Old Maiden Aunt Yarns

Studio 30. Ritchie Street. West Kilbride. KA23 9AL. Scotland. info@oldmaidenaunt.com

coming home – behind the scenes with jules

here’s another peek behind the scenes at the Coming Home photoshoot, this time with our lovely model Jules! Jules is better known as Woollenflower, and spends her time creating lovely tweed pouches and hand-dyeing gorgeous yarns using natural dyes. she’s not a professional model, but when i thought of the “look” i wanted for the book, Jules came immediately to mind – naturally beautiful, not over-styled, and completely at home in the scottish landscape. if you’ve already seen some of the photos from the book, you’d be surprised to learn that she’s very camera-shy, but luckily she allowed herself to be persuaded to be photographed for the book – and the results are just stunning.


Last June an email from Lilith dropped into my inbox about the making of a book to celebrate the tenth year of her business. I was super excited for her but, as I opened the email, wondered why she was contacting me about it… We are friends and have had some lovely chats about dyeing and running a small business but I didn’t know what I might have to offer such a project… and then she came to it- would I act as her pattern model for the book?


I have to say, my gut clenched slightly as I read this and the rest of the email! As any regular readers will know, I very rarely post photos of myself, either here on or on my Instagram feed, and get very nervous standing up in front of a group to talk or teach. I push myself on this because part of my job is teaching and I love sharing skills but it is an ongoing challenge for me! When it comes down to it, I’ve realised that it’s not that I’m particularly camera-shy but more that having everyones’s eyes on me provokes real anxiety for me… and I knew that taking this on would challenge all that. (And, let’s be honest, challenge my vanity too!)


But I really wanted to be part of such an amazing project! And to have the chance to work with not only Lilith and Jeni (who knows my deal and, over the course of photographing a few patterns for me, has worked out how to put me at ease!) but all the other amazing women who had gathered around Lilith for the project: designers Anna Maltz, Ysolda Teague, Kristen Kapur, Rachel Coopey, Lorna Reid, Felix Ford and Bristol Ivy, essayist Clara Parkes and book-makers Amelia Hodson and Nic Vowles… How often do so many talented women come together?! I feel so lucky to be able to have a small business, to be able to make my own work and shape my year as I like, but I really do miss working with other people and these kinds of collaborations are becoming more and more important to me… did I really want to let my own thoughts of whether I looked ridiculous get in the way of being part of this wonderful undertaking?!


Lilith reassured me that she was after a very relaxed look for the book and, as I thought about it, I began to trust that, if Jeni thought she could get what she needed from me, I’d take the leap and see it as a chance to explore and learn- and, after all, a weekend in a cottage in the forests of Dumfries with friends and a dog was a major enticement…


Lilith, Amelia and Jeni all did a beautiful job at putting me at ease, making me laugh in between shots and discreetly looking the other way when I was trying to relax my face out of a grimace! It was a joy to work with them and I think we were all aware just how rare that kind of time is, to be working with friends and colleagues in such a beautiful setting and on such a heartfelt project.


Lilith realising I really didn't have any idea how to put on my own makeup - © Jeni Reid

Lilith realising I really didn’t have any idea how to put on my own makeup – © Jeni Reid




Amelia working her production editor magic in the Dumfries woods - © Jeni Reid

Amelia working her production editor magic in the Dumfries woods – © Jeni Reid




Lilith giving me a lesson on how not to look ridiculous leaning against a tree - © Jeni Reid

Lilith giving me a lesson on how not to look ridiculous leaning against a tree – © Jeni Reid




And I’m so glad I did take that leap. So often we hold back from doing things because of the anticipation of things going somehow horribly wrong and this is the perfect example of that… and yet such a huge amount of joy was had that weekend (and since) that all that anxiety has faded into the background! And look at the beautiful shots that Jeni made:


Felix's Mountain Time mitts and flowering quinces - © Jeni Reid

Felix’s Mountain Time mitts and flowering quinces – © Jeni Reid




The perfect setting for Anna's beautiful Bounnet - © Jeni Reid

The perfect setting for Anna’s beautiful Bounnet – © Jeni Reid




All the colours in the landscape picked up in Ysolda's Inchgarvie shawl - © Jeni Reid

All the colours in the landscape picked up in Ysolda’s Inchgarvie shawl – © Jeni Reid




Bristol Ivy's beautiful work made me feel like I was on a shoot for a Rowan magazine! - © Jeni Reid

Bristol Ivy’s beautiful work made me feel like I was on a shoot for a Rowan magazine! – © Jeni Reid




It’s a real beauty of a book and I’m so pleased to have played a small role in its making - thank you so much, Lilith, for including me in this lovely group of women and huge congratulations on 10 years!


thank you Jules for being such an amazing person to work with! what Jules hasn’t mentioned is that the weather that weekend (particularly the second day) was NOT cooperating, and we all came down with awful colds, but poor Jules was still modelling away like a trouper through the wind & rain, most of the time wearing only a beautiful linen dress, a gorgeous knitwear sample, and some carefully concealed thermal under-layers!! she did such an incredible job and the book wouldn’t look half as gorgeous without her.


the book is available for pre-order in the web shop, and i’ll have loads of copies for sale at Edinburgh Yarn Fest this weekend. and if you’re coming the EYF, don’t forget to play Coming Home bingo for some exciting prizes…..


One Response so far.

  1. Claudia Horner says:

    Your beautiful book arrived yesterday in my mail box and it is just delicious! Thank you. I want to knit everything in it, and perhaps eat cake! Claudia

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