Sunday, March 16, 2014

My life is like a tapestry

So goes the Carole King song. The album Tapestry came out in the year I was born and I heard it growing up. It's still a feature on my iPod now.

The past year has been a tapestry in both the metaphorical and literal senses and Tapestries are a huge part of my life right now.

Recently I've spent quite a bit of time stitching on a panel for the Scottish Diaspora tapestry.

Mostly I stitched on this panel about the First shawl woven in Paisley as part of a stitching group at the Paisley thread mill museum

Other stitchers in the same group stitched this panel.

In September, the whole tapestry is coming to Paisley to visit for an exhibition which I'm helping to organise.

However the Tapestry that is taking up a lot of time is already finished and currently on display in Aberdeen. After Aberdeen, the Tapestry is coming to Paisley and I'm helping to organise the exhibition as part of the Paisley thread mill museum organisation and in association with a group called Weaving Musical threads and West College Scotland. There is a lot of work ahead but it's going to be a hopefully amazing exhibition with lots of other events, including stitching workshops. The exhibition will be at the Atrium at the old Anchor thread mill.

It's an awesome exhibition space and I know it will look amazing there. If you live locally, we need volunteers to help with visitors. If you are interested, leave a comment here and I'll give you further details.

And now back to organising this hopefully fantastic event.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Colour and Who

The dark days of winter are here in Scotland and 2013 is coming to a close. Christmas this year has been a lovely family time after a long struggle to this year and brought a lot of closure. The man who killed my Uncle was convicted and sent to prison for a long time so we can now start to move on.

One thing that I've found a love for this year is colour or more specifically colour work. It's really not as scary as it seems. I've dabbled a little before but decided to dive in full force and knit Little birds by Ysolda Teague.

Litte birds

Which involved steeking or cutting knitting for the non knitters. Again not as scary as it seems.


I utterly love the cardigan and have worn it a lot.

The other big thing for me for the end of this year was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. I started watching Doctor Who when I was very small and have loved the show since I first hid from the Daleks whilst they fought Tom Baker. So when it was announced that there would be an anniversary event in London on the day of the anniversary, I booked my ticket straightaway. There was of course, some pre event knitting.

Police box mittens in OMA Tardis and Dreich

Tardis mittens

And of course the scarf - which was finished off for the event a little shorter than planned but will eventually be fully finished

Who scarf stage 1

The scarf even got to meet some Doctor Who companions - Lalla Ward aka Romana II who was my favourite.

With Lalla Ward

Louise Jamieson aka Leela

With Louise Jamieson

And Jenna Coleman aka Clara Oswin

With Jenna Coleman

I met and listened to many other Doctor Who people which was really cool.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tapestry time

Just over a week ago, the Great Scottish Tapestry exhibition opened at the Scottish Parliament. Unfortunately I couldn't make the formal stitchers' preview event due to a trip to London but I've been over to visit it a couple of times now.

I've taken a lot of pictures which you can see at my flickr album Each time I look at it, I see something else to marvel at.

Last Saturday, I took a tour of the Parliament whilst I was visiting. For those who aren't familiar with how the UK is set up, Scotland remains part of the UK but certain issues are devolved to government in Scotland to deal with. The building itself has a controversial history - it took longer than expected to build, cost more and has had issues with beams falling. The designer of the building and the first minister of Scotland both died during the project build.

It is a lovely building and full of light, which is hard thing to achieve when it's rainy day in September in Edinburgh

View across chamber

It was amazing and somewhat emotional to see the panel I stitched on hanging there

Panel 130

There are so many panels that it's hard to pick out favourites. I love this one -panel 107 the Paisley lady

Panel 107

Panel 93 - Scots in India is another favourite

Panel 93

Panel 140 Cumbernauld is a great one, especially as it depicts a scene from classic 80s Scottish movie Gregory's girl which was set there

Panel 140

In November, a book of all the panels is going to be released and the Tapestry is going to be displayed elsewhere in the UK and in the USA/Canada hopefully in 2015. The panel I stitched on grew out of oral history project to record the stories of the people who lived in Paisley between the 2 world wars. A film has been made which is now online and hopefully the link will work below.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's going on

The past month or so has gone pretty quickly.  We've had some actual summer weather which was fantastic and life is continuing on as before.

The Paisley 1930s panel is completed and we are just waiting for the exhibition at the Scottish Parliament next month.   

The final panel looked this.

I'm really looking forward to seeing it all together in one place.

The past few weeks have brought some challenges too. My ongoing hand issues have turned into something a little more serious and just over 4 weeks ago, I was found to have a prolapsed disc in my spine.  Thankfully no surgery is required but the cure is time, rest including no exercise and painkillers.  I'm a fairly recent convert to the whole gym/exercise thing but the not being able to go the gym is some thing I'm finding tough, largely because it worsens my insomnia. Things are gradually improving and I'm hoping to be back at the gym in about 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last Great Scottish tapestry progress report

Again I spent yesterday with the Paisley great Scottish tapestry panel group stitching. This was the last Saturday of stitching on the project as its almost finished. There had been a lot of progress made in the past few weeks and yesterday. This is how the project looked at the end of yesterday's stitching session.


As I've done for quite a few times, I brought the project home to stitch on last night and today. This is how it looks now.


And some close ups




The bit I'm most proud of is the Mill girl which was finished this afternoon


The rest of the group are working on it further on Wednesday afternoon and should finish it then. The next time we see it will be probably at the Scottish Parliament in September. From what I understand the original plan was that all the stitchers would be invited to the opening of the exhibition but the number of stitchers has doubled since then so we are waiting to hear what the final arrangements will be.

Whilst the panel stitching is over, the plan is for the stitching group to continue. We are going to be taking part in a project called the Scottish Diaspora tapestry and will be stitching panels for this. There is also some early discussions about developing a project about Paisley and Renfrewshire, documenting our history in stitches as there are many tales to tell.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Great Scottish tapestry progress

Most Saturdays at moment I can be found at the Paisley Thread mill museum stitching on a local panel for the Great Scottish tapestry. Its been very interesting and has really got me interested in stitching again.

The panel designs were added by the project artist Andrew Crummy, with input from the group on the side panel images. The central area has set colours but the other colours are decided by the stitchers within the overall palette of the tapestry. The individual stitchers work out what stitches to use in the figures but the borders and lettering are in particular stitches - heavy chain and quaker stitch respectively

The last time I shared a progress picture, the panel looked like this

The Panel

The past few sessions and some time at home let me finish this square about Willie Gallacher a local political figure from the 1910-1940 era. I'm really pleased about how this turned out


And the whole panel looked like this at that point a few weeks ago


Here's an action shot of several of us stitching on the panel at the same time

The past few weeks has seen quite a bit of progress. I had the project at home for the past few days and this is how it looked when I handed it over prior to the mid week stitching meet up


Most of my weekend stitching focused on stitching the Mill girl figure in woven stitch covered with lazy daisy flowers


Other stitches have been working on the skater figure


And a cinema goer


The project is being filmed on Friday by the BBC for an edition of Songs of Praise but unfortunately I won't be there due to work. A local film maker is making a film for the national lottery heritage fund also which I have been filmed for so I have already been caught on film. We are hoping to finish the project this week and I think we might just make it.