Thursday, 27 November 2008


I have just come home from Edinburgh having gone there for a reception at Edinburgh Castle to mark the launch of the new Scottish Register of Tartans. The website for this new database goes live on 5th January, 2009 and the website address will be www.tartanregister.
This has been enabled through an Act of Parliament and will be an official authority on the subject of registered tartans - and also where one has to apply to in the future to have a new tartan registered.

Since I was going to a posh function in a posh place, I decided to treat myself to a new posh frock! It is ages since I have made myself anything smart to wear - too busy making things for other people! The invitation said Dress : tartan - so I thought I better make it a tartan dress. The main fabric is plain red wool and the tartan appliqué is the Morrison Dress in the modern colours - hard to see in the photograph, but it is red with checks in bottle green, black and white. The stitching is bottle green to match the tartan. The dress is fully lined and very comfortable to wear. It attracted lots of favourable comments - of course it would have looked much better on someone who is 6 inches taller and 6 inches narrower!

I was invited to the function because I am a member of the Scottish Tartans Authority - a very useful resource for me in my ecclesiastical work where I use so many different tartans. The most recent stole that I have made was using the Clergy tartan. A telephone call to the STA provided the information that the Clergy tartan is unique in being the only profession specific tartan. The motifs on this stole are based on some ancient artefacts associated with the two parishes served by the Church of Scotland minister who commissioned it. The chalice design is from the St Angus stone in the Church at Blaquidder (of Rob Roy fame) and is known as the Cup of Salvation. The crozier and bell are relics associated with St Fillan - an 8th century Irish saint who travelled widely in Scotland and is associated with the minister's other parish - Killin. The crosier and bell are on display in the National Museum of Scotland. When I was working on the design I had to work from photographs and sketches that I had been given, but since I was in Edinburgh, I took the time yesterday to visit the museum and see the pieces for myself - very impressive and interesting, well worth the visit.

Craft Fair this weekend - 29th and 30th November 2008
If you are in the area, come along to Brodie Castle for a Victorian style Christmas Fair. I will have my "Anna Macneil" stall there - and will probably be wearing my new dress! I will have bags & purses, hats & scarves, wraps, wallhangings and cushions for sale as well as our very popular Shetland Angels. So - if you live within shouting distance, why not come along and do all your Christmas shopping!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Photoshoot session

Mary and I spent a few hours yesterday with my brother Martin who is a professional photographer. He was taking photographs of Mary modeling some of our products. The pictures you see here are the amateur variety - taken by me. It was beautiful day, clear blue sky and only a light breeze. However, it was the last day of October, so it was cold!
Our location for this session was the shoreline between Invergordon and Alness in Ross-shire just 40 minutes drive north of Inverness. We will get the good photographs from Martin in due course, and they will be put on the Anna Macneil website. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures that demonstrate what my very versatile daughter can do besides sewing and embroidery - like climbing trees and clambering over rocks!