What’s this? A handknitted hoose?


With flowers in the garden . . .


. . . and a wee gate . . .


. . leading to a horse-shoe adorned front door . . .


. . . there are flowers in the windows too . . .


. . . shrubs round the side . . .


. . . a tiled roof, and a jolly chimney!


. . . the back of the hoose is just as inviting as the front


. . . and it also has a useful function . . .


To keep my teapot warm!

This hoose is a gift I was really, really touched to receive. Long-term readers of this blog may remember this post , which I wrote in 2009, following a visit to the Royal Edinburgh Repository and Self Aid Society – also known as the Treasure Trove – on Castle Street, in Edinburgh. At the Treasure Trove you can find a multitude of wonderful items, all hand-made by the society’s talented members, and all sold with the sole aim of supporting the knitters, sewers, quilters and bakers who created them. The quality of the knitted items the society’s makers produce is really superb: in the bustling Treasure Trove shop you’ll find fine Shetland lace shawls, Fairisle tams and gloves, and beautifully-made childrens jumpers and garments. Over the years, I’ve stayed in touch with the Treasure Trove, and whenever I receive an email asking me for good knitterly places to see in Scotland, its the first place to which I direct any visitor. Having an abiding interest in, and admiration for, the society, I was really pleased and honoured when Liz, the chair of its committee, invited me along to say a few words at their AGM. This meeting was today, and it was absolutely lovely to meet everyone, to hear more about the society’s important work, and to tell the committee a little about what it is I do. At the end of the meeting I was presented with their wonderful gift with which, as you can all imagine, I was really delighted. The hoose had been made especially for me by a society member. Everything about it – the knitting, the embroidery, the stitching, the finishing – is absolutely impeccable.


In 2009, when I wrote my first post about the society, my interest was, in a way, purely academic: if you read it, you’ll see me musing in a rather wordy way, on how making things lends people who’ve suffered long-term illness or disability an important means of self-support. But weirdly, less than a year later, I became one of those people myself: following my stroke, I was rather unexpectedly transformed into someone who supported herself through making. As you all know, knitting played an enormously significant role in my recovery – a role that was certainly not just financial – and, six years after writing that initial blog post about the Edinburgh society, I find I have a rather different – and certainly much stronger – appreciation for what it is they do. The society provides a really important network of support for many talented makers all over the UK who find themselves, in one way or another in difficult circumstances. If that is you — if you are in the UK and would like to become a member-maker — you’ll find information on the society’s website here. And if, like me, you’d like to support these makers and their work, I suggest you pop along to the Treasure Trove shop on Castle street as soon as possible! You can also place special commissions for members of the society to make items to order.

So I want to say a huge thankyou to the talented society member who made my lovely hoose, and another thankyou to Liz and the society committee for inviting me along today. I hope to be back to see you soon.

Thankyou xx

52 thoughts on “a treasured gift

  1. I will be in Edinburgh in a few weeks on my way to the Shetlands and I will definitely put this on my agenda. We have a similar shop in the town in which I live but the quality is sketchy so I am looking forward to browsing the Treasure Trove.



    This tea cosy and its presentation to you mark a momentous and magical coming together of knitterly forces! I love the knitted hoose as an earthy and everyday celebration of connections between your own story and that of the Treasure Trove. It is so beautifully made, and somehow reminiscent of YOUR hoose.

    I recall doing your “in the steps of Jane Gaugain” walk with Lara after visiting you in hospital. We discovered the repository that day too, and I remember us talking about all the inspiring connections between women and business represented by your historic account of Gaugain, by the practices of Royal Edinburgh Repository and Self Aid Society and by YOU.

    I wish I could have been at the AGM, I imagine it was quite the gathering… what a wonderful occasion and so much to share on both sides, I imagine, in the tea breaks…



  3. I live in Edinburgh and frequently shop at the Treasure Trove. The prices are absurdly low for such beautiful objects. Incidentally, they usually have home baking and jams too.


  4. Kate, it was a particular treat to see your lovely knitted goose and to learn more about Treasure Trove and the very talented folks involved in the Edinburgh Repository and Self-Aid Society.

    You’ve got a real treasure there … would you really use it as a cosy? I’d be reluctant, but might eventually give in to temptation.

    Best wishes, Frances


  5. This is so wonderful! Are the details (door, windows, shrubs) knitted separately and sewn onto the surface? Or are they (trying to imagine how this would be possible) knitted as part of the whole? The work is so perfect and meticulous! I love it.


  6. Lovely!
    I wish there is a way to hear the talk you gave. If ever a presentation is video/audio taped and posted online, please drop us a link! :) Thanks for the delightful eye candy of the pretty cozy. May you and your love ones have many a hot delicious cups from this heartwarming little cottage.


  7. Such a lovely hoose! I love the detail shot of the sewing, too – such perfect work!
    I’ve had the shop on my To Visit list since your 2009 post :)


  8. Not only a visual delight, but also unlikely to get tea stains on it as so many more spout-fitting tea cosies do. I am quite envious and the photos get my little brain busy on the details.
    Perhaps a skyscraper-type cosy for the coffee pot mentioned above!


  9. I’m sure that the anonymous knitter of your lovely tea hoose was in the audience & was happy to see how much you appreciated her work. I agree with several writers above that the Treasure Trove should start selling online.


  10. Absolutely beautiful and so touching that it was made especially for you. I sometimes think crafters are the best recipients of homemade gifts as they understand how much work goes into them!


  11. Such a unique gift! I’ll put The Treasure Trove on my list if I’m ever fortunate enough to get to Edinburgh. That would be a dream come true.


  12. What a beautiful gift. I made something similar from an old Bazaar Knits booklet (circa 1970’s). It took an age to make and I took it to many a craft fair to sell on my hand knits stall. I had many folk pick it up to admire but said it was too expensive at £15. I eventually sold it for £8 and quit selling at craft fairs, totally disillusioned. I suffered a serious spinal infection following surgery 15 years ago and had to give up my career as a university researcher (2 months after being awarded my PhD). If it wasn’t for my knitting and crafting, I think I would have found things very difficult. The Treasure Trove sounds a fantastic enterprise.


  13. What a beautiful gift …. something you will treasure forever I’m sure. The Treasure Trove sounds like an amazing concept and I’ll definitely visit next time I’m in Scotland. xxx


  14. What a treasure trove of detail and a beautiful gift to receive which will be a daily reminder of your visit. My mum has a similar hand knitted tea cozy in her living room, minus the teapot as she says it is too nice to use.


  15. That little tea cottage is so adorable. I’ve been meaning (for more months than I care to admit) to knit something similar using my handspun, but my FO won’t be as well-made as that – not only knit but padded and lined. Oh my. The pot of Assam nestling in that would be truly fortunate.


  16. What an amazing store and a wonderful idea for helping those who need some extra income. Wish we had something like this here in the States!


  17. What a wonderful gift for you!! So thoughtfully done with such beautiful colors. Yes, they probably would sell like hot cakes if they were ever made for the market!! Sign me up for one.


  18. I am taking a big leap and going to knit your Scatness Tunic.Would also like to knit to knit Ursula but after reading your comments thought I should do the Scatness Tunic first. The shade 202 is not available at this time. Can you suggest another yarn or shade?
    I knitted the blaithin junior last year. One of the most fun knits I have done and “even men commented on the sweater” ( a quote from my daughter).
    Thank you for any help you can give me.


  19. Hi Kate, what a beautiful gift to receive…..I love all the tiny flowers and the little horse shoe is just perfect. As a maker it’s always rewarding to know that what you’ve made whether it’s knitted, sewn, quilted, crocheted etc has gone to someone who truly appreciates all the hours (and looking at your glorious photos I am shaking my head wondering how long it must have taken) and skill involved in it’s creation. It’s great to be told “I love it” but to have someone really take on board the time spent making really can mean so much. I’m sure the lady who made this for you really appreciates your praise and the fact you really do understand the time it must have taken to make. (hope that makes sense) x


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