Stitching and More!

We stitched away on our Dunollie Rose and Pansy under Meredith’s superb tutelage!

Always demonstrating and answering all of our queries.

This was Phillipa’s class in the lovely sitting room. They could stitch here as they were doing the crewel work piece which didn’t need the light and magnification that we did.

Stitching is hard work and we had worked up quite an appetite for lunch which was served buffet style. I did not get any pictures of the table, but trust me it tasted as good as it looked!

After lunch it was time for a little adventure outside the hotel. We loaded onto the bus with Simon, our fabulous bus driver and off we went. We passed by the Carrbridge, located in the Scottish Highlands. I was rather thrilled that I got this great picture from the moving bus! It is the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands located near an ancient pine forest. Maybe that’s where an episode or two of Outlander was filmed?

We traveled onto the Highland Center Scottish Center where we viewed some fine textiles and assorted embroideries from private collections that we couldn’t take pictures of. A beautiful afternoon which we finished up with a little retail therapy!

Back to the hotel to partake in a wee bit of Scotch and to see what the chef had planned for us for dinner.

The meal was fabulous and the chef is really spoiling us!

This was from a few nights ago, but Mooch seems fascinated with the movement of the baseball game, so he needs to get up close and in person!

I do miss AlleyCat, but these 2 characters are really helping to heal my heart. I feel that I hit the jackpot with these two.

A Stitching Day in Scotland!

I was up very early the next morning and went outside exploring. Everything is so green as it is always raining! Well not really, it just seemed that way.

These gorgeous animals all added to the scenery, especially the highland cattle. We would see them everywhere, both the real ones and little stuffed ones, which will show up later!

Soon it would be time to go in and start stitching! This was our beautiful room and we were warmly greeted by Meredith.

Meredith created the Dunollie Tudor Rose and Pansy based on remnants from the original pieces that reside in the Dunollie castle. We would stitch with this English flat silk and a fabulous gold metallic which surprisingly really did behave for me.

With this good thread we learned the “ladder stitch” as the back of our fabric had very little gold showing, basically a row of lines looking like the rungs of a ladder. Thread was too precious of a commodity to waste any!

The baseball game is getting too good and the natives are getting restless, so I will say bye for now…

I came home from work the other day to find the Mooch and Miss Meow sleeping on top of the cable box. We were going to the vets and funny thing is they really did weigh 4# 8oz!

Back to Scotland!

Last I left you we are traveling through Scotland with Lady Anne’s Needlework Retreats hosted by Phillipa Turnbull and The Crewelwork Company. We had just left Blair Castle where we were lucky enough to view part of the private collection of Lady Evelyn Stewart Murray’s lace.

We are now at our next stop The Muckrack Country House Hotel located in Granton-on-Spey, where the food, the ambiance, the Scotch and the stitching would be fabulous! We were in time for cocktail hour and the young barkeep was quite charming as he walked me through a few different ones. I wanted to try those that weren’t imported to the States. This Knockando wound up being my favorite!

This was my room which were by names rather than numbers. This is a dear friends last name, albeit with a different spelling, so I had to take a picture of it!

Dinner is served! I’m not sure what was better, the presentation or the taste!

We would be here for 3 nights and the next day would be a stitching day in which we would start our embroidery piece with Meredith.

On another note, life with 2 little kittens is rather different! Everything is a toy to them and I don’t know who’s having more fun…them or me? Speaking of toys, I am sure that all of my stitching stuff will be a toy, so I don’t see myself doing much of that for awhile! So I should have more time to blog… well maybe not so much this week as we have our Fall Getaway at the shop this weekend. I need to ready the daily trinkets that I love leaving for them every morning at their seats and wrap a few door prizes.

So I will leave you with a picture of the kids. Miss Meow it is and it so fits her as she’s a talker! Missy for short.

FraidyCat, ScaredyCat is not so much anymore and too many people said ooh he won’t be like that forever! So the other day while I was looking at my email, My daily “Mutts” cartoon was sitting there and it hit me, Mooch! which is then main cat character in the strip.

On Another Note!

So…you’re thinking it was going to be Scotland? More is coming, not to worry!

Well it was very, very tough coming home to no one to greet you. No purrs, meows, wet noses and antics in the morning to wake you. No reason to hurry from work and when I was home all I wanted to do was sleep. It has been well over 30 years that I had a cat or 2 or 3 that allowed me to share their home.

I will always grieve the loss of AlleyCat, always! But I needed to heal my heart and soul and what better way than to rescue a few?

Meet the tortie, and she is a real love bug! The black one is a male and a real scaredy cat. We are still deciding on their names… Fraidy-Cat or Scaredy-cat for him and either Miss Meow or Chatty Cathy/Catty for the tortie!

And now I’m off to work, even though I would rather stay home and watch kitty antics!

Moving On!

We departed Edinburgh around 8:30-9am for the Wemyss School of Needlework, and I started stitching on my MacGregor plaid on the ride. I did watch the scenery too!

The location was beautiful in a quaint little town! We were warmly greeted by Fiona and were split into 2 groups.

This is the wall of wool and to look at the explosion of color was just lovely. Fiona talked to us about what the school was all about and how they create bespoke kits for our stitching pleasure.

I could’ve listened to her all day! But quickly enough we would switch rooms and join Ian with the linens from Angus Weavers. He was just as fascinating. And there was plenty of time for retail therapy with these beautiful linens and other items.

I would purchase this small Wemyss porcelain pot and all my threads from stitching on my Scotland projects would go in here! You can see my finished plaid, even though I wouldn’t actually finish it till I got home. It is now with the framers and will find a home on my travel wall.

Meet from left to right: Ian, Phillipa and Fiona and then Laura, Meredith and Phillipa. All too soon our time here was over.

We would depart for Blair Castle located in Blair Atholl to tour the castle and, and, and… a private viewing of the lace collection of Lady Evelyn Stewart Murray.

The lace was amazing! Breathtaking and unbelievably beautiful! She both collected the lace and many needlework materials and created some of the lace herself. She led quite a troubled life and I would love to read more about her. I’ve been told the book authored by Mary Dick-Digges is the best reading.

Lady Ann’s Needlework Tours are on tour again as they have embarked on the all England Tour part 2 right now. Of course I am wishing that I was there too! Make sure you check them out on my blog role…or if not on Facebook. Alison Cole has been posting lots of pictures and soon I’m sure will be Meredith Hahn Willett, Phillipa Turnbull and the Crewel Work Company Tour be adding to it! These 3 experts in our field sure have created some gorgeous stitcheries for this tour!

Tartan Plaid and the Scottish Highland Tour!

At our morning tea and coffee break, we were treated to a great surprise! Meredith had the MacGregor plaid counted out, so that we could needlepoint it. Our initial was painted for us and I know that I was very anxious to start. It was intended to keep us occupied on our bus rides, but then again there was so much scenery to see!

Here was mine! We had a choice of Kreinik 1/16” ribbon or Frye Werks and I picked the latter. Have you ever stitched plaid? It’s quite fun, especially once you start the other direction and you watch it develop.

Here is mine and of course this was after a week or so of stitching on the bus! Mine is finished now and I will share a picture with you later.

After lunch we were off to the National Museum of Scotland. First we were honored to view some embroidered masterpieces privately. Those that they shared with us were amazing! And you will have to take my word for it as we were not allowed to take pictures, only Phillipa and Meredith did. The clothes that you see here are part of the “Wild and Majestic” exhibit in the museum, where we could take pictures.

Notice this woman’s dress and the small amount of plaid that adorns it? Supposedly it was frowned upon for woman to wear full tartan!

The sleeves were created to be very tight and not sure that they moved their arms much!

Beautiful! And I could’ve stayed their forever listening to the curator. But all too soon it was time to leave.

On the way back we would pass by the Elephant House, which has established itself as one of the best tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh. Made famous as the place of inspiration to J.K. Rowling while writing most of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

I did a little Scotch shopping after this. I was looking for some single malts that you can’t get in the states. I didn’t buy any here as the decision making as tough. Later in the trip I would though!

The day after this, we would leave Edinburgh and enjoy some fabulous new adventures. Stay tuned!

For those of you who have been reading my blog over the years, remember that I always shared a picture of my cats…even though the last few years it’s just been AlleyCat and I. She would always sit on my lap as I stitched and this would be the last time that we would do that. Very sad to say that AlleyCat joined her brothers Felix & Sylvester as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I am all alone now with no felines and it’s tough, very tough. I will always grieve her loss, but sooner than not, we will change that as I have too much love in my ❤️ heart.

Stitching in Scotland!

I don’t think I showed you the lovely goodie bag that was waiting for us when we started class! Our project, which I was in Phillipa’s crewel class of The Dunollie feathers with the wonderful wool from Renaissance dyeing. Not 1, but 2 pairs of scissors, our name tag, a note book, pencil, a project bag, a few extras and a canvas bag from The Crewel Work Company…and

My favorite! This beautiful thistle pin that adorned a piece of tartan wool. I immediately pinned it on my jacket and wore it all over Scotland!

After class, our first excursion out was a private preview of an auction that was to be taking place the following day at Lyon & Turnbull. I really did like all of these Wemyss porcelain pigs!

I loved the cats of course! And this was really the best picture I could get. We would monitor the auctions the next morning in class, with some winning bids being placed by our stitchers and some not.

This was the grand item that had all of our attention! Fruit Garden by May Morris circa 1890. This will be auctioned off on October 23 with an estimate of £10-15,000.

Meredith and I were admiring the work that went into this. Phillipa commented that it looked like the work of 2 stitchers! And they used stem, darning, satin, herringbone, buttonhole, pistil, twisted chain, split and Bayeaux stitches… the latter which I never heard of!

Soon we would head back to the hotel for a little wine time and some dinner. Tomorrow’s another stitching day and we would get our bespoke tartan that we would needlepoint. Very excited!

Almost Stitching Time, part 2!

So all that trouble I had a few days ago? Well all of a sudden it was just fine! Go figure! And I even rebooted. As I started saying we started our day with the tartan.

Malcolm MacGregor, the clan chief gave us a most interesting look into the history of Scotland, as he sported his clan tartan.

He was joined by his beautiful wife Fiona as she was dressed in the same tartan.

Center stage is Laura Turnbull, Phillipa’s daughter and they are the ones who put these amazing tours together! Malcom and Fiona MacGregor show the amount of fabric that goes into a kilt…9 yards to be exact. That’s where the saying “the whole 9 yards” come from as that’s how much yardage is in a kilt!

Another beautiful picture of Malcolm and Fiona.

Shortly thereafter we would adjourn to our stitching rooms.

Meredith recreated The Dunollie Rose on this lovely fabric which we would embroider with filament silk and English Gold.

Phillipa would teach crewelwork Dunollie Feathers on a linen twill with a luscious blue yarn dyed for this piece by Renaissance dyers. It felt great in your hands!

During lunch I hiked (in the rain I must add!) to the ticket office of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to try and get a ticket for tonight’s performance. The line was way too long and I would be too late back to class, and I wouldn’t do that. So another time! It’s a good excuse to come back, wouldn’t you say? But I did see another piper. I really think it was the same gentleman, just in a different kilt!

Most days of our trip may take 2 days on the blog…so stay tuned!

Almost Stitching Time!

It’s too hot to be stitching, sitting under my hot lamp, so I thought that I would blog instead!

We would start our first official day on the Scottish Highlands Tour embracing this beautiful MacGregor clan tartan/plaid. This jacket and vest dates back a few hundred years and the work on it was amazing! We found out later from the chief that he stores this under his bed in a plastic bag! OMG, shudder the thought!

Malcolm, who is chief of the MacGregor clan, gave us an amazing presentation loaded with lots of Scottish history and… now we’ve hit a glitch or should I say I have.

There are many more pictures to add, but I can’t get them to load! I either need to go to the Apple store and find out what’s changed with my WordPress or I need to go back to my laptop! I can’t win tonight. Too hot to stitch and then I discovered a mistake in a piece that I just finished stitching. It was the MacGregor plaid that Meredith charted out for us to stitch our very own “bespoke” piece of plaid with our initial. The MacGregor plaid is what you see in this jacket. If you do Facebook, you can see it there. AlleyCat is not feeling herself and I am lost without her sitting next to me. She is 13 and I’m really worried about her. We will go back to the vets tomorrow as next step is an ultrasound to rule out a few other things. Luckily she didn’t feel under the weather while I was gone.

So it’ll be a few days till I can get back and finish off our first day of the Scottish Highlands Tour with The Crewel Work Company.

The Romance of Scotland!

I recently embarked on a most amazing trip to Scotland with The Crewel Work Company. You will notice theirs being first on my blogs that I follow, so watch for their updates too! They will share pictures of the beautiful embroideries, lace and more of what we saw from private collections and archives, while I will go in other directions. This trip would be the perfect mix of stitching, sightseeing, shopping, wining and dining, with breathtaking sceneries and so much more.

So why the romance of Scotland? Well why not? And have you ever watched Outlander? I rest my case!

I was here after a very uneventful flight! The Scottish people are very gracious and friendly and I was really here. I was pinching myself.

I was to take a cab to my hotel where I would catch up with Meredith a bit later. As soon as I checked in, I had to go out and explore!

The streets were packed as we were in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival and the performances of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

My first bagpiper! Very exciting!

I think everyone was watching and listening to the bagpipes, as I continued walking on the Royal Mile, passed by the Witchery, a fabulous restaurant. It was not meant for me to see for myself how good the food was on this trip, but another time!

I did catch up with Meredith, my sistah! as she took me to a few special locations. This was in the neighborhood where J. K. Rowling would start penning Harry Potter.

I loved the colorful buildings and all the people watching. Meredith and I did lots of walking and Edinburgh is very hilly! When I say very, I mean very!

All too soon we would head back to the hotel to ready for dinner. We went to a charming place that was located nearby and upstairs with great food and wine. Phillipa Turnbull, the organizer of the Lady Anne’s Needlework tours along with her daughter Laura and her very charming Scottish husband Richard made it a most enjoyable evening.

I had the feeling that night that this was going to be a very special trip and it did not disappoint! So follow me along as I recreate our trip through The Scottish Highlands & Island Tour over the next month or two. Too much to rush it!