Hope your week is going well and you are managing to get some stitching done? This week I would like to continue our journey from London to Edinburgh, Scotland. I am of Scottish descent so for many years I have wanted to visit the home of my ancestors and as my daughter had lived there prior to London for almost a year it was an ideal opportunity for her to come with us and show us around.
On Friday morning after the Westminster classes we boarded a train from Kings Cross Station, London (think Harry Potter) to Edinburgh, stopping off overnight in York. The train journey was an absolute delight as we had time to relax and view the beautiful English countryside from our windows. We arrived in Edinburgh at lunch time, and promptly went off on the top of a double decker tour bus to get an overall view of the city. I was absolutely charmed by Edinburgh – it is possibly one of the most beautiful city’s I have ever visited. Based around the medieval old town and the elegant Georgian new town it is a feast of stunning, historical and modern architecture, Edinburgh Castle looms over the whole city and it is the seat of the monarchy in Scotland with Holyrood Palace, being the home of the royal family in summer.
The queen was in residence when we arrived as is her custom to visit in summer so we had to wait a few days before visiting the palace. I had been advised by Phillipa Turnbull of the Crewel Work Company, who runs superb annual, Scottish stitching retreats to visit Holyrood Palace with a view to seeing some of the Mary Queen of Scotts embroideries. I was not disappointed – the tapestries and embroidered bed covers and curtains were wonderful – unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos but I did manage to find this photo online of Mary Queen Of Scotts bedchamber, courtesy of https://thefreelancehistorywriter.files.wordpress.com. It is difficult to see the actual bedspread but it was a stunning example of crewel embroidery in soft shades of cream, greens and pinks.
On a visit to the Museum Of Scotland I saw some lovely examples of needlepainting and other embroidery as shown below and was amazed at how many pieces I came across displayed casually in tea shops and other places in Edinburgh. Some of the pieces are possibly very valuable but just hanging on the wall like an everyday picture, possibly handed down by a great grandmother or friend?
Of course no visit to Scotland would be complete without mentioning tartan – it is everywhere, so gorgeous. Needless to say it is now fixed in my mind that I just have to, incorporate it somewhere or somehow into my shades of whitework designs. Can you picture it in contrast with the white?
I will be running a workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa in October this year so look out for details on the blog next week. Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!” Keep smiling and happy stitching! Trish