Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A first class day out in Edinburgh

I was very lucky in July to go to Edinburgh for the day and see The Great Tapestry of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament building. Mr D paid for my first class train tickets so I travelled in luxury there and back! It was my first experience in first class - not only did I drink my body weight in complimentary tea on the way there (and had breakfast) but had several very enjoyable glasses of red wine and a tasty dinner on the way back!  There was loads of space to get out my knitting, reading book and phone and I received no funny looks while I was knitting (any fellow knitters will know knitting in public can lead to you getting strange glances or comments).  

The tapestry itself is embroidered and consists of 160 individual panels embroidered by different groups of stitches located in Scotland. It tells the history of Scotland from the creation of the land mass to the present day and at 143 meters long it claims to be the longest embroidered tapestry in the world. The detail of the panels is minute - not only are some of the stitches tiny but also the affect that different stitches have to create the overall image.  I have included some of my own photographs of my favourite panels but they don't really do the panels or the stitches skills justice. 

What also amazed me is the collaborative working between many different people not just on the different panels to produce the whole work but also on the individual pieces themselves. How did the stitches decided who would work on which bit? Did they work on it at the same time or did it go from stitchers home to home.  I also enjoyed seeing their own style with their signature designs especially 'Needles & Gins'.

I would definitely recommend a visit - I'm not Scottish so not familiar with all the historical references made but it was worth catching the 6.15am train for! It is on in Edinburgh until the 13th September and then will return to the New Lanark World Heritage Site from the 20th October 2014.     

While in Edinburgh I thought it would be rude not to visit a yarn shop (I am a bit of a knitting nutter and have a weakness for all things woolly). I popped into Kathy's Knits (I would also have gone to Ginger Twist Studio but luckily for my purse they are closed on Tuesdays!)  Kathy's Knits is located on Broughton Street a short walk from the centre of the city. It's a little shop located on a street that's full of quirky independent shops and buildings with lots of chimneys.  The shop itself took a bit of finding as it was below street level but once inside I was made to feel more than welcome and popped my bag down on the settee.  Kathy stocks lots of the Scottish yarns including New Lanark and Jamieson & Smith and I made purchases of both.  

I also spent sometime sitting on that settee browsing at the great selection of knitting books by the likes of Tin Can Knits and Ysolda Teague. 

I had a brilliant day in Edinburgh and look forward to my visit next March to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with my best friend.  More photos of my day can be found on this page.  The icing on the cake was to see Alnmouth from the train for the first time (Fizz's favourite place in the whole wide world!)

p.s. A big thank you to my best friend for her help with my new blog header. 


  1. I love Edinburgh, and spent 10 happy years living there when I was younger. I was fortunate to see some of the Scottish Tapestry being worked at Stirling Castle. The atmosphere in the hall where it was being worked was very quiet and intense. X

    1. Hi Penny thanks for the follow. To see them working on the tapestry would have been an experience! I am looking forward to my visit back up to Edinburgh in 2015.