When I first asked Eilidh of Colliston Yarns if she might design a collection based on our beautiful seaside town of Stonehaven, I was not sure if she would laugh, or cry? Fortunately, she did neither and so this little journey began.
I wanted Eilidh to use her skill as an 'indie dyer', to create a collection that was totally 'Colliston Yarns', not my ideas but her feelings of the town, landscape, and their significance to her. The results are everything I could have wished for and more... I know you will love them but I think Eilidh's own words will make you love them more.
"When Janice first suggested creating this yarn collection, a long while passed before anything happened in the dyepots.
I wanted to create a set of colourways which would capture not only the scenes and landscape around Stonehaven, but would also have some reference to connections between Stonehaven and Arbroath (the area in which I live and work) and also to the human connections surrounding Janice and the Baa! community.
Most of my knitting these days is done in the car while my toddlers nap and my favourite knitting spots are always those where I can see the sea and the activities of the people and industries it supports. Some of the colourways are inspired by the things I observe when I look up from my work and some by the landscape and history of our towns and the geography of the area which connects them.
Seagull came about as the very first image I had when this project was discussed. This colourway is rain laden clouds rolling across the wide open expanse of sea visible from the promenade at Stonehaven. It is close up views of marbled feathers and beady, intelligent eyes watching for scraps from day-trippers and trawlers. The seagulls sing the lyrics to the seafront soundscape.
Lido evokes sunlight on water refracted through a blue bottomed pool. It is bathing suits and beach towels. It is ice cream colours and childhood memories of swimming pool days. Stonehaven wasn’t the only town in this story with an outdoor pool, although all that remains of Arbroath’s very own is the frontage to what is now Chalmer’s Cinema at the West Links Park.
Harbour is the sweep of golden sand yielding to the sea and cliffs at Stonehaven. Strong grey walls keep swelling seas at bay and wrap returning sailors in safety. Harbour is for the home Janice gave to Colliston Yarns and for the refuge and welcome of yarn shop days at Baa!
Sandstone is for place, friendship and connection. It’s the warmth of the walls of my red house on a sunny day and the colours of the flowers and lichens on the cliffs. Just as yarn when worked in myriad mysterious ways makes for objects of beauty and tangible value, so the cliffs connect Arbroath and Stonehaven in landscape and geography. Sandstone is for the solidarity of relationships formed when yarn is the common thread which binds us.
Dunnottar is perhaps the abiding image in my mind when I look forward to my drive up the coast road to visit Stonehaven. The perfect blend of landscape, history and romance, Dunnottar is heavy skies, high cliffs, deep seas and intrigue outside and inside the castle walls. While Dunnottar Castle holds a well established place in the history of Scotland, artistic licence is all yours to write your own story as you knit." - Eilidh Robertson of Colliston Yarns
Eilidh will be blissfully unaware of the happiness combining her love of Arbroath to The Stonehaven Collection has brought to me. My father hailed from Arbroath and regular visits there, to my grandparents home, brings many happy childhood memories. My Grandad was a fabulous man, and possibly the source of my creativity. As a talented photographer he would have been proud of my daughter who strives to make a career with her camera. He was also a gardener and as this too is Eilidh's profession, he would have loved her also. As a child I remember happy trips to the seafront in Arbroath, rock pools, sandstone cliffs, ice-cream with raspberry sauce and walking with my Grandad listening to stories of fairies and flowers and plants... Thank you so much Eilidh Robertson x
In a short series of posts to follow, we shall bring you a little inspiration as to what you can make with hand-dyed yarn, different ways to knit or crochet using hand-dyed yarn and how to care for your finished masterpiece.
See you soon,
Photo credits for all images jenjaar.com