Friday, December 30

To travel hopefully...

I have designated 2012 my year of exploration. 

Small scale stuff by many people's standards, I know, but I'm hazily planning a few escapades around the country and across the North Sea this coming year.  

Not in this lovely mobile artwork, sadly. I admired it on Wednesday when we had a wee day oot (in stormy wind and rain) to Glasgow where Hugh enjoyed the rockers' dream exhibition at the Kelvingrove and we checked out the Riverside, the fancy new home of the Transport Museum

And I want to explore new ideas in my artwork too - the list of 'must try this' items on my list is impressive.
As I consider what to do first, I've started work on a version of this jacket. I've spun up four yarns which I am combining with a wool/silk mix aran weight from New Lanark. Stripes? Me? How did you guess?

As 2011 fades away, I want to say thanks for reading this far, for the comments both on and off the blog, and for visiting Woolgatherings or HQ or The Tart at fairs this year. May we all have a peaceful, safe and fulfilling year ahead. 


Thursday, December 22

Good Wishes

Illustration by Edmund Dulac from Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Snow Queen'


Sunday, December 18

Winter Preparations

As the temperature falls I'm closing up Tart HQ for the winter. There will be many many trips across the snowy garden over the next week or so as I desperately try to squash the contents of HQ into nooks and crannies in the house to keep it warm and dry till the Spring. Of course I still want to have access to stuff so that I can continue to work with it which means I should really do the storage thing is a meaningful logical manner...
Good in theory but hey, it's a week till Christmas and there are much more pressing things to concern myself with, several of them kitchen-related (no relevant photographs were available due to exhaustive product testing).

Thursday, December 8

Welcome to the Festive Fling!

Despite ferocious weather here today, Tart HQ is cleaned and polished, primped and ready for visitors from Friday till Sunday. Understated it is not, but you wouldn't really expect that, now would you?
Sadly no images to tempt you but believe me there are lots of lovely textile and paper creations as well as a stash of cheap-as-chips sale items. Then there's spicy mulled apple juice, coffee and home baking to encourage you to linger and chat. 

Hugh's cabin will be open all weekend too. He's there now, reducing the prices ridiculously on his lovely paintings. 

Drop by if you can - wellies optional!

Sunday, November 27

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

OK, I'm no Madonna, but I've been whizzing round halls for the last few weekends, with cases and boxes full of textiles and cards, prints and pincushions, and generally failing to record the facts with my camera..

The Art & Design Fair was a well-run event with lots of lovely quality handmade items for sale. Several of us were demonstrating our skills and I enjoyed talking to people about spinning, not to mention selling them my yarns...

Yesterday was a bit of a change as I baked all morning and sold my wares at our local village hall in the afternoon. It was a great wee gathering of very local craftsmen and women, and I came home with quite a few presents bought (mainly for me...)

Today I was in Lauder at a Fair in aid of The Lavender Touch, a very worthwhile local charity providing complimentary treatments for cancer patients in the Borders.

Tomorrow I am teaching Su how to spin, then there's some more making to be done before my Festive Fling here at Tart HQ on 9/10/11 December.

Do you like the Tart's new pattern to accompany a skein of handspun? Her personal designer has whizzed up a lovely easy pattern to make this cowl with a twist!

Thursday, November 17

Kelso beckons...

I'm off there Friday afternoon to set up my stall for two days of Art & Design Fair. There will be a fantastic mixture of quality work on display so it's your perfect opportunity to get shopping in comfort and warmth! I'll be spinning, others will be demonstrating too, there are refreshments all day both days, free parking - what's not to like?! 
Saturday and Sunday at Springwood Park, Kelso, from 10 am to 5pm - stop by and say hello!

Monday, November 7

Woolgatherers Unite!

I'm hoping for a fine Autumnal day for Sunday's WOOLGATHERING - a crisp morning and a clear sunny sky! But I'll put the fire on in the Village Hall too so we can be sure of a little warmth even if the weather doesn't deliver... 
Everyone's welcome to come along and join in the gentle work day from 10.30am onwards. An earlier start to give you the option of not driving round the Remembrance Day service at the village crossroads.

Friday, November 4

A Textile Treat...

...awaits you tomorrow at Coldstream! Organiser Louise from Woolfish is badging it as a Wool and Craft Festival and it takes place in the Community Centre (the old church) from 10.00am.
See you there!

Saturday, October 29

The Future's Bright

 ... and full of fibre. New bright chunky hand spun yarns, plied with silk in a rainbow of shades. I still do subtle, of course, but it was time for an injection of pure colour to offset the murky days we're running into here. I hope the visitors to the Woolfestival on Saturday like 'em.

And I bring you the awesome purple clogs - bright leather courtesy of the makers in Invermoriston, stylish soles by yours truly with an indelible marker!

Wednesday, October 26

Nose to the Grindstone

One fair down and several more to go, but I am not complaining. It's good fun meeting all sorts of people who come to fairs to peruse and chat and buy and it is lovely when someone falls in love with a skein of yarn I have spun, and you can see them scheming what to make with it.
Next stop is the Woolfestival at Coldstream on 5th November where textile treats await the lucky spinner/weaver/knitter/crocheter/person of taste...
I am desperately trying to upload stylish pics of my clogs but Blogger is sulking. I'll be back later......

Monday, October 17

Autumn Daze

It's difficult to concentrate when the rain is driving horizontally at the windows, and it's not a helpful beat to spin to. BUT, it's warm and comfortable in the kitchen this evening and I'd like to claim that the wheel and I are in perfect harmony. I certainly love it and spinning with my NEW PURPLE CLOGS on is good fun. I will photograph them as they deserve a wider audience. I had them made on holiday at the clog shop in Invermoriston. I sound even more like a baby elephant than usual, clumping about on our laminate floors but I don't care.

On Sunday I am off to Aberlady to a craft fair with some familiar goodies and some new stock too.  These are my Amulet Shawl Pins - what do you think?

Tuesday, October 11


George and Augustus

Sailing the length of the Caledonian Canal would be rather fine, especially in one of the crewed boats we saw navigating the lock at Fort Augustus. The scenery is dramatic and maybe early October is the best time if it means missing midges.

My Fort George images give little idea of the scale of the construction of the 42 acre site.

Hugh is standing in one of the 'sights' for the cannons so he's about thirty feet above the shoreline in this pic. I won't give you a history lesson - you can read more here!

And this is the braw wee cottage we stayed in.

Sunday, October 2

Northern Exposure

Batteries are recharged after a week spent in a very fine wee cottage close to Loch Ness. We had the River Moriston at the foot of the wooded garden and miles of forest tracks accessible from the door. The dogs were in seventh heaven and we didn't do so badly either...
We carried out a poll over the week of the available coffee & cake stops between Fort William and Nairn. The winner on cake quality was the cafe at Fort George. I didn't photograph the carrot cake (Hugh) or the apple/cinnamon/walnut loaf (me) but I do have some pics of the 42 acres that the garrison fortress covers. Tune in next week, folks, for more on this impressive edifice.

To show that we did do some walking in between refreshments, I bring you these in the meantime....

The Road Less Travelled?

Thursday, September 22

Soft shades ll

 Alternative shades this week: 
one of our cross Light Sussex/Scots Grey chooks, 
lovely low light catching the textures in a handspun and stitched cushion, 

bargain lightweight woollen check remnants from ScrapStore, 

and part of our mint jungle.


Sunday, September 18

Autumn shades

Some seasonal textures, from silver birch to bulrushes and blueberries, captured in a recent brief afternoon of sunshine.

Thursday, September 15

Tart's Temptations...

Well, that was some weekend!
Despite the vagaries of the early autumn weather, lots of lovely visitors made their way to Tart HQ and Hugh's arty cabin.
Now was it for the display of painting and stitchery, the stimulating conversation (read cheek in Hugh's case) or the supplies of coffee and cake? Our kindly regular visitors probably knew what to expect in terms of the latter, but the many new art trail followers were hopefully pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. 

The HQ afficionados succumbed to handfuls of handspun yarns and bags of buttons and lots of other treasures. It was a real boost to my confidence before I head into the main art and craft fair season over the next few months.

Wednesday, September 7

Two more sleeps...

....till Crossing Borders Art Trail (West) hits town!

The shelves are dusted, the rugs shaken out, the windows are a little cleaner (it's not my forte) and the Tart's choice merchandise is on display. There's a bit of primping to go yet, some pricing and much bunting to be strewn about. Baking is well under way and the coffee machine was seen en route to Hugh's cabin this evening, where it will be fired up to keep our hundreds of visitors well-fuelled . (a girl can dream)
You are very welcome to call in from 10.00am Friday onwards.
Do you like this? It was such a lovely leaf, lying on the grass under the washing line today that I thought it should be recorded for posterity and inspiration

Thursday, September 1

Artists on the loose

Crossing Borders' Fourth Annual Art Trail
launches Friday 2nd September. There are lots of great artists and craftspeople out there waiting to welcome you to workshops, studios and village halls across the East side of the Borders this weekend. (It's our turn next weekend).
Look out for sheep signs and big arrows directing you to their doors.
Hugh and I are heading out early tomorrow to see arty friends across Berwickshire, admire their glorious quality handwork and maybe sneak a few bits home with us....

And these little sheep? You'll have to come and visit next weekend to see them!

Sunday, August 21

Southdean Show Snaps

Just thought I'd share a few pics of a lovely sunny day on Saturday at Southdean Show. Children ran races, pets were judged, jam was tasted and teas and beers drunk. Many a burger was munched and I sold out of ice-cream. A proper day out!