Previous Tour Details

 Fiber & Food Lovers Tour: Lake District, Yorkshire, and South of Scotland
JUNE 22 – JULY 5, 2015
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Here was the day-by-day itinerary for the tour:

Monday 22nd June
Today will be spent exploring Edinburgh on our own. I will have a list and map of fiber and food related shops and galleries that will be of interest, and there will be information for you about city bus tours to all of the many attractions to choose from.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Tuesday 23rd June
Today we leave Edinburgh and travel south towards England. Our first stop will be Hawick, a town famous for its’ involvement in the Borders textile industry. Visits there include:
• Johnston’s of Elgin: Johnston’s has been producing cashmere and fine woolens since 1797. We will join one of their guided tours of the manufacturing process where we will be able to see their expert craftsmanship in action.
• Borders Textile Towerhouse: Through their vast interactive archive of photos and films this fascinating place takes a look at the history of stocking-makers, weavers, designers, dyers and finishers who made some of Scotland’s best-loved knitwear and tweed brands. You will also have a chance to see displays of vintage and contemporary fashions and photography, as well as current work on exhibit and for sale.
• After leaving Hawick we will make our way south into Cumbria and the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland where we will stay for the next 5 nights at The Royal Oak Inn, an 18th C. coaching inn.
• Breakfast and Dinner included in the tour.

Wednesday 24th June
Today is all about women who farm and the beautiful things they create from the fiber of their animals. Our stops include:
• Crookabeck Farm: We will meet Mary Bell at her 40 acre farm where she raises Herdwick sheep and a small flock of Angora goats for their fleece. That fleece is used in her woven rugs, scarves and wraps, mohair socks, and her natural and hand dyed yarns. She has a shop at the farm and also operates a Bed & Breakfast on this stunningly beautiful Lake District site.
• The Wool Clip: This 15 member cooperative was formed in 2001 and is located at Priest’s Mill in the town of Caldbeck. It is run by the artists who display their work there. Here is what they say about themselves: “We all have a thing about wool.  Between us, we grow it, sew it, spin, weave and dye it, knit, crochet and felt it, hook with it, tuft with it and stuff with it. Our work focuses on colour and creativity and our aim is to share our enthusiasm for all things woollen.”
• The Watermill Café is just across the courtyard from The Wool Clip and is a perfect spot to enjoy lunch and maybe a piece of their homemade cake.
• Penrith – we’ll spend a couple of hours exploring this busy market town. I’ll have a map for you with some fiber, textile, and food shops of particular interest.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Thursday 25th June
This day is dedicated to Beatrix Potter – her love of the Lake District, her famous ‘little books’, Beatrix as an amateur botanist, extraordinary artist, and farmer.  Our stops include:
• Hill Top Farm: This is the farm that Beatrix purchased in 1905 after the sale of her first book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. It was the source of inspiration for countless stories and memorable characters that populate her books. We will visit this beautiful spot in the village of Near Sawrey. Inside the house and out in the garden you will recognize many familiar scenes from her wonderfully illustrated books.
• Coniston Water: We are in for a treat! We will have a picnic lunch on the Steam Yacht Gondola as we sail on Coniston Water, the Lake District’s 3rd largest lake. The Gondola is the oldest steam yacht in the North of England, built in 1859 and fully restored, it is now owned by the National Trust. This beautiful craft was the inspiration for a houseboat in Arthur Ransome’s children’s book “Swallows and Amazons”.
• Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead: The gallery is housed in the 17th Century house that was the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, William Heelis. It offers us a chance to admire original drawings and watercolors by Beatrix Potter and to learn more about the life she created outside of her writing career. She was justly proud of her life as a farmer and conservationist, and was so instrumental in preserving the beauty of the Lake District that we are enjoying today.
• There will be time to explore Hawkshead after we finish at the Gallery.
• Breakfast & Lunch included in the tour.

Friday 26th June
Our stops today include:
• Long Meg and Her Daughters stone circle: We will start our day with a walk around this magical place. Considered by many to be one of the finest stone circles in the north of England, Long Meg dates from about 1500 BC and is the second biggest stone circle in the country. It is thought that the site may have been used as a meeting place for some form of religious ritual. Here is what William Wordsworth wrote about this magical place, ‘Next to Stonehenge it is beyond dispute the most notable relic that this or probably any other country contains.’
• Little Salkeld Watermill: This is a fully operational watermill producing stoneground organic flours by water power. It is a traditional 18th century corn mill, using the power of water to produce a range of flours. We will take a tour of the mill and meet the dedicated people who live and work at the mill. We’ll also enjoy lunch at their delightful tearoom famous for its delicious wholefood vegetarian cooking and baking, with everything made from organic ingredients.
• Farfield Mill: I love this restored, “rescued”, textile mill. It has been extensively refurbished and has been turned into an arts and heritage center that is alive with continuous workshops and demonstrations, exhibitions, working looms, and working artists.
• The George & Dragon: We’ll enjoy a great dinner at this 17th Century inn and pub.
• Breakfast & Dinner included in the tour.

Saturday 27th June
Woolfest: We will spend the day at Woolfest, now in its’ 11th year, organized by the great people from The Wool Clip – you’ll remember them from our visit there on Wednesday. It is a celebration of natural fibers and of all things wool, a day to enjoy demonstrations, hands-on experiences, sheep shearing, and learning more about rare breeds, local Cumbrian fell sheep breeds. Vendors and visitors will be there from all over the world. Get ready, the shopping will be great!
• Yanwath: We’ll enjoy another great dinner at this 17th Century inn that keeps winning awards for it’s  menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Sunday 28th June
Today we will head back north to Scotland and spend a good part of the day at New Lanark.
• We will stay for 2 nights in Paisley at Ashtree House Hotel.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Monday 29th June
Today our day will be spent in and near Glasgow in search of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Our stops include:
• Walking tour at the Glasgow School of Art, one of Mackintosh’s best known Glasgow buildings.
• Lunch at the fabulous House For an Art Lover, a project that was created from drawings that Mackintosh submitted for a design competition in 1900. The house was designed for a fictional client, and he and his wife collaborated to create a unique home complete with all interior furniture, artwork, and textiles used in it. House For an Art Lover was finally realized 90 years after Charles and Margaret submitted their drawings to the completion. Lunch is included in the tour.
• Visit to The Hill House in Helensburgh, considered by many to be Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece. He designed the house, furniture and fittings for his client, Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie and his family. Mackintosh’s wife Margaret designed and made many of the textiles and other features in the house.
• Breakfast and Lunch included in the tour.

Tuesday 30th June
Today we will enjoy a workshop with a quilter and a visit to a castle. Our stops include:
Gillian Cooper: This morning we will travel to Gillian’s home and studio in the town of Balfron where we will enjoy a fun and very creative hands-on workshop with her. Gillian is a quilter, dyer, writer and teacher who trained in the City & Guilds program in Patchwork and Quilting, and who now teaches their certificate and diploma course.  Her writing appears in The Quilter, Popular Patchwork, Embroidery, Patchwork & Quilting, and Fabrications magazines. There will be more details about our exciting workshop as it is finalized.
• Stirling Castle: We will explore the tapestry studio where the Unicorn Tapestry project was completed at the castle. Then we’ll tour the castle to see the chambers where the magnificent finished tapestries are now hanging. There will be time to see the rest of the castle as well as the grounds.
• We will then make our way to the town of Muthill and The Barley Bree, our home for the next 3 nights.
• Breakfast and Dinner included in the tour.

Wednesday 1st July
Today we will meet 2 women who are passionate about their work with Scottish textiles and fiber.
• Marion Foster: Marion is a very talented seamstress and heritage kilt maker who had the distinct honor of being commissioned to make little Prince George’s first kilt. At her beautiful, light filled Askival of Strathearn Studio we will meet someone who loves the process and is keen to pass on the tailoring skills and the history of the this iconic Scottish garment.
• Tracy Markey:  We will meet Tracy at her Lagom Felt Studio in the town of Crieff. The studio specializes in local, rare breed sheep fleece and Scottish alpaca fiber, grown and processed in Scotland. Tracy also stocks materials for other fiber art and craft interests including plenty of materials, supplies, equipment, books and magazines for felting, spinning, knitting, crochet and hand dyeing. You will find Tracy’s enthusiasm for all things felt and fiber to be utterly infectious.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Thursday 2nd July
Today we will visit:
• Basket maker Jane Wilkinson. Jane will demonstrate willow fence making, talk about her baskets and the boats she weaves called coracles.
Charlotte Flowers Chocolates: What a treat! We’ll visit Charlotte at her studio kitchen and taste her gorgeous chocolates. Her use of locally gathered plants, specialty Scottish ingredients, and locally produced whiskeys has created a unique and delicious line of seasonal chocolates.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Friday 3rd July
Leaving Muthill and the Barley Bree today. Our stops today include:
• Di Gilpin: In Largoward we will meet Scottish knitwear designer Di Gilpin at her Knitting Bothy. I know you will love Di and the ancient studio where she works. Some of her latest designs will be there as well as her own beautiful yarns.
• Pittenweem: We will head for this lovely and picturesque fishing village near St. Andrews. Here we will meet Scottish weaver Jan Shelley at her harbor side Weft Textile Studio. We will see Jan’s work and the work of her design students who are learning and developing skills in handweaving, woven tapestry, and hand-knitting.
• We’ll have lunch in Pittenweem then return to Edinburgh for the next 2 nights.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Saturday 4th July
We will travel a short distance today to the town of Roslin.
• Workshop with fiber artist Ali Ferguson: Ali describes herself as an artist exploring hand stitch. She uses an extensive range of materials in her work, everything from fabric to paper to wood to old linens. We meet Ali at her Purple Thread Shed studio for a chat about what inspires her, a look at her work, and we’ll enjoy a very creative hands-on workshop. There will be more details about the workshop as they are finalized.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

Sunday 5th July
Sadly, our tour ends today. After breakfast together we will all make our way to the airport or train station for flights home, or onward journeys.
• Breakfast included in the tour.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE ITINERARY FROM THE 2013 FIBER & FOOD LOVERS TOUR:
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• Thursday 3rd October
We’ll rendezvous at our hotel in London early afternoon. We’ll set out for a neighborhood walk and other light sightseeing to be determined. Early evening ‘getting to know you’ drinks and dinner and the chance for an early night. Overnight London for 2 nights. -Drinks included
• Friday 4th October
Our hotel will be within easy walking distance or short tube ride to the Victoria & Albert Museum  which calls itself “the world’s greatest museum of art and design”. Their vast collections of clothing, tapestries, lace, Arts and Crafts era textiles, decorative tiles and designs are really something to behold. This morning we will enjoy one of their special tours. Afternoon will be at your leisure. -Breakfast included
• Saturday 5th October
By taxi to Kings Cross for a fast train to Birmingham. Our driver guide will pick us up and take us for a special tour at Beckford Silk. Lunch will be at their cafe. Overnight in Chipping Campden for the next 3 nights. -Breakfast & Lunch included
• Sunday 6th October
Chipping Campden is famous for its associations with the Cotswolds Arts and Crafts Movement. A local guide will bring that story to life with a guided walk through the town finishing at the Old Silk Mill where we will rub shoulders with local artists and master craftsmen and women.  Spend the afternoon at the Arts and Crafts garden at Hidcote Manor where we will enjoy English Afternoon Tea. -Breakfast & English Afternoon Tea included
• Monday 7th October
Head for Woodstock and visit to Blenheim Palace , birthplace of Winston Churchill, where we will tour the home and enjoy seeing the amazing tapestries in the State Rooms. Leisurely drive afterwards with a stop at Cotswold Woollen Weavers in the village of Filkins, where we’ll catch a glimpse of how sheep and the wool industry created this lovely Cotswold region. Then back to Chipping Campden for your final night there. -Breakfast included
• Tuesday 8th October
Leave Chipping Campden we will make our way to Hay–on–Wye, the town famous for it’s many secondhand and antiquarian book stores. We’ll have lunch and a few hours of exploring the book and antique shops, as well as local craft cooperatives and yarn shops. Afternoon we’ll move to Llandovery for 2 nights. -Breakfast & Dinner included
• Wednesday 9th October
Visit to Welsh quilt expert Jen Jones with a private tour of her charming shop in Llanybydder, which holds hundreds upon hundreds of luscious quilts and blankets. Afterwards we will head for Jen’s brainchild, the Welsh Quilt Centre in the village of Lampeter. We will marvel at the exhibition of Kaffe Fassett’s quilts, on display for the first time in Wales. -Breakfast included
• Thursday 10th October
Leaving Llandovery and making our way to Usk for a visit with basketmaker and fiber artist Susie Vaughan. Susie is a basketmaker who finds the most vibrant colors in natural materials and weaves them all into her gorgeous hedgerow baskets. We will meet Susie at her home, see her baskets, and her garden where she grows some of the colorful willows that she uses in her work. She’ll take us into her studio and talk about how she gathers materials, and show us her work with baskets and felt.. This will be such fun! After we leave Susie we will continue on back to London. -Breakfast included
• Friday 11th October
Morning visit to the Royal School of Needlework. Afternoon will be set aside for a tour of some of my favorite shops that specialize in all things fabric, ribbons & trims, yarn, buttons, and a jewel of a chocolate shop. Get ready to have fun exploring some of the riches that London holds for all of us who share these interests. -Breakfast included
• Saturday 12th October
Today we attend the Knitting & Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace in London. This event is a fabulous gathering of excitement and learning for anyone who is interested in quilting, knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, and a whole range of other fiber, textile, and mixed media arts. It offers the opportunity to view galleries of quilts by noted artists and a selection of pieces from The Festival of Quilts, which takes place in Birmingham, England earlier in the year. There are workshops, talks, and hands on classes to take. It also offers an amazing shopping experience with over 300 vendors offering everything from fabrics, to threads, to beads, to buttons, to yarns, and everything in between. -Breakfast included
• Sunday 13th October
Another day at the Knitting and Stitching Show, or if you want to plan another activity it will be your day at leisure. We’ll meet back at our hotel and make our way to a specially selected London pub for a last dinner together, sharing stories and celebrating new friends and adventures! -Breakfast & Dinner included
• Monday 14th October
The tour will be at an end after breakfast. Travel independently to the airport for the return flights home. If you’re not ready to go home yet London is a great jumping off point for travel to the rest of the UK, or how about catching the Channel Tunnel (The Chunnel) and you can be in Paris in 2 hours! -Breakfast included

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COST of THE TOUR WAS: $4290.00 plus air, based on double occupancy.
Here’s what the price included:
• All accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels
• Breakfasts everyday
• “Welcome” drinks on the first night of the tour
• One lunch, English Afternoon Tea at Hidcote Manor, and 2 dinners
• All travel within the UK as specified in the itinerary
• Admissions to museums and events according to the published program
• Taxes and service charges for all included services
• Packet of information and maps
• Costs of planning and administration of the tour
• A few surprises along the tour!

NOT INCLUDED:
• Your flights to and from the UK
• Airport transfers
• Travel insurance (strongly advised!)
• Any meals not mentioned above
• Your own personal expenses