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.
In February, I went on a wonderful course run by McAree Brothers knitting shop and taught by Carol Meldrum, known as Beatknit. The course was on hand knitter’s tuck stitch also known as brioche. It was amazing, and a great start to learning this technique.
I next encountered brioche knitting at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March when I attended a workshop run by Stephen West of Westknits. His shawls, his enthusiasm for brioche, and his amazing sense of colour were all so inspiring!
So, I started thinking about a new design for my machine knitted fabric. Colour choices in brioche are so important. Stephen West makes it look very easy! After a number of attempts, I came up with a design.
As its not proper brioche, I needed to find a new name for it. These are some of the rejected names: bogus brioche (sounds like a hybrid monster); bad-ass brioche (son raised eyebrows and said No); pseudo brioche (too serious); artful brioche (maybe)! I eventually settled on Bandit Brioche: it’s not real brioche; and it’s a wee bit of a chancer!
Hope you like the new design which I will be selling at the Boggs Community Market on Saturday 7th May.
I’m delighted to announce that I will be attending the Boggs Community Hall Spring Market on Saturday 7th May between 12pm and 4pm. I shall be selling my Woolly Originals craft bags and taking orders for bespoke items.
The Hall is a vital resource in Pencaitland, used by the local Boggs Holdings community. It needs refurbishing and the committee decided to hold a spring market to raise funds.
So, if you’re in the area or fancy a trip out to a beautiful part of East Lothian, come along! There will be a variety of stalls selling produce ranging from sour dough breads, organic fruit & veg to plants, homeware and artwork. There will also be a cafe serving food and drinks.
See you there!
Having bought a second-hand copy of “The Harmony Guide to Machine Knitting Stitches”, I was intrigued by one of it’s star-shaped patterns. Unfortunately, the pattern was laid out for a 50-row punchcard. So, using my knitter’s graph paper from Rowan Morrison Books, I adapted the pattern for my 60-row punchcards.
After I had knitted up some sample swatches using the new punchcard, I designed a new fabric bag, one large enough to take a medium-sized knitting or crochet project. I decided to complement this with a long tool case that could take DPNs. Once these were fine-tuned, I decided to make a collection of neon coloured bags, with a grey contrast colour. Trips to the Knit Rennie woollen mill in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire and to the fabric mill, Scottish Linen in Fife were then needed to stock up on the right colours and fabrics.
Once I had machine knitted the fabric, I cut out and sewed the medium-sized project bags and long tool or pencil cases using complimentary lining fabrics. These are now for sale in my Woolly Originals E-Shop. Next up, my Granite Star designs!
In November, I visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and their amazing exhibition of Modern Scottish Women. I loved one of the paintings in particular which was by the artist, Joan Eardley. Luckily, in the Gallery bookshop, they had a biography of her life and paintings (Pearson, 2007). Joan Eardley (1921-1963) was born in England, and trained as an artist in London and at the Glasgow School of Art. Her work encompassed both urban and rural Scotland. Her incredible paintings inspired me to think about a new design for my knitted bags. I started first with my colourwork book, then progressed to my knitting graph paper.
I started machine knitting the background fabric, incorporating more than six colours into the design using 2/11 supersoft lambswool from Knit Rennie in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire. After, the fabric had been washed, blocked and dried, I crocheted woollen chains into the face of the fabric, to represent the foliage in the summer landscape picture, whilst recycled buttons became flower heads and the pale morning sun.
The bags were sewn with a complimentary back in a simple repeat pattern, and then lined with beautiful linen fabric purchased from Scottish Linen in Fife.
Pearson, F (2007) Joan Eardley, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
Two weeks ago, I started a new machine knitting class on Fridays with the very knowledgeable and very helpful Jill Lothian of Scottish Machine Knitters. She also very kindly sourced a vintage Knitmaster 326 for me! I’m unbelievably excited to own a knitting machine at last. I have wanted one for a very long time, but was unsure about how I would learn to use it and maintain it.
Jill’s course is great and concentrates on the technical aspects of machine knitting. This is in contrast to Katy Birchall’s wonderful class I attended at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts at Abbeyhill Techbase in Edinburgh from January to March this year, which focussed on the design and project planning aspects of machine knitting.
This Bank Holiday Monday, I have knit up two squares: one with a stripe pattern allowing me to relearn how to switch between two colours; and the second using a colourwork pattern punchcard that Jill lent me. I’ve used the same two colours for the squares, namely Charcoal and Marzipan from Knit Rennie. The wool is a 2/11 supersoft lambswool and washes beautifully.