Crafting locally update

This is a follow up to the  Crafting Locally post from OctoberI am part of a local crafting co-operative, Lauder Trading Post, and we hoped to run a shop (The Smiddy) and craft workshops and events from Lauder Leisure Centre. Unfortunately, it turned out that Lauder Leisure Centre were not in a position to be able to rent The Smiddy to us at that time, so we had to look elsewhere for premises. At the same time, we found out we did not get the grant from Royal Bank of Scotland, despite all the great people who voted for us – thanks so much for all your support anyway. It was quite a low point for us, but things soon picked up. We came to an agreement with Scottish Borders Council to take on the running of Lauder Public Hall in return for a reasonable rental rate for the meeting room in the hall. We also got a small operational grant from the eco company Vegware, which gave us a bit of a financial cushion to relaunch Lauder Trading Post activities in January in Lauder Public Hall.

We had a recycle/upcycle theme for the start of the year, and our launch event in the hall was the Big Brunch, serving reasonably priced food, kids craft activities and examples of our upcycled crafting. Amanda Cunningham, Lara Armitage and Elsa Strullu (our newest committee/trading member) made these lovely upcycled spoon pendants:

Upcycled spoon jewellery

and Janet Armstrong covered tins with her hand felted fabric. The teacup candle was made by me, and I was also demonstrating how to crochet with yarn made from strips of carrier bags (plarn) as I greeted our visitors to the hall:

Crocheting with Plarn

I further developed these into a workshop to make a basket or a doormat from plarn which I ran later in January:

Plarn Doormat   Plarn basket

Here I am explaining upcycling to one of our visitors:

Explaining upcycling

It was a very popular event:

Big Brunch - January

I love this crazy photo of me struggling to open a bottle top:

Struggling to open bottle top

This is the entrance to the hall, it’s in The Avenue, just off the main Lauder high street:

Lauder Public Hall

Beautifully decorated with Anne Lyal’s bunting, which she sells in our new shop that we created in the meeting room; she also rents out her bunting: This is Anne and I chatting at the Big Brunch (I’m eating porridge, and yet again pulling a funny face!):

Anne Lyal and Ruth

Anne runs our sewing workshops, and recently ran some very popular workshops to make roman blinds. Here is some more of her bunting in the shop, she also sells Kindle, phone and laptop bags, and all sorts of other sewn goodies:

Lauder Trading Post shop

The paper crane mobiles are made by Lara Armitage, she also makes picture frames covered with Japanese origami paper; and her main role for us is as the Queen of kids crafting! She has provided a new and exciting kids crafting activity every Tuesday 4-5pm, since we relaunched in January:

Space Odyssey - kids crafting

Everyone has a lot of fun! This was our recent Easter activity:

Easter kids crafting event

She has also been running free open crafting sessions Tuesday lunchtimes 12-1pm for adults, with colouring in available to occupy children, so the grown ups can have some fun too. This was Lara’s display for the open crafting seaglass activity, which was expanded to the kids activity later in the day:

Seaglass - open crafting and kids crafting

I’ve recently been joining Lara Tuesday lunchtimes, making some screen printing stencils.

Tuesdays are a busy day at the hall: Amanda Cunningham and Amanda Jordan are running a Community Lunch Club from 11-2pm, providing reasonably priced lunches from local produce. Amanda is the instigator of Lauder Trading Post, and puts in more volunteer hours that I would like to count, and is a real positive driving force. She cooks good too:

Amanda Cunningham in kitchen

She will be making chutneys and jams to sell in the shop. She also runs a Song and Storytime session for under 5s on Tuesdays, 10-11am. The other Amanda –

Amanda Jordan in kitchen

Amanda Jordan is a trained Patisserie chef – she cooks REALLY good. She has a cake decorating business –, she has run popular cake decorating workshops for us, and recently, some extremely popular chocolate making workshops:

Chocolate making and gift wrapping workshop

Anne Lyal accompanied Amanda for this Mother’s Day workshop;  Anne showed everyone how to make gorgeous gift boxes for their chocolates. Amanda will also be selling handmade chocolates and sugarcraft cake decorations in the shop.

Adrienne MacNeil makes lovely crystal cut and glass bead jewellery for our shop:

Adrienne MacNeil's jewellery

She has recently branched out into iridescent dichroic glass jewellery (the cufflinks in the photo). She also makes wire wall sculptures. She helps organise and run our events, and has been recently working towards the Vintage Wedding Fair we are holding on Saturday 9th June. She’s been making some elegant beaded tiaras aimed at this event, which are also available in the shop.

Janet Armstrong makes a number of textile crafts for the shop, and her main love is felting. These felted, appliqued and machine embroidered cushions have been popular:

Janet's felted and appliqued cushion

Her designs are based on photographs, and she can tell you where the view is located. She runs our Felting workshops held every 3rd Tuesday evening 7-9pm. Janet taught me how do do dry/needle felting, and I’ve recently been along to one of her workshops and she has taught me wet felting. This is a photo from her recent felted jewellery workshop:

Felted Jewellery workshop

This was made by someone on the workshop, not by Janet herself, so it shows what lovely things you can make with her.

So I expect you’d like to see what I have in the shop:

My felted butterflies

These have a crocodile clip on the back to they can be clipped on to curtains, bookcases etc around the home. I also have a selection of greetings cards with photos of the Felty Folk from my blog; I will be setting up an Etsy shop soon to sell these online too. I have made soy candles in vintage teacups:

Teacup candles

And I’m just bringing out handknitted cotton leaf shapes for coasters, which will be on sale in the shop soon.

The knitting and crochet workshops I was running before, have been re-branded as A Good Yarn. I run a drop in session every 2nd and 4th Tuesday in the month from 7.30-9.30pm, it’s held in the shop and is a relaxed session where we bring along our knitting or crochet, and have a cuppa and a natter. I’m also there to help and give advice on knitting and crochet. I’ve been running some workshops on a Tuesday night, which I’m now rolling out to other days of the week. I held a circular knitting workshop, to get people trying out the techniques of using double pointed needles or circular needles magic loop technique to knit in the round and make these ribbed wristwarmers:

Ribbed Wristwarmers

These are adapted from this free pattern – Voodoo, if you already know the technique, you can use this; if not, come along the next time I run the workshop.

Most recently I taught a cable knitting workshop, and created my own patterns and tutorials to accompany the workshop:

Cable cafetiere cosy    Cable teacosy

I will be running the workshop again soon, and the patterns will eventually be available free online.

The other regular event Lauder Trading Post has been running is the Film and Supper Club, held in the hall once a month on a Friday evening. We show a variety of popular films, and some not so well known. Recently we screened the film The Butterfly Tattoo, from the book by Philip Pullman, we showed this because the screenwriter, Stephen Potts, lives in Lauder, and it was a great opportunity to pick his brains about the filmmaking/screen writing process. Here is Stephen Potts answering our questions:

Butterfly Tattoo Film and Supper Club

Stephen has kindly introduced and given a “potted” history of all the films we have screened so far. These nights have been popular, and a welcome good night out in a small village. As you can see we have been having fun – this is from the screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

Breakfast at Tiffanys Film and Supper Club

Looking like Audrey Hepburn was optional, and we provided canapes and Cava to help the mood along.

There has been recent good news – we have been given a grant-funded part-time trainee administrator on a 6 month placement, to help sort out our paperwork and leave us free to organise more events and get on with our creating – this was organised by the Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber, who have been so helpful and supportive to us. We have also just secured a significant grant from Awards for All to expand our workshop schedule, and extend to be more inclusive to all the community, and to keep the whole thing running. Lauder Trading Post is run voluntarily by our Trading/Committee members, we have put in hours and hours of unpaid time to get this working and keep it going. We get paid for running workshops, and get a percentage from the sales of our hand made crafts in the shop. We also have other volunteers helping us out, for which we are grateful. Notably, graphic designer, Sarah Woodbury has rebranded us, and produces great posters for us:

Lauder Trading Post Posters

Also great thanks to our long-suffering and abandoned husbands, children, and friends.

Find us on Facebook: Lauder Trading Post Community
and Twitter: @LauderTrading
or email us to go on our mailing list for all our latest news and current workshop and event schedules info (dot) laudertradingpost (at) gmail (dot) com

Unfortunately, I have overdone it a bit with my volunteering, and this has made my M.E./CFS worse – it doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a control freak, and find it hard to not get involved in activities. As my regular readers will have noticed, my blog posts have been quite sporadic recently, this has been due to lack of time and energy, due to the amount of this I have been putting into Lauder Trading Post. I have had to pull back a bit to recover my health and equilibrium: I am just doing my A Good Yarn – drop in evenings, and repeating any workshops I have already created, but am doing less organising and events; this will give me time to catch up with my blog posts and create more designs for knitting patterns.



  1. Wow! – what a lot you have done at Lauder Trading Post! – hope to make it over one day from Berwick to see some of the stuff you have going on.

  2. Wow! – what a lot of things you are doing at Lauder Trading Post! Hope to make it over some time from Berwick to see some of this activity in action.

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