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.
I love the Waterlily pattern by Meghan Fernandes which was published in the Spring 2014 issue of PomPom magazine. The combination of knitting in the round, Latvian braids and lacework are so appealing.
I knit my first Waterlily in 2015, starting on 11th June and finishing on 28th Aug, using beautiful Splendor 4-ply yarn in Little Cat Feet from GingerTwistStudio. Initially apprehensive about the Latvian braid, Meghan’s wonderful tutorial walked me through the construction. I generally struggle with lacework, but the simple repeat pattern soon clicked into my memory. I was happy with the result, and for its debut, wore it to the Edinburgh International Festival for my birthday treat.
A second Waterlily followed. Again I used a wonderful yarn from GTS, Luscious 4-ply in Gorblimey. Both braid and lacework flew off my needles this time, and once again I was pleased with how easy the pattern was to knit. And, this version debuted on a recent wonderful weekend away!
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 have finished my Navia jumper! The beautiful Faroese wool that can be purchased from The Island Wool Company is wonderful: soft, warm and easy to knit. I used a pattern by Malan Steinholm published in Navia Book No. 17. The sleeves needed adapting slightly to shorten them, and the length of the body also required altering. I made a few modifications to the zigzag pattern too, to ensure it “matched up” on the sleeves. I just need to wait for the weather to cool to wear, which probably won’t be long, knowing our Scottish summers!
To celebrate the start of the Year of the Sheep, I visited JC Rennie’s in Mintlaw, north Aberdeenshire. The rural site at Mintlaw is a working mill, producing hand and machine knitting yarns. Visiting the mill in person was a fantastic experience, as not only was I able to select a number of 2/11 supersoft lambswool yarns for the project for my machine knitting course, but I was taken on a very interesting tour around the mill by Laura at Rennies. It was fascinating to see how the mill takes different coloured wools, then blends them together to produce a “melange” or “heather” yarn. This method of producing yarns, which is more environmentally friendly than injecting a single dye into a spun yarn, gives an amazing depth of colour. It was a great day out and I came away, not only wiser about the milling process, but also with more than four kilos of machine knitting lambswool!