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An international reputation: Scottish textiles

With more and more evidence surfacing of the adaptability, quality and craftsmanship of Scottish textiles manufacturers catching on worldwide in fashion luxury goods and film, it is no surprise the industry has also taken on sport technology.

Performance in a fabric is crucial to hikers, walkers and cyclists. In Scotland, weather can change so frequently that when it comes to treks off the beaten track (a speciality of Scot Mountain Holidays), to quote Duracel, “it just has to work”.

But we believe gear should more than work. It should be comfortable and enhance your experience. We also believe in supporting local and regional manufacturers for economic and environmental purposes.

Scottish textiles

Using the edge trimmings from the looms to make rugs. All made from 100% wool as is tweed. Wool is coming back in to fashion in outdoor clothing.

For these reasons, we have tracked down 5 Scottish innovators in the textile sport industry who are completely changing the performance game.

Scotland’s own

1. Findra

Cycling in the Cairngorms

On and off road cycling in the Cairngorms. We know all about valuing good cycling gear!

Dubbed by SCI market research as one of the top sport textile innovations in the last five years, Findra creates mountain biking clothing especially for women. They are recognized for their seamless knitting technology and unique textiles.

2. Nikwax technology

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Andy in a Nikwax Analogy smock jacket by Páramo

While Nikwax was developed in Northern England, innovater Nick Brown accredits his many walking holidays in Scotland as the inspiration for the product – so we feel it fits nicely on our list. This elastic and water-repellent treatment makes performance clothing elastic and breathable, protecting you from inevitable Scotland rain.

3. Harris Tweed Hebrides

From the Commonwealth Games to other professional sporting events, Harris Tweed is a becoming a feature of athletes all over the globe as they are revered for combining style with performance.

4. Diary Doll 

Another product innovation for women. Lightweight with a waterproof panel, these machine washable pants give women the freedom to carry on their explorations stress free.

5. Bonar Yarns

‘Greatness is in the detail’. This Scottish manufacturer has forever changed the notion of turf, enhancing sporting events all over the world.

Fit for a Highlander

Here in the Cairngorms we are part of the Highland way of life and keen nature enthusiasts, meaning we must be ready to adapt to Scotland weather in pursuing our adventures.

With manufacturers like these, nothing can hold us back!

A place for all things wool

Woollen crafts in Scotland are alive and thriving, hence the birth of a new wool festival this year: The Inverness Loch Ness Knitting Festival. The festival will be an annual international celebration of fibres, dyes, yarns, crafts and craft supplies set in the Highlands. The festival hosts some of the world’s most celebrated knitters building on Highland textile history and heritage. 

spinning

Spinning wheel courtesy of Three Bags Wool

With workshops, displays, and presentations over the course of the four day event, novice and seasoned textile artists alike can enjoy the spectacular workmanship of textile artists and learn from the best all over the globe.

Aside from immersing yourself in its craftsmanship, the Loch Ness Knitting Festival boasts stunning venues including Eden Court, Loch Ness by Jacobite, Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness Botanic Garden and the Culloden Battlefield and Visitors Centre.

3 bags wool

Inside Three Bags Wool, Aberlour Scotland. Speyside Valley workshops (30 minute drive from Boat of Garten).

Loch Ness festival goers are given an exclusive tour by water, while Eden Court – the festival’s headquarters for exhibitors – is steps outside of Inverness Old Town and city centre.

Trying your hand at crafts of the Highlands

At Scot Mountain Holidays we have a passion for Highland craftsmanship which is why we are offering an accommodation and transport package to guests who don’t want to miss this spectacular event! Please enquire for details.

Crafting in Scotland

Scottish scene captured in a needle felted image

Knitting, quilting, sewing in Scotland

Crafting supplies at Three Bags Wool

 

The festival can be added to your personalized Scotland textiles tour, where we can also guide you to woollen mills and extended craftsmanship courses. If you would like details of the self-guided crafting possibilities in our area please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

“Making” or crafting tour

We can offer:

We can put together a package for you which would include what our son calls “making” opportunities if you wish or just browsing if you prefer also featuring hand-picked chances to sample the finest Scottish produce and comfortable accommodation for your stay with like-minded hosts.

thrugs

‘Thrugs’ – rugs made from thrums, Three Bags Wool

Examples of the possibilities for your crafting holiday

No Scotland holiday would be complete without a feel for the Highland textile tradition kept alive in the Cairngorms’ very own Victorian-era Knockando Woolmill Trust. You can go inside the mill to see the Victorian machinery in action, then treat yourself to an international festival of art. You can even pursue your passion in local multi-day courses.

Courses are also available for peg loom weaving, needle felting and sewing at Three Bags Wool in Aberlour. Aberlour is only about 30 minutes drive from Boat of Garten. We are very happy to offer dinner, bed and breakfast for you if you are attending a workshop at Three Bags Wool. Please email for details. Three Bags Wool will also be exhibiting at the Loch Ness Wool Festival.

Crafts in Scotland

Thrum knitting to make a rug

Weaving

Peg loom rug making with thrums

my thrug

Rebecca’s woven rug just off peg loom (first attempt at a woven rug)

We look forward to showing you!

How to get to Loch Ness Knitting Festival and Market Place

Rebecca is a keen crafter (with very little time to spare to make the projects in her head) and therefore she is keen to encourage anyone who is interested to attend this first event in Inverness. On Saturday, both Andy and Rebecca are going to the Highland Concert with Bruce Macgregor (of Blazing Fiddles fame). Transport will be available from Fraoch Lodge that evening if you are also interested in attending. We will also run a shuttle up to Eden Court (Inverness) during the day on Saturday if you’d like to take a look at the marketplace and workshops going on.

Please phone 01479 831 331 or email us (using the contact form) if you are looking for a last minute weekend away and fancy a bit of Highland culture.

Worldclass artistry

Scotland famous for textiles – Scotland’s textiles are famous all over the world, not least of all for the kilt (a Highland tradition dating back to the 16th century!) and contemporaries who continue to produce some of the world’s finest fabrics.

Here textiles are as varied as they are practical. In the Cairngorms we certainly find wildlife stalkers are prone to camouflaging tweed, while walkers often go for the synthetics. Pro tip: don’t miss out on the versatility of wool; it keeps you warm when wet, wicks away sweat and can take weeks before needing a wash.

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Carding wool at Knockando, great activity for kids!

The must sees of the textile industry include the Scottish Borders, Harris Tweed on the Isle of Harris, Fair Isle knitting between the Shetlands and Orkneys and Johnstons of Elgin based in London who have a free tour of their wool mill every business hour, on the hour.

Scotland textile artists have been making quite a splash in the fashion industry, too. Notables include Angharad McLarenLochaven of Scotland in Ayrshire village (known for creating the outfits for Harry Potter’s wizarding school!), Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Graeme Armour, and more. Another great article on Scotland’s influence in the fashion world is 10 Scottish manufacturers for fashion designers.

In addition, check out a few of our favourite textile and yarn manufactuers in Scotland, namely Keela and Bonar Yarns.

On our doorstep – Scotland famous for textiles

In the Cairngorms we have our very own Knockando Woolmill Trust. This charitable organization has a fully functioning water wheel where you can witness its fascinating process in action, set against a lovely Highland backdrop. You can also browse their garments in shop—check out more of our experience with Knockando and the Scottish Kitlmaker’s Exhibition.

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Knockando’s heritage water wheel

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Looms

The British Wool Fest in Cumbria and the Inverness Loch Ness Knitting Festival in June and September, respectively, are both wonderfully immersive introductions to textiles, and Rebecca has taken a 3 day weaving course she would highly recommend for beginners and novices.

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3 day weaving course

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Preparing the shuttle to pass through the shed

To learn more about these experiences ask us about our self guided tours, because any quintessential Scottish holiday can’t miss out on its Tartan and Tweed!

Check out more of our adventures at Knockando:

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Victorian machinery at work, spinning yarn

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Spinning the yarn onto cones

Scotland famous for textiles

Carding fleece

Scotland famous for textiles

Spinning machinery

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