The Border Reivers in Cross Stitch - a new village project completed
Some of you will remember that Smailholm Stitchers created two panels of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, the Border Reivers and the Modern Kilt (see Village Ventures). Our group of twelve included one of the few men involved in the tapestry. Derrick Jowett’s special talent is cross stitch and when we’d finished the tapestry, Derrick had the inspired thought that he could recreate the Border Reivers in cross stitch, with a view to it being a present for his wife initially but ultimately for it to hang on the wall in the village hall, a memento of the village’s involvement with the Great Tapestry.
Derrick was fortunate that another of our group, Sally Scott Aiton, is the owner of a very prestigious cross stitch company, Cobweb Designs (https://www.cobweb-needlework.com) . Sally supplies the National Trust, Historic Scotland and other very famous historic buildings abroad, such as Versailles in France and the Alhambra and the Prada in Spain, so she was perfectly placed, and – more importantly – willing to use her design skills to translate our Border Reiver panel into a cross stitch chart. Derrick made an excellent start to the project, demonstrating his usual high standard, but ill health forced him to accept that finishing it would be a challenge too far. So he asked the tapestry group if they would finish the work, and without hesitation everyone said yes!
Cross stitch skills in Smailholm Stitchers were varied, from the very experienced to no experience at all. However, enough people were in the former category and those who weren’t confined themselves to some of the simpler areas of the work, but everyone from the original tapestry group did a bit. With Sally project managing it, the panel was completed in April 2018 and framed ready to hang in the village hall, where Derrick had decided it should go. It’s on a smaller scale, the cross stitch version is about 16” square and the original panel three feet square, but the replica is extremely authentic in appearance.
This all seemed to call for some sort of a celebration! Completion coincided with Derrick’s birthday and we’re always up for a party. So on 29th April, we hung the picture on the hall wall, and, incollusion with Derrick's wife Marjorie, brought him up “to see the finished work”. A bit suspicious at the number of cars outside when he arrived, the ensuing birthday tea (sandwiches with the crusts cut off, scones and homemade jam,lots of lovely cakes) was a complete surprise! Attendance from Smailholm Stitchers and Derrick’s friends in the village made for a lovely afternoon. We’re grateful to Derrick for his wonderful idea, we won’t be here to see it but we hope the Border Reivers will still be hanging in the village hall a hundred years from now!
Accidents on the double bend at the west end of Smailholm
The community council want to keep a record of all the accidents that happen at the double bend at the west end of Smailholm, so that we can convince the council that we need some kind of better warning. Many of the accidents don't get reported if there are no serious injuries and the police aren't called, so the figures the council have are much lower than the reality. So if you see any, can you let either Jane, Veronica, or Ian Malcolm know.
Once again, Smailholm Village Hall saw a lively Christmas Party 2016, with all the right elements - great music, lots of dancing, good company, entertainment, and lovely food, a wonderful way of getting everyone in the Christmas spirit - see the video below!
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