Mince Pies, Dark Winter Skies, and Spindle Spun Wool.

I do so like this time of year when friends get in touch or back in touch with shared memories. This was especially true the other day when Sally Hands got in touch with me by a bit of detective work as the Contact Page on my website is not working, hopefully soon to be resolved. It was really good to hear from her – I used to go through to Edinburgh regularly and teach spinning workshops at her studio. We lost touch but I am so glad to have her back in my life, especially when with my influence she began to weave and spin and now works with a drop spindle to produce wool for weaving

She reminded me of how we met. I was visiting my lovely accountant Dorothea Vaughan who by the way was married to Magnus Pyke, well known food scientist and broadcaster. As per usual Dorothea took me to lunch at the Laigh which at that time was a lovely whole food cafe in Edinburgh,. Two women were sitting opposite us having a great conversation about handspinning. They were wondering how to go about buying a fleece and learning how to spin. I leaned across the table and said “Excuse me, but I believe I can help you to find a fleece and I can arrange spinning lessons for you.”

The rest is history.

You can read more about Sally’s textile work on her website Slow and Kind:Weaving, Knitting, Hand Spinning

Spindle Spun Natural Dyed wool by Sally Hands

Spindle Spun Natural Dyed wool by Sally Hands

Winter Twilight, Innes Wheels and the Glen Estate Lunch Club

At the moment the light is incredible through my living room window, which incidentally is outlined for the tenth Christmas in a row in the deep blue Christmas lights I bought at Habitat before that magical place closed down.

The pale winter sun in a calm sky belies the weather forecast of a windy Christmas with boat disruptions which may or may not happen. My family don’t get here until after New Year so maybe, with any luck, etc., etc.

The room is now lit by candlelight as the sky reflects the last of the sun and the clouds disappear slowly. With the radio playing a mix of classical music and carols, my soul is contented.

Just as I started to write this the mail arrived with what will sadly be the last edition of the magazine “Yarnmaker”. There was my article which I wrote a few months ago about my good friend Col. James Innes, OBE who built the spinning wheels I used for teaching at Silverbirch when I first came to Arran. It was lovely to read it all again and reminisce about the rapport we had and the love of handspinning and wheels. Information about the magazine and about spinning will be available on the website http://www.yarnmaker.co.uk.

Writing about this day would indeed not be complete without mentioning the amazing lunch we had today at the Glen Estate Lunch Club. Michael the chef made the most succulent turkey with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts and carrots cooked to perfection. With millionaire shortbread cheesecake to follow, body as well as soul is contented in this winter twilight.


Innes Wheels l. to r. St. Kilda, Argyll and Foula models

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