Monday, November 25


This was the last Woolgathering of the year, held in considerable comfort in the village hall. The open fire threw out lots of heat and for a chunk of the day the winter sun streamed in the window. We had hot drinks and home baking to sustain us and some lively new faces were made very welcome. 

Round the table there was baby jacket knitting, embroidering of felt Christmas trees, beading on a new wee bead loom, quilting, fine cross stitching, knitting of a cowl in Noro yarn, more fine stitching on a frame, quilting of recycled fabrics on a floor frame, and finally I was embroidering a piece of Indian block print. A really productive day for all of us and despite the appearance of universal concentration in these images, there was much good humoured banter too.

Lately I have found it a bit blooming nippy in Tart HQ. Spinning in the warmth of the kitchen is much more appealing and I am working on building up some stock again...

Thursday, November 21


When I was in Ahmedabad I visited the Gandhi ashram, on the anniversary of his birthday. I am sure there is always a serene atmosphere there by the banks of the Sabarmati river but that day the place was filled with visitors quietly (and musically) paying their respects.
A replica of the charkha - spinning wheel - he used was on show and you could try your hand at spinning cotton on it. Elsewhere in the compound was a painting of Gandhi at work.
Checking the spelling of charkha, I found this article where one of his portable wheels has just sold for £110,000....
The simple hand-driven wheel design is not uncommon but when I saw a wee Chinese replica wheel online I thought I might give it an appreciative home. It's about five inches long and travelled safely half way around the world to Tart HQ.
Here's my most recent batch of indigo-dyed skeins, hanging close to the kitchen stove. They did not all come back home again from the Art and Design Fair, I am pleased to say.

Thursday, November 14

Nearly ready..

...for the excellent Crafters Art & Design Fair starting on Saturday. 
I have labelling and packaging to sort, fibre to card, collages to wrap. Might even polish the spinning wheel and treat the bearings to a little oil. It deserves some tender loving care considering the miles it has clocked up in the last few months. 
Sadly the spinner herself needs something substantially more drastic to rejuvenate her.

But there are some local food producers showing at the fair too so perhaps a sampling of their wares will help, as well as the goodies the Macmillan cafe has on offer. I'll be pedalling the extra calories off again. (cough)

I'm aiming to get to Berwick to catch the Border Textile Group exhibition tomorrow, on a recycling theme. Promises to be a glorious display of creative textile work - you can read more here.

Thursday, November 7

Hands On

I love leading Indian inspired workshops! People have such fun working with bright block print fabrics, simple templates, a little bling and lots of imagination. It's so good to be directly in touch with your materials, assembling everything by hand. Wavy lines and uneven stitches are good, they tell a story and show that a real person stitched the piece with pleasure, slowly and thoughtfully. 
These images are from the day I spent with Souter Quilters in Selkirk recently. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and look forward to seeing some of the finished bags and cushion panels in due course.

Since then I have been to St Abbs for a fine Wool Festival.  Enthusiastic knitters and spinners came along to browse our stalls and partake of some excellent refreshments. I had the company of my felty friend Laura Brittain on one side and Alice from Whistlebare on t'other. Such a good name for a farm, isn't it? You can just feel the wind howling across the Northumberland landscape where Alice and family keep angora goats and Wensleydale sheep.

During tomorrow evening and Saturday I will be one of the craft stall holders at the Roxburgh Federation SWRI Show in Kelso. (Scottish Women's Rural Institutes, just in case you don't know, are groups of women who meet together across Scotland - they are interested in country life, home skills, family welfare and citizenship and they promote the preservation and development of Scotland's traditions, rural heritage and culture. With an awful lot of laughs along the way!)

The craft stalls are not the main event. On show will be the combined labours of local members who have entered over sixty different creative classes - an impressive array of talent by any measure. Many will come to visit the show over the next couple of days so I am hoping to tempt them with haberdashery supplies rather than finished goods (and invite them to our Open Days here in December, of course)

Friday, November 1

Festival time

It's Knitting Season so I am off to St Abbs 
tomorrow for a fine festival of woolliness!
 If you really don't do yarn and fibre and buttons 
and needles and felt and weaving then we will 
still let you come in for delicious refreshments.
If you just fancy a bracing walk along the clifftops 
and a visit to the lovely No 4 Gallery that's OK
 but you could come into the Ebba Centre
 - you never know, you may fall in wool-love
 And Christmas could be a lot easier for you
this year if you snapped up some woolly
gifts for your nearest and dearest.
 Just saying...