One Month To Christmas

North Rock Gallery, Shetland
North Rock Gallery, Shetland

Peonie Cole Textiles
Peonie Cole Textiles

These are just a couple of pictures from sites I have liked recently.  I haven’t written anything on here for a couple of weeks and I wanted to put something up.  I wish I had something profound to say but I am feeling a bit at a loss for profound thoughts these days.  I am wondering if I should begin a new project and have some ideas I have been thinking about.  I have been inspired by a new company by the name of Enrich and Endure to consider writing about the Linen industry .  A brother and sister, Lorcan and Sarah Quinn, together bringing creativity and business sense, have said that they “are dedicated to respectfully harvesting the Irish linen heritage of our town while simultaneously pushing it in an entirely new direction ensuring a future for this world–quality craft that might otherwise have been forgotten.”  Their website is professionally done and their products are beautiful.


New Lanark Wool Shop

The rattle and noise of a 392 spindle, 120 foot long, 19th century, spinning mule making 4 passes every minute can be heard on the main mill floor at New Lanark.  Within this famous tourist attraction, there is a specialist wool and yarn production unit showcasing how wool is refined and created.  Almost every stage of the yarn production (from blending to twisting) is open for the public to view.

New Lanark produces organically certified yarns with minimal impact on the environment.  The site was originally powered by water with a dozen water wheels and now they have one 24 foot water wheel on exhibition and the water from the River Clyde is used to generate hydro-electricity.  The hydro-electricity is used to power the mill, which has won two Gold Awards from the Green Tourism Business Scheme operated by Visit Scotland.

The yarns come in three ranges:  Donegal Silk Tweed (90% wool and 10% silk);  Heather Mixtures (100% wool, reflecting the colours of the Scottish countryside); Natural Blend (100%  pure wool and made from Merino and Zwarble undyed wool). Variations of the undyed wool are mixed together to create the different colors of the pure, unprocessed yarn.

If you’d like to buy some wool, you can buy it online or in person at the shop.

(these are double knitting – bramble, swinford).

(these are aran 100% pure wool – iris, sandstone).

(chunky 100% pure wool – heather; aran 100% pure wool – aviemore)

(chunky organic wool from Falkland Islands)

(a swatch of the different wool colors)

If you’re interested in getting some patterns, there are a few to choose from including this Celtic scarf:

In the shop at New Lanark, you can also buy blankets, scarves and pick up some learning resources about the site.  If you would like more information on Robert Owen and village life at New Lanark,  I have written a previous post last year.  (all the information and photos here have been taken from the website for the New Lanark Online Shop).


Christmas Cathedrals and Mills

Elgin Cathedral


December 22nd, 6 pm 

Check out Elgin Cathedral for a Christmas Carol concert in the beautiful surroundings of this wonderful old church.  It is a free event for the whole family and begins at 6 p.m. (gates open at 5:30 p.m.).  An outdoor event, with standing room only, encourages all who come to dress warmly and to bring some hot drinks along.  And for those who didn’t bring any, there will be tea, coffee and hot chocolate to buy.

Stanley Mills


December 11th, 2 pm to 4:30 pm

At Stanley Mills near Perth, come and learn how to make decorations using the local environment, such as holly, pine cones, branches and moss.  Ranger Ian Lewis says, “I’ll be demonstrating how simple and fun it is to make a range of eye-catching Christmas decorations sourced from Nature.”  The workshop is included in the regular admission rate for the Mills.  The buildings are from the 18th century and a large sum of money has been put into the mills to conserve them and provide an educational venue for schools and the community.

New Lanark

A while back, we lived close to New Lanark in Scotland and even went to visit there.  Little did I realize the significance or importance of this community until I started studying Scottish history. 

If you are ever in the area, I’d encourage you to visit it.  It is a well-preserved cotton-spinning town from the early 19th century.  The difference between this town and some other cities where  mills and factories existed in Scotland was that people lived differently there.

David Dale and Robert Owen created a village where there were decent homes, fair wages, free health care and an education system.  In comparison to cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh where it was overcrowded and dirty, this was a much better way to live and work. 

One big difference was how they treated children.  Whereas children were often mistreated by other mills, Dale would bring orphaned children from the poorhouses to New Lanark and although they earned no wages, they would get clothing and food and a decent education. 

Robert Owen believed that education plus good working conditions would produce good citizens.  Children would go to school until they were 10 years old, which was quite uncommon for the 1820’s.  He did not believe in children working in the mills and provided a varied curriculum for them including nature studies, history, geography, drawing, math and music.  This is a picture of the village school.

I got this information from the website for New Lanark.  If you are interested, there’s lots more to read there.