CLOTH 18

Next on the Woolly calendar is CLOTH18, on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th August 2018. This curated selling event for handmade textiles will take place at the Dovecot Studios on Infirmary Street, Edinburgh. The event has been organised by weaver, James Donald of Pick One and co-owner of the wonderful craft shop, Concrete Wardrobe on Broughton Street, Edinburgh.

There will be a range of Woolly bags to purchase, from tool/pencil case to large hand-embellished shopper size, plus some of my badges made from offcuts of fabric. I’m so looking forward to this event, as the Dovecot is one of my favourite places in Edinburgh!

Lava Landscape

Last week, my friend Fu and I returned from an amazing holiday to Iceland. We had a fantastic fortnight despite the cold and rather wet weather. The first week involved an Hélène Magnússon hiking and knitting tour of the Tröllaskagi mountains, north of Akureyri. Under Hélène’s knowledgeable guidance, we walked along beautiful trails, admired numerous Icelandic plants and knitted our way to a pair of lace weight mittens!

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After a stopover in Reykjavík, we headed for the Volcano Trails in the Þórsmörk valley. The scenery was stunning: dark volcanic river beds; basaltic slopes; and ancient lava flows. And the plants: pink and purple alpine flowers; white lichens; and green mosses of every hue.

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Inspired by the colours and shapes that surrounded us, I started thinking about a new design which encompassed: the volcanic sand and rocks; the mosses; the lichens; and the flowering plants.

I first designed the background of black igneous rocks encircling moss mounds, which I machine knit in Spindrift Shetland wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland. Flowers and lichens were added by hand using Swedish linen embroidery thread from Linladan, and French Knot or Seed stitches. Finally, I sewed the bag together with a contrasting pink linen/cotton lining fabric from Scottish Linen in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

A small number of these limited edition bags will be available to purchase on Saturday 28th July 2018 at the Indie Burgh Craft Crawl evening party at Akva in Edinburgh. I’ll also be available to talk about machine knitting and the design process.

Woolly Originals – The Next Step

I started Woolly Originals in June 2015. Never in my sanest dreams, let alone the wild ones, did I expect the success that has materialised. After the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, I realised that I was struggling to meet demand. I love making my Woolly bags, from machine knitting the outer fabric, to sewing the wool and linen components together, to labelling the bag with its Woolly swing-tag. I make every bag as though it was for my own use. But, in order to make my bags, I was close to making myself ill.

So, I decided in April that I needed more help. Many of you have met, either personally or through social media, Jo @angleoftheforth. She knits up some of my Woolly fabric and attends yarn festivals either with me or more recently on her own! We both love our knitting machines and I wanted us to continue to make the outer fabric. So, that left the sewing up. Could I find someone who valued the environment, who felt the importance of community, who understood that people were more important than profit? And, the answer is yes!

The Kalopsia Collective is an amazing company. Established in 2012 by British/Swedish duo, Robertson & Falk, Kalopsia began as a textiles and design organisation to challenge the way textiles were seen. Today, Kalopsia operates as a Social Enterprise in Edinburgh’s busy creative and cultural port, Leith, with the aim to batch manufacture textiles products in Britain. Waste management, micro manufacturing, ethical production, sustainability, the love of textiles, and combining innovation with tradition all play an important part in Kalopsia’s business ethos.

So, Jo and I will continue to knit up our Woolly fabric and Kalopsia will now sew this in Edinburgh into a Woolly Originals bag with a beautiful linen or cotton lining from Scottish Linen with the same Opti zips. And, with the free time that I’ll now have, I can design new patterns and make my hand-decorated larger bags.

The only remaining question is, why didn’t I do this sooner!

EShop Update

ESHOP UPDATE on Monday 16th April 2018 at 10pm (Edinburgh time). Apologies for the delay: a post-EYF cold and an injured hand have curtailed my productivity! There will be a number of bags for sale, including these two in my Scottish Wildflowers design.

Thank you, Edinburgh Yarn Festival!

Well, another Edinburgh Yarn Festival is over! And, what a festival it was! Three whole days of wonderful wool, knitters, crocheters and spinners from all over the world. It was fantastic to chat to so many people from so many nations. Thank you to everyone who popped by our stand; who bought a bag, pattern or badge; or who looked at or liked our photos on social media. And, a huge Thank You to Jo & Mica who run the Festival. They put together another amazing show! Finally, thank you to Jo (@angeloftheforth) who not only knits up the Heritage Orchard fabric for me, but also helps run my stand.

Here’s a small selection of photos of some of the lovely people we met; of my Woolly stand; and of my own purchases. I’ll be taking a short break, and then plan to update my Eshop in early April.