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Taigh-dubh

Taigh-dubh

Taigh-dubh is the Gaelic word for blackhouse, the crofter's traditional stone cottage. The name, blackhouse derived from the soot-lined walls caused by the open peat fire.  On a recent trip to Harris and North Uist in the outer Herbides, we were captivated by the beautiful walls of our cottage, a recently built blackhouse. We also came across a semi-derelict blackhouse on North Uist, after we had visited the Uist Mill. Beautiful rounded slabs of rock created the walls. These are some of the oldest rocks in the world: Precambrian banded Lewisian gneisses; metamorphic gabbros of the Scourie Dykes; and metamorphic sedimentary schists. Having...

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Plant Conservation

Plant Conservation

Plant conservation is very important at Woolly Originals. Many of my bag designs are based on Scottish plants. The Save the Willow range, first in a series on climate change and plant conservation, was designed with the help of the Herbarium staff at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and launched in late March 2019. Sales from these bags at Edinburgh Yarn Festival totalled £1355. Thank you so much for all your support. Woolly Originals has donated ten percent of this today to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to help fund their vital research into plant conservation. This will continue for all future...

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Save the Willow

Save the Willow

Introduction In May 2018, I was intrigued when I learnt that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh had been running a project for almost twenty years to save endangered native alpine plants. On further investigation, I discovered that one of these plants was the woolly willow (Salix lanata). I instantly knew that I had to create a design that highlighted not only the species itself, but also its vulnerability to climate change. The synergy between the woolly willow and Woolly Originals could not be ignored! The woolly willow is a native, low growing, alpine shrub found in the remote glens of Scotland. It has beautiful...

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Fu's Orchard

Fu's Orchard

On 2nd December 2016, at the Wool Tribe Christmas party organised by Edinburgh Yarn Festival , I launched my Heritage Orchard design. It was inspired by my friend, Fu's orchard of heritage and modern varieties of British apple, plum and pear trees that she planted over the winter of 2011/12 in East Lothian just outside Edinburgh. Fu, known as @bearford on social media, is one of my closest and best friends. We've weaved our way through life since meeting as students in 1983. She was studying art and me earth science. How strange that she should now be an organic...

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Scott Monument Design

Scott Monument Design

The Scott Monument in Edinburgh was constructed in 1844 as a tribute to Sir Walter Scott, the famed poet, writer, historian and lawyer. Reaching more than sixty-one metres above Princes Street, this distinctive landmark sits between the Balmoral Hotel, Jenners department store and the Royal Scottish Academy. When visiting the recently opened V&A Museum in Dundee, I came across a model of the Monument in the Scottish Design Gallery. I instantly knew that such an iconic piece of Edinburgh architecture needed its own design using an iconic Edinburgh yarn, namely Ginger Twist Studio's Sheepish Sock yarn in Hocus Pocus. The...

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