Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Buying Tweed on the Isle of Lewis

I am currently on the Isle of Lewis visiting my mother and buying more tweed for our business - Anna Macneil.
I intended coming across on Sunday evening but only got as far as Marybank when a text message came through on my mobile phone telling me that the ferry was cancelled due to adverse weather.  The crossing on Monday morning was a bit choppy, but didn't show much evidence of the storms from the day before.  It was a dreich day when I arrived and the view across the moors was decidedly grey.

I found Mother in good spirits, but tired, so she elected not to come with me that afternoon when I visited the mill at Carloway.  I spent a pleasant hour choosing some beautiful tweeds.  There were a few that I wanted but couldn't get because they had barely enough left to take with them to exhibit at Premier Vision in Paris in September.  

I hope to get hold of them later in the year. 
In due course I will get the tweeds photographed and added to our swatches page, but in the meantime, these are a couple of beautiful tweeds I bought in heather colours.  The heather is in full bloom just now and the moors look fantastic - even with the Scotch mist driving across them.
This morning we called in at the Calanais Visitor Centre to deliver an order of hats, scarves and bags.  The rain was not heavy, but it was cold, and I suspect that this lot of hats will sell every bit as quickly as previous deliveries - I will need to head back to the studio and start making more as there seems to be no slowing down in visitor numbers to the standing stones.

This afternoon things brightened up considerably and I went up to the Butt of Lewis to visit Callum Maclean and collect some interesting tweed he had woven for me.  I have yet to unroll the bale and see all the interesting combinations he has created, but they are  stripey pieces where he has used up lots of different colours of yarn to create bands of colour that change along the length of the tweed.  It will make for some very different wallhangings.  Watch this space.......!

The sun was shining so I made a brief detour up to the lighthouse and in amongst taking these photographs I found some lovely field mushrooms - which I cooked with onions and cream to make a lovely sauce to accompany our pork chops.
Tomorrow I will do one last round of tweed buying and also fit in a visit to the museum in Stornoway to see the Lewis Chessmen - normally these are in the British Museum in London, but for the last while they have been on tour in Scotland.

Then on Thursday I head down to Harris to make another delivery, this time to The Harris Tweed Shop at Tarbert before catching the ferry across to Skye and heading home.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Felt making evening classes

Evening classes start on Tuesday 13th September, 7 till 9pm in our studio at The Workshop, Inchmore.  I can take a maximum of 5 people, so booking is essential.  Email me at info@annamacneil.co.uk if you want to sign up for these classes.

This will be a six week structured course that covers all the main techniques of felt making - wet felting, nuno felting, needle felting, 3-D felting, cobweb felting and many different ways of creating pattern in felt.  At the end of the course students will have a good knowledge of how and why things work that they can apply in their own projects.  The aim is to get students making lots of samples that they can use as reference at a later date. 

If you prefer to just go straight into a project, why not come along for a one day or half day session?  These sessions are proving very popular.  Some people come on their own for one-to-one tuition.  Others come in groups of two or three for an enjoyable day out.  Phone me or send an email - it is just a question of asking for a particular date.  If I am free, I will fit you in.

The studio is equipped with tables that are electrically height adjustable - no sore backs in this sweatshop!   All materials and equipment are provided and I have a wide choice of colours and types of fibres.  There are 3 needle felting embellisher machines available and sinks at which to do the rinsing.

These are all photographs from classes that have been held over the summer.