talk about falling down a rabbit hole—i don’t even know what happened to the last three days; i just know i’ve been trying to get this post up since the evening of the 5th and haven’t succeeded. it seems that we beamed from scotland back to new york in an instant or so. yikes. but there was so much more to it than that . . .
last friday we got up semi-early to take a field trip with cookie to another part of scotland, leaving ysolda home for a much-needed catch up day in her studio. david worked on his knitting while we all woke up with a cup of coffee
it’s growing—yay. after realizing he was completely confused about which was the knit side and which was the purl side, we got him on the right track and he’s settled in to working at a good pace—look at the progress he’s made. he’s now got a rhythm he should be able to keep up on his own.
anyway, once we were all caffeinated, we headed out to catch a train to glasgow to view a textile exhibit and then ride on to west kilbride to visit lilith.
the exhibit, housed in a storefront on a busy shopping street, was a small gem, investigating the height of scotland’s textile industry in the 20th century
design process, sample creation, marketing, and mass production were just a few of the topics explored
in its heyday, scotland’s cashmere garment industry experienced a moment of frenzy around certain designers and clothiers
such as bonnie cashin for ballantyne, just one of the designers showcased.
there were several displays about the process of producing a fabric from color swatches or other sources of inspiration
as well as those that made the connection between evolutions in the fabric industry and those in other art and design disciplines; the work of several crossover artists was explored.
world events in the 20th century greatly contributed to the shape of scotland’s textile industry and their influence was also surveyed here, mostly in terms of their effect on industry and technology.
at the back, a series of vintage industry films about scottish wool manufacture loops over and over during the day. we watched a few before moving on.
after the exhibit we headed down argyle street to hop a train
(i couldn’t help sneaking this in; it’s too cute. there was a raglan street bus stop too, in leeds, that i forgot to show you)
we headed down the western coast to the town of west kilbride where lilith (AKA old maiden aunt) has her studio in the village center.
this was an absolutely stunning journey, despite the harsh weather—here was the windblown scottish coast i daydreamed about visiting
but boy, was i glad i was inside the train with my knitting, heh
that day i took along my mink scarf project and between the four trains we took out and back, knit right through my second skein of yarn and into my third (no pictures handy, sorry)
there were some bright spots in the weather when we though it might clear a bit, but not for long
and actually, by day’s end there was some flooding that prevented the trains from running smoothly
we landed in west kilbride mid-afternoon and made our way to lilith’s studio
situated in a row of storefronts inhabited by local artisans, about a five minute walk from the train station. shops are open daily from 10 or 11 am to 4 pm
lilith was going to meet us in glasgow to view the textile show, but had to stay in the shop to receive delivery of a big box of yarn instead. there she was, stirring the dye pot when we arrived
poor lilith; i’m afraid we burst through the door with cameras snapping all over the place—after all the rain and cold, the sight inside was so warm and colorful, we couldn’t help ourselves.
we immediately dove toward the colorful piles of wool and in minutes were drooling over the skeins
lilith is a wonderful colorist has developed an extraordinary relationship with dye and wool. her colorways are mysteriously layered so that they glow from within; she is a master of transforming a pile of this
into a chorus of this
she has magic hands
we took a quick walk to visit a few other artist studios
and once the box arrived, lilith was free to join us for lunch
afterward, she asked if we’d like to dye some yarn—of course we did! so despite the late-ish hour, we got to work.
we each dyed sample skeins of a chunky shetland and a DK BFL; yarns that lilith had on hand to play with.
we mixed up the colors we though would work—cookie decided to try a red colorway for one skein and gray with undertones for the other. i did both my skeins in the same colorway.
while the dyepots cooked, we all settled in to knit. the shop began to warm up and soon it felt cozy—almost like being home in the kitchen on a saturday.
my dark green mink scarf was growing like crazy that day—i haven’t measured it since, but i bet i’m almost done with it now.
the first part goes slowly, so we tried not to check our skeins too often.
we each chose to layer our colors, which takes a little longer, so it was a couple of hours before our skeins were completely dyed
mine were a very dark mix of plum over black and brown, with a streak of blue added at the end
i wanted to try pouring that last color onto the yarn, so cookie held up the skein
the blue doesn’t jump out at you from the finished skein, but in the light there is a subtle iridescence to the colorway.
here is the yarn a couple of days later, once it had dried. the camera is not picking up the depth of the color tone (in real life, it’s almost as dark as the wet yarn in the photos above), but the hues are accurate.
lilith rinses cookie’s first skein, which is a black-over-red colorway that matches her hair. i don’t have a photo of the final skein handy, but we all admire it . . .
by the time we finished it was pretty late in the evening. we made our way to the train and back to edinburgh, along with carfuls of glasgow’s friday evening revelers.
we were scheduled to depart scotland for london the next morning but were determined to visit the farmer’s market before leaving. and so, we were up with the birds to get there when it opened.
the morning held the promise of a pretty, sunny day for a change and though the air had a bit of bite to it, you could tell it would warm up later on. the walk to the market was blustery, but pleasant.
(haha, david always walks several paces behind—now i know what he’s up to back there)
we stocked up on cheese and bread to eat on the train home
then treated ourselves to fresh chocolate, hot and cold for the real sustenance we needed on our journey
i picked several bars to sample after returning home, as i did at a few other chocolatiers throughout my trip. i now have a grand supply to help wax my memories of the trip back in ohio.
our last stop was for handmade soaps at ysolda’s favorite soap vendor, caurnie, who introduced us to unusual blends that included scottish herbs and flowers. we went away loaded with bog myrtle, heather lavender, lime and rosemary, and a few other delicious choices.
i love how she makes them in big wheels and cuts them in cheese-shaped wedges.
arms full of yummy stuff, we returned to pack the last of our things and board the train back to london.
the day turned out to be quite nice—sunny with a warming trend; we were treated to a completely new view of the coast as we sailed along rails, knitting away.
i love this photo—the farm is an island of health and vigor in a wide expanse of sandy, beach. i don’t know what crops they would grow in those fields at the edge of the sea, but i bet someone can tell us . . .
this is my best photo of the day—the black angus against the bright green grass appeals to my favored color scheme of black/green/white
back in london, it was getting dark and chilly, but i took advantage of our cab ride home to snap a few evening photos along the river as the lights came up
we did not get a chance on this trip to ride the london eye, but maybe next time—gotta save something for future trips, right?
it was warm and cozy at alice and david’s house—we were so happy to see them!
david made us all a scrumptious fish pie for supper while alice researched locations for her next retreat (no firm plans yet; she’s just always looking. that’s the fun part, haha)
we peeled potatoes, set the table while david cooked, opened wine and had a nice meal. after, we went to the pub for a nightcap and dessert.
the next day, cookie had an book signing at loop yarns in islington, so we dropped her off and went for a walk. the neighborhood is packed with antique stores, thrift shops, and boutiques, where we browsed for goodies.
as we walked the surrounding neighborhoods, we also noticed that spring had arrived in our absence
yellow and pink flowering shrubs, birds singing and daffodils pushing up here and there
back at the yarn shop, our very good friends janet and gina were hanging out with their knitting so we joined them for a chat—aren’t they adorable?? we had so much fun laughing with them. janet is sporting her class project (the mini shawl in fushchia) from our advanced lace class at knit nation last summer.
and janet brought us cake—isn’t that incredibly sweet? we had it for dessert the next night following a pasta meal—simply yummy, thank you janet. it was so wonderful to spend some time with them; i’m really glad we had the chance to get together.
i think that catches us up now through sunday—i have more to show you from early in the week, but it will have to wait til next time. we got back to the states last night and i have loads of photos and work to sort out. we’re holing up with friends in the catskills for a couple of days before our last teaching gig in albany this coming weekend at trumpet hill.
i’ve been a bad knit blogger in that i haven’t had a chance to take progress pictures of my knitting or my yarn purchases—plus, i’ve been mostly on the go during the good daylight hours. today though, i have a little break and will be taking some photos in my friend melanie’s home, so you’ll soon get to see some results. i do have a few finished items and have made lots of progress on WIPs.
ok, it’s a sunny day now and i have more to do, so i’m going to get going. can i just say though, that as much as i miss alice (and we DO alice!), it’s nice to be back on eastern standard time and have the use of my phone, haha.
ok, now i’m really signing off—bye.