The Borders’ strong association with the world of textiles is set to be celebrated with a dozen limited edition hand-dyed brands of wool, all created and sold in Galashiels.
Naomi Harrod, owner of The Wool Shop in High Street, is launching the unique collection in a bid to put the area on the map when it comes to knitting.
The 27-year-old, originally from Dundee moved to Galashiels from Inverness just over a year ago and took over the shop at 6 High Street from previous owner Lesley Mathison in May.
“After moving to Galashiels last year and struggling to find a job I spoke Job Centre Plus who recommended I take part in the New Enterprise Allowance programme where you are given all the help and mentoring you need to create a business plan to start your own business,” she said.
“I then learned that The Wool Shop where I had a Saturday job was planning to close so made the rather unexpected decision to take it over.
“It was just sheer happenstance that Lesley was intending to retire and I could take the store over, but I’ve since received the most incredible support from the wonderful people at Job Centre Plus, other local businesses and the people in the area.
“I was soon approached by People’s Plus who offered me a grant to invest into the business and I knew straight away I wanted to launch the stores own hand-dyed wool.
“Obviously, there’s so many knitters here in the Borders I thought it would be nice that they have their own wool brand.
“I want to get the Borders name out there.
“We have got the textile name here, so I thought why not have some hand-dyed wool to go with it?”
The first three of Naomi’s 12 designs, entitled “It’s a cauld yin,” “Hogmanay Fizz” and “Snow on The Eildons,” were unveiled at the start of the month.
She plans to launch three more each season, each colour being inspired by the Borders and named accordingly.
A former interior design student at the University of Dundee, Naomi has been knitting for 10 years, and hand-dyes all her own wool in her kitchen at home in Galashiels.
“There’s a great sense of community in the Borders that I’ve not necessarily felt in other parts of the country which has been incredible to experience,” she added.
Longer term, Naomi says she hopes to grow the shop’s reputation as a place where local producers can sell their wares.
She said: “My goal for the shop is to stock a wide range of local wools and knitting and crochet products. So far the store has a lovely selection of hand-dyed wool from My Mama Knits, from Earlston, wool from Tartan Ark in Duns, yarn bowls from Dirty Earth Pottery Studio, wall hangings by The Little Moon Company in Melrose, yarn holders hand turned by Drew Hamilton and hand knitted items by local knitters.
“With a new social media presence the shop can promote all the good things going on in the Borders knitting scene.”
The shop also hosts classes and workshops by expert knitters Samira Hill and Katharine Donald and host a knitting club on Wednesday evenings.
The Borders-inspired wool is available from The Wool Shop, which is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.