Selkirk yarnbombers in national media spotlight

Guerrilla knitters adorned Sir Walter Scott's statue in black and white.
Guerrilla knitters adorned Sir Walter Scott's statue in black and white.

Souters heaped praise on the secret ‘yarnbombers’, but its leader would like to apologise to one for draping Galashiels’ colours in the Market Place.

The recent ‘yarnstorm’, when 30 knitters and crocheters decorated Selkirk, Ettrick and Yarrow with 46 street art works which took almost a year to make, brought the Royal Burgh fame across the national media.

The next day, one Souter was overheard to say: “There were a lot of old ladies up high ladders last night – and one of them was my wife.”

The night-time knitting raid became the talk of the steamie, as puzzled but delighted locals and visitors discovered more witty ‘yarnbombs’ during the week.

Community Council chairman Graham Easton congratulated the group on “a spectacular effort.”

And Selkirkshire Councillor Michelle Ballantyne enthused: “It’s a phenomenal piece of work. It has transformed the town.”

But not all Souters were impressed. Yarnstorm leader Kay Ross apologised to one complainant for hanging ‘Gala colours’ in the heart of the town.

“The only negative comments thus far have related to the black and white check around the base of Walter Scott’s statue,” she said.

“I guess we asked for it. When you’re an incomer, you’re not aware of the deep-seated rivalry between the Borders towns.

“The maker assures me it’s the original shepherd’s check. Sir Walter deserved to have shepherd’s check – and it was there first.”

Kay also reported how aged knitters foiled acts of theft and vandalism. One Souter Stormer, she said, caught a wool robber red-handed, while another 84-year-old lady confronted someone pulling pom-poms off the Courthouse steps.

“She was so indignant,” Kay said: “she was one of the knitters, and knew how much effort it took.”

Sadly one rustler got away: “Someone’s nicked Fletcher’s hat!” Kay added, “but kids will be kids, and I would have expected worse.”

But there were also acts of generosity. “The Souter Stormers gave a ‘gift’ to George, who sits most days on the wall around the flower bed at Sir Walter’s statue with his dog Sasha,” Kay told us.

“They made a cushion for George, which opens, and inside is a mat for Sasha, and a longer one for ‘visitors’. Apparently he is thrilled to bits. We’re not sure how you spell the dog’s name, but one way or another it is on his mat.”

Kay was keen to thank firemen Kenny and Bruce for helping to hang the street art, and Andrew Elliot Ltd and Lochcarron for donating wool.

The ladies plan a celebration lunch, where they will dream up their next secret hit.