Friday, 21 April 2017

Knit New Lanark - bunting, (yarn) bombs and biscuits

If you've visited this blog before, you'll know that New Lanark is one of my favourite places in Scotland.  It has it all - history, gorgeous scenery, a yarn shop, cake...  So when I was asked to be their knitting blogger for World Heritage Day, there's no way I was going to refuse.  There were six sites taking part and celebrations on the day were all planned to fit in with Scotland's themed year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.  This is a great initiative that encourages people to connect to the history of our country and delve a little deeper than a quick glance at a museum exhibit (although you should definitely do that too!)  I already wrote a bit about the Scotland-wide activities that were planned for the day so let's dive right into the good stuff - Knit New Lanark!

My task for the day was to try out all the fun activities on offer and share them with the world on social media, giving everyone a taste of what we were up to at New Lanark.  I arrived bright and (somewhat) early to meet the events team and some lovely ladies that were very eager to start yarnbombing.  Much time was spent admiring the decor already in place outside the visitor centre before we headed inside to start creating, workshopping and eating biscuits.  The stash was mighty impressive...

Our first class of the day was all about spinning.  Bex was our expert instructor and she taught us all about different fibres and how to achieve a variety of thicknesses with the wool.  Then I found myself behind the wheel.  Guys, spinning is hard!  For the first few minutes.  Then suddenly my fingers worked out what they were supposed to be doing and I was gleefully turning fibre into woollen strands.  I'm not sure I'm ready to take up spinning quite yet, but it was a surprisingly therapeutic way to pass the time.

After my brain had exhausted itself with all the learning, I decided to have a quick wander up to my favourite New Lanark spot - the spinning room.  I love that it's possible to see yarn being made right there on site in glorious technicolour., which was the colour they were spinning on Tuesday.  Somehow I resisted a woolly purchase (I can only assume that the six skeins I bought a few weeks ago have briefly curbed my appetite for more) and made my way to the cafe for lunch, where I stuffed myself with delicious veggie pizza and a biscuit-y, coconut-y cake.  Then it was time for our next workshop.

Ann Ross was our teacher this time as we learned how to dye fibres naturally, using plants, berries and rusty nails.  Yup, rust!  The most beautiful colours came from the most unlikely looking sources - a dusky pink was produced from lichen, a rich yellow from eucalyptus leaves - and I was left wanting to conduct some leafy experiments for myself.  Afterwards, there was just time for a final shot of yarn bombing before I had to dash for my train home (I say dash - I strolled across the car park and the free shuttle bus appeared, so my plans to walk to the station were usurped by this guy's timing and my laziness).  Once again, I've been trying my hand at vlogging so there's a video of all my adventures below - apologies in advance for the often shaky camera work, one day I'll learn that my hands are not as steady as I think they are!  Check out the other #ScotlandinSix bloggers to see if they had more fun than us...

If you missed out on all the World Heritage Day fun this time around, never fear!  Dig It! 2017 have launched a Bucket List so you can visit the sites at your own pace and tick them off one by one.  Has anyone been to all of them yet?  My current total is 5 out of 6!  If only boats to St Kilda weren't quite so difficult to come by...  If that wasn't enough excitement, there's another stage to Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology launching soon, the tantalisingly titled 'Hidden Gems'...  Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more info and catch up with all things Scottish in the Visit Scotland online community!
post written in collaboration with Dig It! 2017

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