One of the things that I noticed right away and love about Edinburgh is the proliferation of indie stores and restaurants/cafes. It's so nice to be able to walk miles and not see a high street full of chain stores that looks like every other high street around the country. So if you didn't make it to EYF or get a chance to get a copy of Wool Tribe, come along with me as I take you on a wee tour of a couple of neighbourhoods. Just a note that I made a few modifications to the routes in the book. In this first part, I merged two of the walks together.
Starting from the National Portrait Gallery on York Street in the New Town, turn left and walk a block to Hanover Street (which then turns into Queen St.) Here you will get a lovely view looking down on the Firth of Forth.
This is quite a large and airy yarn shop specializing mostly in commercial brands. You'll find a really good selection of Rowan yarns and pattern books for example. They also stock every conceivable needle size and notion you would ever need.
Turning right out of the shop and walking further down the hill, you'll see St. Vincent's Church at the bottom. I headed towards it and then turned left along St. Stephen Street where you will find at number 68, Golden Hare Books. This is an absolutely beautiful bookstore with most of the books shelved face out and clearly curated and chosen by staff with a wide range of reading tastes, an appreciation for poetry and a love of indie presses, literature in translation and the classics. Any shop openly displaying New York Review of Books Classics brings a smile to my face. They also had the latest edition of Slightly Foxed which I was happy to purchase. Do check out their website - lots of great and quirky book recommendations.
But head back down and cross the river and stop for some refreshment. I highly recommend the cardamon buns at Peter's Yard.
The gallery is on the top of a hill and I could have spent all day there.
However I had made the trip specifically to see the Modern Scottish Women exhibition which was fabulous. It's still on until June 26th so do try and get there if you can. I just had to buy the catalogue; I definitely want to read more about some of the amazing artists whose paintings and sculptures were on display.
This was my favourite painting, Composition in Pink and Green by Cathleen Mann. It just glowed on the wall. She worked in the ambulance service in the First World and as a war artist in the Second, designed costumes for films in the 1930s and also posters for the Underground. I love the colours of the outfit in this painting too - that coral-red belt just sets off the green and grey plaid perfectly.
I might have to steal that colour scheme for this pattern - Briolette, designed by Anna Wilkinson - from Pom Pom Magazine, Issue 6. I would use the coral as the contrast colour on the hem and cuffs and as the bold stripe on the plaid.
There was no photography allowed in the exhibition but I couldn't resist snapping a shot in the loos. I love the ironwork on the windows.
I then returned to the Stockbridge area, again by the Water of Leith walkway, and if you head along Hamilton Place which then turns into Henderson Row and then into Eyre Place (just continue in one straight line), you'll hit Rodney Street which turns into Bellevue. Turn right at Rodney. I am now merging into the Broughton St. walk that is in Wool Tribe. On the lefthand side walking up Bellevue is East Claremont Street and if you turn left on that and walk about ten minutes, you come to Fabric Focus.
They had a lovely selection of quilting fabric and also some gorgeous wool tweeds that were unfortunately a bit out of my price range. I did buy some charcoal grey check fabric that will work nicely as a contrast colour in a future quilt.
Returning back the way you've come, Bellevue St turns into Broughton and here you will find my favourite yarn shop in Edinburgh - Kathy's Knits.