number of exhibitions throughout the year. Last year, it held the wonderful exhibition on the paintings of Bernat Klein. This year has seen “The Scottish Endarkenment” exhibition and on Saturday 5th November, “Colour and Light” opens.
One of the amazing features of the building is the old balcony that originally overlooked the swimming pool. The balcony was restored and now at certain times during the week can be used to view the weavers and rug tufters below! If you’re ever in the city centre of Edinburgh, pop in and have a look round. They also have a very good cafe.
It subsequently gives me huge pleasure that the Dovecot Shop is stocking my bags. These items for crafters, knitters, crocheters and artists to use are made using wools woven at Knit Rennie in Aberdeenshire and lined in linen or cotton fabric from Scottish Linen in Fife. My design below is “Bandit Brioche” named after the hand knitter’s brioche or tuck stitch.