Helen Robertson

If you’ve read my introduction to The Book of Haps then you’ll already have come across Helen Robertson – a Shetland artist and craftswoman whose work I deeply admire. Working with silver wire and other precious materials, Helen has developed a uniquely thoughtful aesthetic which celebrates, commemorates and reflects upon Shetland’s history and heritage –… Read More

a handmade wedding

Thankyou, all of you, for your lovely comments and congratulations! I thought you might appreciate hearing a little more about the handmade elements of our wedding. A few years ago, Tom decided to have a kilt made. His surname is Barr, and the tartan of that name is also associated with a popular Scottish soft-drinks… Read More

Great Tapestry of Scotland 60 – 92

There have been some interesting questions in the comments on my previous posts about the Great Scottish Tapestry. Elaine and Deborah asked what materials had been used in the creation of the tapestry – well, the stitchers used Peter Grieg linen and Appletons crewel wool throughout. Terry asked why it was called a tapestry at… Read More

Great Tapestry of Scotland 24-59

Some more details of the Great Tapestry of Scotland for you this morning. You’ll find the first post in the series here. Panel 25: Duns Scotus. The feet of Duns Scotus, the medieval philosopher for whom we have to thank for the concept of Haecceity Panel 26: Somerled, first Lord of the Isles A beautiful… Read More

Great Tapestry of Scotland 1-23

On Sunday I finally got to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. I was completely blown away by the vision of Alistair Moffat (who produced the tapestry’s historical content and context), Andrew Crummy (the superb artist who designed these 160 panels) and perhaps especially by the skill and beauty of the work of the thousand… Read More

A chat with Tom of Holland

I am sure that many of you may be familiar with the work of my good friend and woolly comrade Tom van Deijnen, also known as Tom of Holland. Tom is perhaps best known for his expertise in, and celebration of, darning, which he puts into practice in his classes and workshops, as well as… Read More

Made things

Since returning from Iceland, and absorbing myself in the novels of Halldór Laxness, I have found myself constantly musing on the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Icelandic people. In contemporary terms, geothermal energy might lead us to regard Iceland as relatively resource-rich, but until recently it has been in many other respects, incredibly resource-poor. Growing… Read More

illustrating knitting

While I am ironing and packing up Tea Towels this morning, I thought you might be interested to read more about how they were created. I interviewed the amazing Felicity Ford about the process she goes through when producing illustrations of my designs. 1. I know you have many artistic skillz in all kinds of… Read More

psu

Hello, all — very nice to be back, but I had a really wonderful working-break at PSU. It was so lovely to chat with colleagues whose research and writing I’ve long admired, but never met. And it was particularly nice to meet Sean and Tina, who were incredibly kind and hospitable. As well as being… Read More

at lorna’s

Mel and I popped over to Lilith‘s for some dyeing and some secret planning (oho! what fun!) Visiting West Kilbride gave me the opportunity to drop in on Lorna Reid again. If you haven’t heard about Lorna, it’s time you did. She’s the inspiring hands and brains behind independent design business, Chookiebirdie. Lorna has a… Read More

best fest

There has been much talk over the past few days about the general handsomeness, and nobility of the ovine. Here is a supreme example. Just look at that marvellous phizog! So calm, so gentle, so self-contained, so . . .sheepy! I spent a long time admiring this fine herdwick at woolfest the other day, and… Read More

printing / giveaway

When I was back in Lancashire, I did some screen printing with my sister and Mr Steve — the brain and hands behind a number of great community arts projects in Rochdale. Neither Helen or I had tried screen printing techniques before, and the usual insane excitement that accompanies any craft activity we undertake was… Read More