Monday, April 6

April Fool

Wow, what weather! Who'd have thunk it. A great way to welcome in the Spring. Heavens, I have even been spinning yellow (probably my second least favourite colour, only beaten by baby pink. No wait, peach is worse. OK, my third least favourite)

I've just prepared four batches of drum carded fibre so that I have several skeins-in-the-making in stock. And as I am selling my indigo-dyed fibres, it's a good idea if I spin up a skein so that people can see how it looks (thanks Fiona, sensible plan...) 
This lovely cactus came my way and I have blended wool and silk fibres inspired by the striking colour combination. I'll show you the finished yarn in due course.

There has been much dyeing going on but my little Etsy shop is earning its keep. Yarn sales keep magically happening so the process of building up stock is quite slow. 
And there'll be a hiatus as I disappear north for a wedding then south-west to run a bookshop

Normal dyeing service will be resumed in May, but only after the excellent Art@Ancrum  over the early May Bank holiday. Fitting in preparations for that event is quite an art in itself.
Busy? You bet
Happy? Oh yes!
Making a living in the country is hardly ever simple. It may look restful as you pass through but stop a while and you'll find we are all pretty busy people. We appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and our good fortune in living closer to the natural world. We are more than happy to share it with those of you who venture here but don't be seduced into thinking it's a worry-free, care-free life we are living.

On that note I must go and pack a frock (ok, my one frock) for the impending nuptials. Oh heck, and shoes with heels....

Thursday, March 5

Between Fairs...

The last Saturday in February dawned chilly but dry and I headed off to St Abbs for what turned out to be the busiest Wool Festival there yet. We had lots of visitors who thoroughly enjoyed their day, as did I. My newest indigo products are these dyed wool batts, all carded and ready to be spun or felted. I was really pleased with how well they were received and am now on a mission to get a further supply ready for 14th March.

St Abbs is such a good venue for a family outing, enabling those that do to wander around the woolly goodness on offer, and those that don't to go off exploring the cliff walks and harbour and Number Four Gallery

Number Four Gallery

And now my days till Edinburgh Yarn Festival are dwindling quickly... So much yarn and fibre still to dye, and some tarting up of display props to be done. 

My brand new knitting kits are all sorted and soon to be packed. I've chosen to use sturdy cotton canvas bags which I have indigo dyed, so they can be re-used for small projects. Each contains lovely smooth bamboo needles and not one but two patterns. 

Sorry, must dash... back to the dye-pot for another batch of blissful blue.

Saturday, February 7

A Package from Pushkar

Receiving parcels is almost always fun although in this household they are as likely to contain vital parts for the wellbeing of Land Rovers as textile-related treasures. However the one this week was well stitched into its cotton protective jacket which was a bit of a giveaway - Indian Treasures!
I cannot tell you how much these designs please me. 
I was privileged to meet Ajrakh block printers in Gujarat. The numerous complex processes involved in the creation of the fabrics is fascinating to learn about but the speed and dexterity with which the block printing itself is carried out is humbling.
So it was lovely to get my hands on these lengths of richly coloured fine cottons from Rajasthan. The bottom one is traditional - a square repeating block that is symmetrical in each direction - while I think the top one more contemporary but well balanced and equally pleasing to the eye.

carded wool ready for spinning - very arty, I thought...
 I realise there's been over a month's gap since my last post here. There are many reasons for my absence but I find myself posting more on Facebook now, and plan to open a Border Tart page there soon. 
When is soon? It is immediately after I get my yarns into an online shop! Photographs have been taken which is real progress, and I think initially I am going to re-open my Etsy shop and list the yarns there. Ultimately I want them on my website but I have too many irons in the fire presently and no ability to cope with tech-speak.

One of them is the cottage - You can find it at and on Facebook (just search for The Old Tearoom, and please like us!) as well as on airbnb. Soon it will be on other holiday let websites too. As I write this we have our first guests through airbnb, and they are happily ensonced in front of their fire tonight, making a pleasant change from their city flat-dwelling life.

And what's next? 
Well on Friday 13th there's a private view of the Working Perspectives exhibition at Peebles, so I will have to tidy myself up and look presentable as the great and the good (and participating artist/maker friends) look at  the results of our labours. I am looking forward to seeing everyone else's work. It runs until April 11th at Tweeddale Museum & Gallery.

And in no time I'll be off to St Abbs for the Wool Festival on the 28th. Stallholders will have new products to launch and some bargains to offer on older stock too so do enjoy a day out to the coast and come and see us all!

Monday, December 29

Dressing Up -

My workroom window has been unadorned until now. 
I gathered my dyeing samples together,
added fabric from a kantha shirt (which I bought for Hugh on India trip no. 1 but which was far too short for him),
and some from dark blue cotton/linen trousers which survived both trips and owed me nothing. 
Large patches were soon stitched up, and I backed it with a lightweight thermal curtain lining. Chuffed with result.

Also chuffed with Hugh for baking a stollen-type bread for our Christmas breakfast!

Tuesday, December 23

Peace and happiness

In the face of so much suffering, near to home and far around this unsettled world, many of us have such a lot to be grateful for.

Thank you to friends, neighbours, acquaintances, even a few family who see my posts here, for the love and laughs and good cheer through the year. 
And to all the delightful textile-inspired visitors to my various stalls who have stopped to talk and buy my products, thank you too.
May you enjoy the festivities over the next wee while and have a safe and peaceful 2015.


Sunday, November 30

Blue Moon

We're all on a helter-skelter, hurtling towards the end of the year - that's how it feels here! After last weekend's excellent Art & Design Fair at Kelso, this one has been about getting tasks scored off the endless lists. The last few jobs done on the cottage, ready for a holiday couple arriving Monday, delivering more handmade wooden lampbases and shades to the delightful Coldstream Gallery, photographing work, oh and making a stack of bacon rolls first thing this morning for participants in an off-road driving trial that Hugh is running.

Next Sunday 7th December is the final Woolgathering of the year. I hope there's a good crowd of us to enjoy a knit/spin/stitch and a cake or two...

The Sunday after that, 14th, we'll be holding a great wee food fair in Southdean Hall. There are some intriguing stallholders coming along with all manner of tasty treats  - everything from wine and wine coolers to fresh baked bread and Christmas cakes, marshmallows and olives! 10am till 2pm,

Isn't this covetable? Knitted by a talented textile friend in luscious Blue Moon 4-ply Blue Faced Leicester yarn, its a design by Jared Flood.
This rather simpler knit is a cushion I have designed which uses two contrasting skeins of my Blue Moon merino dk

And this is the start of my winter project. A sweater in Blue Moon Eclipse dk which I am sort of designing on the hoof. I do hope I get it right....