Great British Bake Off National Baking Week and Tartan Chocolate

Baking and Chocolate Week

This week is extremely exciting  for all foodies, not only is it National baking week but it’s also Chocolate Week! We do love our cake here in the ScotlandShop office and are big fans of the series. We just need to persuade Mary Berry to use our Tartan tablecloths in her tent instead of the current red and white gingham one! National Baking week is all about promoting homemade food and family time and this year the National Baking Week teamed up with Cathryn Dresser, a contestant in the 2012 Great British Bake Off who is extremely passionate about baking. To kick things off, Cathryn produced five recipes, exclusive to National Baking Week for us all to try that can be found on the National Baking Week Website.

Nancy

This Year’s series of The Great British Bake Off finished just last week with Nancy Birtwhistle announced as the ‘Queen of the tent’, with Luis Troyano and Richard Burr finishing as runners-up. This is a TV highlight within the office, so we were sad to see the series end.

This week is also National Chocolate Week and what better chocolate for us than Tartan Chocolate pictured below. The Moniaive Chocolatiers based deep in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway have come up with their mouth watering Tiny Tartans and Taste o’ Tartan bars which “ooze everything Scottish while emphasising the country’s cosmopolitan philosophy through the use of fair trade products from across the world”. Mmmm I know what I want to find in the bottom of my tartan christmas stocking this year!

Great British Bake OffTartan Chocolate

Wool Week 2014 bringing your tartan fabric to life

Wool Week

The Campaign for Wool celebrates everything about wool annually and given that wool is at the core of almost all of our tartans then we are certainly up for a celebration. The Campaign for Wool is a global endeavour initiated by its patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, in order to raise awareness amongst consumers about the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool. To celebrate this we look at the journey from sheep to tartan. National Wool Week kicked off in 2014 with a wool ride on Sunday 5th October. Over 300 cyclists rode through the centre of London to celebrate everyone’s favourite natural fibre. Throughout the cycle riders were greeted by a flock of sheep, woolly installations galore and models wearing some amazing wool designer creations from The Campaign for Wool Collection.

Wool Week Cycle

From Sheep to Tartan -

Sheep with Sunglasses

Sheep

All of our wool tartan fabrics start life with a super cool Scottish sheep and once the sheep are in perfect condition the wool is then harvested from the sheep. This is also known as shearing.

Washing, Blending and Carding

Raw Wool

Once all the wool has been collected it is cleaned to remove all dirt, lanolin and other foreign materials from the wool before any further processing is attempted. Once cleaned the wool is then blended, bleached, and dyed to each necessary colour. Which as you can imagine for over 500 tartans involves many colour combinations! The next stage is carding a mechanical process that disentangles and intermixes fibres so that they aligned ready to be turned in to yarn. The term carding originally derived from the Latin carduus meaning teasel, as dried vegetable teasels were first used to comb the raw wool.  Nowadays small metal teasels are used in this process.

Spinning

Yarn

Spinning transforms the wool in to yarn, all of the wool fibres are drawn out and twisted together to form the yarn. The direction in which the yarn is spun is called twist,yarns are characterized as S-twist or Z-twist according to the direction of spinning and the tightness of the twist is measured in TPI. Yarns can be made of two, three, four, or more plies, or may be used as singles without plying.

 

Weaving

Weaving

Weaving turns yarn in to fabric, all of the yarn is set out in the specific colour order for each of the different tartan patterns which is know as the warp, once arranged is fed in to the loom vertically, an extremely intricate process ensuring the order of yarn is correct. Once in to the loom specific sections of the warp thread will be lifted up at certain stages so that yarn can be interwoven horizontally know as the weft. Once this has been interwoven yarn in both the warp and the weft is combined to create the fabric.

 

So there you go – from sheep to tartan! There are lots of fabulous mill tours in the Scottish Borders where we are based so if you want to see the whole process in action then you know where to book your next holiday.

 

 

What we did on our Holiday Tartan on the red carpet

What we did on our holiday posterWhat we did on our holiday 1 2014 Film What we did on our holiday hit screens across the UK on Friday .

From the creators of the hit BBC comedy series Outnumbered “What We Did On Our Holiday” is a heart-warming, uplifting comedy for all the family. Doug (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike) and their three children travel to the Scottish Highlands for Doug’s father Gordie’s (Billy Connolly) birthday party. It’s soon clear that when it comes to keeping a secret under wraps from the rest of the family, their children are their biggest liability…

The film’s youngest star Harriet Turnbull who plays Jess MacLeod, Doug (David Tennant) and Abi’s (Rosamund Pike) youngest daughter was pictured at the films world premier on Monday 22nd September in London in a beautiful dress made for her in our MacLeod of Harris Ancient Silk Fabric. This is Harriet’s first professional acting role and she looks like she had a fantastic time in her dress on the red carpet. Harriet wasn’t the only one of the film’s stars to be pictured in tartan.Bobby Smalldridge was also pictured wearing one of our MacLeod of Harris Modern Boy’s Wool Tartan Ties and looks very smart indeed.

David Tennant also chose to wear some tartan in what we think looks like a Robertson Red Modern Kilt.

The film has received great reviews, Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian wrote “It’s impossible not to enjoy this big-hearted and sweet-natured British family movie from Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin.”

Suggs Tartan Madness

Suggs SelectionGraham McPherson, commonly known as Suggs, best known as the frontman of the band Madness, but also an actor, former radio dj, television and radio personality. Suggs has always had his own memorable style often wearing suits and sunglasses. Madness were one of the most prominent bands during the 2 Tone Ska revival, they are still performing with their most recognised line-up.

Suggs New Compilation CD caught our eye when we spotted the Tartan Suit Jacket worn on the cover of The Suggs Selection which full of classic’s from bands such as the Who and the Jam who have been influential within British Music over many decades. The Tartan worn is Black Watch Modern which is predominantly blue, green and black. This isn’t the first time Suggs has been spotted wearing a tartan jacket though, we spotted this slightly older photo of Suggs looking good in tartan.

Suggs in Tartan

The Black Watch tartan is a more subdued tartan, designed with camouflage rather than display in mind. It it thought that it perhaps influenced the later creation of Hunting Tartans in the late 1800s. The use of a three colour check, with black separating green and blue, is unlikely to have been an existing design in 1739 when it was proposed. If your looking for a Men’s Tartan Suit Jacket of your own then look no further. 

Our Made to measure men’s tartan suit jacket is made in the tartan of your choice. Your tartan suit jacket is genuinely made to order therefore we can add many additional details or change styling for you. We can add or take away buttons to the main front fastening and the cuff. Cuff buttons are stitched as standard but we can make them “real” on all or some of the holes. Lapels can be satin or velvet instead of tartan if you wish.  Pharrell wore a fabulous Stewart Royal tartan suit with black satin lapels for his wedding.  The standard lining for our tartan suit jacket is black twill but you can also choose a contrast lining in red or to match a colour in the tartan to create a more striking finish.  We love helping you to choose these extra touches so please call us or email us if you need some help.  This blog was prompted by a customer who spotted the jacket on Sugg’s album cover and asked us to create him the same jacket in the same tartan. If you spot a taxi driver sporting a Black Watch tartan jacket you know who made it!

All eyes are on Gleneagles for the Ryder Cup

Our theme this week sees Gleaneagles play host to the 2014 Ryder Cup. After a two-year wait, we are very excited to see if Team Europe can complete a hat-trick of successive wins in one of  the greatest golf tournaments. With the Practice matches already underway and the Ryder Cup Gala Concert tonight there is a bit of Ryder Cup mania going on here in Scotland.

The Course

Gleneagles Course

The PGA Centenary course has been created by Jack Nicklaus, an acclaimed golf architect. This was surely a daunting task to create the perfect course for a tournament of this size yet it was reported that Nicklaus described the course as ‘the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with’. On the Ryder Cup website you can play the Virtual Gleneagles Course so even if you can’t make it to the tournament you can still test out the course and feel at the heart of the action.

The Teams

Team Europe consists of Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson,Lee Westwood, Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter, with Paul McGinley captaining the team, making history as the first Irish Captain.

European Team 2014

The American Line up for 2014 Captained by Tom Watson includes, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson. Today is the Ryder Cup Gala Concert at The Hydro Arena in Glasgow featuring some popular acts like Jake Bugg, Twin Altlantic, Amy Macdonnald and Nina Nesbitt this is where we can see the teams gathered for the first time.

Ryder Cup Tartan

Ryder Cup Tartan

To mark the return of the Ryder Cup to the “Home of Golf” in 2014, the official Ryder Cup Tartan has been launched to commemorate the match at Gleneagles. Created by our local mill and internationally-renowned tartan designers, Lochcarron of Scotland, the bold plaid features four shades of blue inspired by the landscape of Scotland. The design also incorporates white – a nod of the cap to the Saltire – Scotland’s national flag of St Andrew – and blue and gold to reflect the colours of the European flag.

The Ryder Cup Collection

The Ryder Cup Collection

The exclusive 2014 Ryder Cup Collection has been inspired by the rich heritage and tradition of this historic sporting event. This collection combines the highest quality with exceptional design all made in Scotland. What a great memento to be treasured along with the everlasting memories of the event. Already very popular during the build up to the Ryder Cup tartan products available in the collection include rugs in cashmere and lambswool, along with tartan clothing and accessories from from Men’s Tartan Trousers to a Women’s Mini Kilts, tartan scarves, ties, flat caps and tams.

We can’t wait to see all the pictures of fans wearing their caps and scarves in the crowd. While watching the tournament why not send us a picture of you with your piece of Ryder Cup Tartan.

Blanck Digital and the adventures of the Tartan Leather Satchel

Blanck Digital CoverBlanck Digital Contents PageBlanck Digital SatchelBlanck Digital Mini Skirt

Blanck Digital Magazine recently featured our Tartan and Leather Satchel and Tartan Mini Kilt in their Summer Loving fashion editorial. Blanck is a digital Pan-African Fashion and Lifestyle magazine.  The magazine prides itself on strong imagery in editorial fashion and portraiture, which is used to showcase the work of amazing teams of Photographers, Stylists, Makeup artists and Art directors. This hard work is shown throughout the magazine and we are in love with the photographs featuring our Tartan and Leather satchels, just as much as we love the satchels themselves. The satchels are an extremely popular product within in our office with many of our staff bringing their satchels to work every day.

Leather Satchel on the Train

Leather Satchel at the Hotel

Bike & Leather Satchel

On a recent business trip to London, ScotlandShop Boss Anna had great fun Instagramming  updates of the Adventures of her new Leather Satchel. Instead of tartan she chose one of the new Craigie Hill tweeds teamed with Boisinberry leather.  The Adventure kicked off with an early start on the first train of the day from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to London Kings Cross, which as shown in the picture was too early for most. The Satchel was even able to get it’s own seat on the train. After a long day at the IMRG International Connect Conference learning all about Cross-Border trading with Keynote speakers including Justin Lodge from Wiggle and David Lloyd from Google it was back to the Best Western Hotel for a relaxing evening. The next day Anna was off to meet with our PR company, Push PR, rather than riding the underground Anna gave the Barclays Cycle Hire a shot for the first time, popularly known as Boris Bikes, after Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London at the time of the Cycle Hire Launch. With 10,000 bicycles and 720 docking stations these bikes are becoming just as well known as the black cabs and red buses of the city. You can get your own Tartan Leather Satchel on our website, and if that’s not enough choice for you there are a few other leather colours available, just get in touch and we’ll have the perfect colour for you.

Our Top 5 Collection Looks from New York and London

Our theme this week is inspired by New York and London Fashion weeks, with London Fashion Week drawing to a close on Tuesday. We’ve had a look for our top five Scottish looks within all of the catwalk shows.

Trina Turk

Trina Turk

We start with a fabulous men’s suit by Trina Turk from her Spring Summer 2015 Ready to Wear Collection titled “Pop Art Flower Mart” inspired by the fun of the LA Flower Mart. A wonderfully playful and bright collection with contrasting plains and some really interesting graphic prints, the collection has got us excited to pull out everything bright from our wardrobe in time for Spring 2015. This stylish blue and peach checked suit is a bold choice but the model looks great and even takes a quick selfie to show off his style, during the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion week catwalk all of the models had their iPhones at the ready to take selfies with people at the show. Bit like our Roslin tartan we think?

 

 

 

 

 

Novis

Novis

Our second look is from Novis in their Spring Summer 2015 Ready to Wear Collection the features white, blue and orange throughout with both some beautiful plain looks with bold graphic prints to contrast. Use our Erskine Black and White tartan to create this effect.  With a pop art vibe coming across in many of the prints due to the inspiration of Tom Wesselmann’s paintings. Repeated patterns featuring diamonds, stripes and checks as well as everyday objects such as fruit and birds transformed in to stunning prints. The style pictured is an elegant shirt dress with a white and black large scale windowpane check and contrasting orange collar and bow really setting the dress off to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

Creatures of Comfort

Creatures of Comfort

The third of our looks comes from Creatures of Comfort’s Spring Summer 2015 Ready to Wear Collection. A collection full of pastel and earthy shades with fabrics including canvas and linen as well as a quirky cactus print adding detail to a collection predominately featuring plains. Inspired Our favorite look features a sleeveless shirt dress with a delicate pastel check and an interesting wrap around skirt. Create your own catwalk look with our pastel check tartans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICB

ICB

Our fourth look is from ICB’s Spring Summer 2015 Ready to Wear Collection with both neutral black and white tones as well as some bold plains. Described as sporty looks for the city girl the collection plays with the ideas of movement and oozing plaint which can be seen in the backdrop to the catwalk, this idea featured in some graphic floral prints which start to fade in to vertical stripes reminiscent of dripping paint yet in an elegant style. The look pictured is a daring sleeveless white top with large slits from both hips aiding the idea of movement above loose fitting suit trousers with a hand-drawn windowpane check featured throughout the collection. We have a new collection of tweeds call the Sloane Square collection perfect for creating city slick outfits.

 

 

 

 

Chole Sevigny x Opening Ceremony

Chole Sevigny

Our final look, a throw back to the Grunge tartan style of the 90′s designed by actress Chloe Sevigny for Opening ceremony. The collection was presented in an academic setting from the school uniform inspired collection with plenty ruffles thrown in as a playful girly element mixed with preppy stripes,mini skirts and dungarees. The look featured includes a baggy Tri-State-Represent with matching base ball cap with navy white and red mini skirt in an interesting design with extra longer fabric wrapping back around the sides of the skirt, almost making it look like a shirt being tied round the waist. Maybe we need to adjust the pattern for our tartan mini kilt to create this look?  Overall a very playful 90′s collection.

Light Coats for Lasses with Regina Magazine

Regina Magazine Cover

Regina Magazine

Regina Magazine chose our Women’s Tartan Jacket for their Light Coats for Lasses feature. Our Tartan Trench Coat and Women’s Longline Tartan Jacket look fabulous pictured in the Hay Modern Tartan and Patriot Modern Tartan.

The Wonderful Kate Middleton looks stunning pictured in her tartan jacket. We love the frock coat style she likes to wear so much that we’re in the process of creating our very own ‘Kate’ jacket inspired by the Duchess to add to our website.

We were very excited to hear the announcement last week that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a second baby. The birth of Prince George brought so much joy worldwide, that we can’t wait to see the new prince or princess, who once born will become fourth in line to the British Throne to succeed Queen Elizabeth.  We must make George’s little brother or sister a pair of tartan baby shoes, maybe in Kate’s own Strathearn tartan?

Another Royal has been doing great things this weekend with Prince Harry’s Invictus Games taking place in London. Inspiring stuff from our wounded warriors sending a very positive message about life beyond disability. Over 400 competitors from 13 nations took part in Athletics, Wheelchair Rugby, Archery, Wheelchair Basketball, Indoor Rowing, Road Cycling, Sitting Volleyball, Powerlifting and Swimming. The event was a celebration of resilience and passion….if you watched it then it certainly was.  We have always supported the Help for Heroes Charity through sales of the tartan on our website and the stories from the servicemen and women are a reminder of what some people give up to serve their country.

Check out our Ryder Cup collection with Home Deco Germany


Deco Home Germany - September - CoverDECO HOME Germany - SeptemberDeco Home Germany have gone Tartan crazy, with our Ryder Cup Cashmere Tartan Throw and Men’s Knee Length Tartan Jacket.

To mark the return of the Ryder Cup to the “Home of Golf” in 2014, the official Ryder Cup Tartan was launched late last year to commemorate the match at Gleneagles. Created by our local mill and internationally-renowned tartan designers, Lochcarron of Scotland, the bold tartan features four shades of blue inspired by the landscape of Scotland.  The design also incorporates white – a nod of the cap to the Saltire – Scotland’s national flag of St Andrew – and blue and gold to reflect the colours of the European flag.

Ryder Cup

With the Tournament now only two weeks away, our Ryder Cup golf fans are already stocking up on their kit and in the tartan collection we have a great selection of products, from ties to trousers and scarves to serapes, everything you need to celebrate the match in style.

Along with a gorgeous Vivienne Westwood bag Deco also chose our Men’s tartan jacket for their style feature, and whether you are looking for a Dinner jacket or Suit jacket we are here to help with sizing and fabric. It is sometimes hard to choose with the huge variety of both tartan and tweed fabric available. Our jackets are beautifully tailored, lined in a contrast colour and made in a top quality lightweight wool fabric woven in Scotland.

Mens Knee Length Jacket We might have to get some of those tartan plates for our office too. When guests arrive they are always quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tartan on the shelves so to serve biscuits on a tartan plate might be just too much!  Tartan is something you fall in love with – our customer’s buy a little bit and fall in love with the fabric or the colours.  The realisation of the difference looks you can create opens the floodgates to all sorts of outfits and home deco ideas. A very simple outfit or the most subtle interior decoration can be transformed with just a little bit of tartan or tweed. Go on give it a go!

 

Taking a look at Scottish Borders Towns

Duns Castle

This month we thought we would introduce some new themes to our blog post. So we start with a bit of a story about a few of the towns in the fabulous Scottish Borders area where we are based.  Let’s begin with Duns since that is our closest town and the home of ScotlandShop.  Duns is the county town of Berwickshire and is centered around it’s market square. Pop into Hugo’s if you want a delicious sit down lunch or Border Baguettes if you need to grab a yummy sandwich to take away.  Number 18 or Albany Vineyard are fab for gifts. For tourists Duns castle is a beautiful visit.  The 14th century castle is set within extensive grounds and home to a huge variety of local wildlife. The castle is a popular wedding venue with fantastic accommodation on offer, and a stunning back drop for wedding photos with the castle having been used for many photo shoots and even featuring in the 1997 film Mrs Brown.  Another fantastic place to visit is The Jim Clark Room, a small museum devoted to the life Formula One racing driver Jim Clark with an excellent collection of photographs, information and memorabilia. Brilliant for all car enthusiasts.

Argyle & Stripe Lambswool Cardigan

Hawick is the largest of the Border towns and has always been at the centre of the world’s cashmere industry with many shops within the town selling a large selection of it’s famous knitwear. Home to internationally renowned brands such as Pringle of Scotland, Lyle & Scott, Johnston’s of Elgin and Peter Scott we work closely with our local manufacturers to bring you some of the finest knitwear and accessories in the world.  The main event in Hawick is the annual Common Riding, a ceremony in which many of the towns residents ride out on horseback to check the town’s boundaries, as well as a huge celebration of the town’s youth being victorious over an English raid in 1514 in which they captured an English banner and proudly brought it back to the town. In 2007 Rough Guide described the Common Riding and one of the best parties in the world.


 

Barclay Dress Modern

Melrose is a beautiful town based in the valley next to the stunning Eildon Hills.  Within the town is Melrose Abbey in which Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried and much of the town’s history can be discovered. Melrose  is the birthplace of Rugby Sevens and every April the town is overwhelmed with rugby fans from around the world flocking to watch some fantastic rugby and enjoy the party afterwards. The game of Rugby Sevens has become a hugely followed international sport and having been part of the Commonwealth Games for many years it will now make it’s first appearance at the 2016 Olympic games. The Toon o the Rose has black and yellow as it’s colours and the Barclay Dress Modern tartan pictured here was worn by commentator and ex-international Scottish rugby star Doddie Weir at the Melrose 7s this year.  Another big event in the town’s calendar is Borders Book Festival again drawing huge crowds to the town with many famous authors and celebrities in attendance.


Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh is a beautiful little town close to the Border with England and home to many visitor attractions steeped in masses of history. At the top of the town is the Castle Jail & Museum with the museum showing life as the prisoners would have experienced in the 1800′s. As well as the the impressive castle is Jedburgh Abbey on the banks of Jed Water, part of the Border’s Abbey Trail. There is also Mary Queens of Scot’s House a home in which she visited in 1566 now a museum devoted to her life. The town has an annual event known as Hand Ba’ in which two teams decided by how you first entered the town try to run a small ball either up to the castle or down to the bottom of the high street, there are no boundaries to when the game can be played and many shop keeps choose to board up their shop windows to prevent any damage caused by the game. Jedburgh is also a renowned textiles and kilt making town but sadly victim to the many mill closures in the last few decades there are only a few small, specialist manufacturers left in the town. Below is the Bell of the Borders tartan, one of the lovely regional tartans created to celebrate the colours of the Scottish Borders.

Bell of the Borders

Peebles was crowned the most creative place of it’s size in Scotland this year and was given an award to help further enhance it’s festivals and other events. We’re very excited to see the impact of this on the town. Peebles plays host to part of the Tweedlove bike festival, with Glentress forest just outside of the town which is part of the 7 Stanes mounting biking centers across the south of Scotland, the town is very popular with cyclists having also had the Tour of Britain hold a stage through the town and beyond. Neighbouring tiny village Innerleithen was home to Ballantyne cashmere in until 1986, employing 470 local people and producing 4500 sweaters per week, most of which were destined for the USA, Japan, Italy and Hong Kong. Sadly due to pressure from cheap imports Ballantyne is no longer in operation and the loss of so many jobs in this rural area has had a huge effect on the local population.  When ScotlandShop was established ten years ago we wanted to work with the surviving local knitwear and textiles manufacturers to promote our fabulous products worldwide, safeguarding some of the remaining jobs in the industry. By shopping with us you are helping us to do this.  Our photoshoot last summer took place in Peebles and doesn’t Natalia’s Stewart Black tartan suit look great with the backdrop of the flags for the annual Beltane Festival.

Peebles