Friday, 7 March 2014

Holiday Fabric Geekery Part 2

Whilst in the cafe at Lochcarron Mill, we also picked up some other leaflets of things we could perhaps do over the rest of the week. There is tonnes to do in the Borders area. Literally hundreds of things. But, as it turns out, not in February. They are all closed until Easter! Except for this:

 The Borders Textile Towerhouse!

 Behold! Yet more fabric geekery! I managed to persuade the boys that this would be worth visiting later in the week. On a side note, when we told Small Boy we would be spending the day in Hawick and Jedburgh, he repeated back: "Oik and Zebra?".

The Borders Textile Towerhouse was fantastic! Lots of information about the history of the Borders Textile Industry, which was a huge thing back in the day. Lots of information about the history of the tower it is partly housed in. And most importantly when you are accompanied by a 3 year old, lots of touchy feely interactive stuff.

Different types of tweed. Aren't the colours stunning?
You can use a magnifying glass to look closely at the weave of 2 different fabrics

"Carding" wool. Basically taking it from it's raw state to the state where you would spin it.
The dressing up box!
Display of vintage buttons and haberdashery
Before washing (on the left) and after washing (on the right). The change in handle was amazing!
I really wish I could have added to this!
We did try to weave, but we kind of messed it up, so moved swiftly on...
Interesting definition of the origin of the word "tweed"
Weaving timeline. From it's origins...
... to modern day

They had a "memory bank", where you could use these to listen to the personal memories of people who worked in the mills
An example of how well designed the museum is. I noticed this brass detailing at the bottom of every display. On closer inspection, it proved to be...
An inch tape! What a lovely detail!
Believe it or not, all of the above photos were taken on the first floor, which was about the industry's history. Then we moved upstairs, which was more about textile and clothing design.

You can make your own knitwear, from pre-knitted components which you velcroed together on a dress form.
Our attempt. Small Boy was in charge of pocket placement, and yes, the top one is upside down!

"Our" family tartan

Can't really remember what this was, other than obviously being knitwear

Making our own labels
The museum also had an exhibit about the history of the building, which was originally a 16th century L-shaped tower, which was extended over time and has had various incarnations between then and now.

Straddling the old and the new buildings

The offwhite building on the right is the original 16th century tower
The museum also had a lovely shop (not photographed) where I bought the badge/pin for my Sew Grateful giveaway. It is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area!

There is actually a Borders Textile Trail which details all the textile related things you can do in the Borders.
To be honest, it is very tourist oriented and features mostly cashmere and tweed shops, which in a lot of instances will sell garments made in the Far East and potentially "finished" or "designed" in Scotland. But the mills and the museums are well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

I do realise this is a hugely photo heavy post, but I thank you for indulging me and getting this far. I hope you have found it interesting. I know I did!!



  1. It all looks amazing! Another great day out :) You'll have to make up something based on/inspired by your family tartan ;)
    And that building is beautiful - it's probably an Australian thing, but I find it hard to get my head around a building that old still in use! Great post, thank you!

    1. Yeah, it's not like 16th century buildings are an every day occurrence, but we probably do kind of take it for granted that we have them. I remember when I visited New Zealand and being seriously unimpressed when they were raving about something that was e.g. 200 years old! :)

  2. It sounds like you had a lovely holiday! I love finding out more about mills and fabrics, esp how the word 'tweed' came about :)

    1. Yes, it was really interesting! I loved it!

  3. I can feel an Easter Holiday Day trip coming on! Both museums look brilliant, thanks for sharing!

    1. Definitely worth a visit, and even Small Boy enjoyed it.

  4. That looks amazing! Good skills in getting 2 fabric related trips into 1 holiday!

    1. Thanks. This is me just working up to actual fabric shopping on holiday! :)

  5. What an amazing place, I think upside down pockets are hugely under-rated.

  6. I believe you'd call them a design feature! :)


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