the fabric of memory

Do you dream of textiles? Clothes, in particular, form a routine focus of my dreams. In a dream, I might find myself wandering through the streets of an unknown city, and, arrested by a window display, be drawn inside to browse a whole collection of imaginary garments in an imaginary store. Dreams also frequently involve…

Read More

make / mend: Collingwood-Norris

There are many creative handywomen I admire here in Scotland, and today I’m really happy to introduce you to one of them: Flora Collingwood-Norris. A super-talented designer of knitwear (of whose palette I’ve long been a huge fan), over the past couple of years, Flora has proudly advocated both the value of making, and the…

Read More

wax and water

Simply because of where we live, this year has, I think, not been tough as it has proved for so many other people. I feel enormously grateful to be able to just step outside and go for a walk in wonderful rural scenery directly from our front door. And for me personally, the importance of…

Read More

a chat with Misa Hay

There is no getting away from the fact that, whatever business you are in, this year has been a very weird one. Having to change the nature and direction of what you are doing – often very rapidly – is never an easy thing, and this year there have been so many of those changes.…

Read More

Float in the wind, flicker in the breeze

Hello! It’s Michelle here. Today I’d like to share some words and images about suffrage spectacle and visual identity, a topic that recently came back to my mind through Kate’s writing in her Wheesht essay ‘Elevate’ on Ann Macbeth’s collaborative suffrage quilt. Anne Macbeth’s suffrage quilt as a suffrage banner. © Museum of London The…

Read More

cherry cheer

Good morning, and happy Friday, everyone. Thanks so much for your comments on yesterday’s post. I’d especially like to thank Vivienne Richmond, who kindly shared the booklet that accompanies the exhibition she curated about the darning and needlework collections of Whitelands College. Like many samplers, those in Vivienne’s exhibition originate in the classroom – eighteenth-…

Read More

mending inspiration

Yesterday afternoon I took a break from grading a cardigan (a task that makes my eyes spin round) and spent a happy hour (as I often do) poking about the Rijksmuseum – which is one of those wonderful institutions who have digitised and made publicly available large portions of their collection. If you have an…

Read More

a coat for falling

Good morning! Are there garments in your wardrobes from which a particular event or association is difficult to shake? I have friends, for example, who after wearing a certain dress at a funeral, have found that putting it on again becomes difficult. I’m a particularly garment-attached person, and there’s perhaps no garment to which I’m…

Read More

mittens for the absent-minded

When you were a kid, did you wear your mittens and gloves on bands or strings threaded through your coat sleeves to keep them safe? I did, and have very vivid recollections of disliking the practice as I grew older, for seeming childish. My grandma knitted all my gloves and mittens, and if keeping them…

Read More

Udal

In the spring of 2018, after a hard winter in which I’d been struggling with my depression, I spent some time in Berneray and North Uist. You can get a sense of how much I immediately loved the place, and how very much I enjoyed meeting Meg Rodger and learning more about her work –…

Read More

Duntreath

I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to Duntreath! After we successfully launched our lambswool snoods last year, I really wanted to develop a line of garments. Having researched and written a book all about the history of yoke sweaters, I knew I wanted to make yokes, and I also knew who I…

Read More

making stuff (at Lockies)

One thing you can say about knitting: it really makes you think about the many different processes that producing textiles involve. For example, prior to becoming an obsessive knitter, I had never really considered blocking a woollen garment (with water or with steam) . . . . . . nor had I understood what a…

Read More

Jenny Jones

Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of knitting ephemera. This includes a few different styles of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sticks, wisps and sheaths (used throughout Britain for supported knitting) and different kinds of representations–largely photographs or prints–of knitting all over Britain. Such representations do not afford some sort of transparent window onto…

Read More

working hands

I’ve recently been writing about teaching my left hand to work again following my stroke. Because of this, I’ve been thinking very carefully about braiding hair, and knitting socks, about how it felt, and what it meant to re-instruct my hand (whose memory of habitual movement had been completely lost) in those activities. I’ve also…

Read More

Gudrun Johnston & Mary Jane Mucklestone

One of the best things about working in the field of hand-knit design is that it really is an industry which abounds with good eggs. In my view, two of the very best eggs around are Gudrun Johnston and Mary-Jane Mucklestone: great friends, talented designers, and Shetland enthusiasts. Gudrun spent her early years in Shetland,…

Read More

GlobalYell / Shetland Tweed Company

Shetland abounds with wonderful creative spaces, but surely one of the most inspiring has to be the charity that Andy Ross has established, nurtured, and developed in Yell. From its beginnings as an organisation focused on music and music teaching, GlobalYell expanded its focus a decade ago to textiles, and to weaving in particular. Over…

Read More