Yarnbombers launch another Selkirk strike

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Souters have woken up this morning to a Royal and Ancient Burgh that is decidedly woollier than it was yesterday.

Yes, the Yarnbombers are back! Following the success of the 2015 Yarnstorming project, which received worldwide acclaim and publicity as far afield as Taiwan and New Zealand, the Souter Stormers, a group of enthusiastic knitters and crocheters from Selkirk and the surrounding area, have been out in force once again with a new yarnstorming project unveiled in town and the valleys today.

Overnight, Selkirk has been turned into a knitted sensation, and visitors are being warned about serious and dramatic changes that could cause extreme wonder.

Kay Ross, spokesperson for the Souter Stormers, said: “This is by far the most ambitious project we have undertaken to date, and we are delighted to have the collaboration of many people and businesses in the local community in a great show of solidarity for the project.”

The shops and businesses of Selkirk are all knitted up for the month of September and as you walk along the High Street there are many woolly surprises to be discovered.

The knitted sensation seems to have spread, and locals and visitors alike are being warned about the sights that may cause extreme surprise further up the valleys too, for those who dare to explore.

Central to the Fully Woolly project is the pop-up shop at 23 High Street, which has been taken over for the month of September.

Visitors will walk into a knitted living room of carefully-crafted woolly furniture, books, rugs, flowers in vases, and even a fish tank and a bird cage. In the window, a knitted garden provides pleasure and the shop walls will have Selkirk’s heritage on display with a presentation of photographs of mill workers in the 1940s and 1950s, all mounted on a tartan backdrop (courtesy of Lochcarron).

Other wall hangings, composed of 15cm textile squares, decorated by children of Knowepark, Philiphaugh, St Joseph’s, Yarrow and Kirkhope primary schools, will also be on display.

The back room offers a sales table of hand-made items; all proceeds going to charity. The Men’s Shed from Galashiels will be offering items for sale too.

The Fully Woolly Trail will see knitted or crocheted items in every shop and business window, mostly related to the nature of each particular business. A quiz for children will be matched to this. There is also a quiz for adults, based on book titles as per the books on display in Fully Woolly.

Enhancing the outdoors, there is a rusty old bike, overtaken by knitted nature, with branch, hedgehogs, fungus, snake, crow, etc. etc. on the footpath in the High Street, and you may even spot a couple of traffic signpost cones that have succumbed to the knitters.

Kay said: “We encourage you to drive up towards Ettrickbridge. The telephone box there has turned into a knitted teapot, and the village has two afternoon tea tables, numerous cakes and treats, and Nora Knitty seated with her own special brew. When venturing toward the Yarrow Valley, watch out for the odd knitted sheep, various farm animals and you might see an amusing character on a bike.

“Adding to the entertainment, Scottish Makar Jackie Kay will be performing at Bowhill Theatre (tickets £10) on Sunday evening of September 17, as part of the YES Arts Festival poetry event and will be driven there from Selkirk in our Yarnstormed car, courtesy of Belmont Motors.

“Although the knitting is done for pleasure, this year’s project will collect funds for charities, with donations going to Fresh Start Borders – offering start-up packs for those who have been homeless now moving into a new home – and Knit Aid, a charity which knits for refugees who have fled to Europe.”

Selkirk Stormers consists of enthusiastic crafters from Selkirk and beyond and includes the Brigend Bombers and Yarrow Yarners from the valleys.

Kay said: “Following an amazing reaction in 2015 the group decided to undertake this major project in aid of charity. In 2016 they added to Selkirk’s Christmas decoration.

“Members would like to thank all who helped, including those from the Men’s Shed in Galashiels who made wooden structures such as the dresser, fireplace and bookshelves to be covered. A special thank you too, goes to Selkirk CARS (Conservation and Regeneration Scheme) who provided a generous grant for the group for the project.