It’s never the way you remember it……..

……is it, though. Never as good as you remembered it was – except if it was the 60’s and then you wouldn’t remember it anyway – although I have vague flashes of hedonistic times and sometimes still burst out laughing for no good reason – why is that, anyway….?

Anyhoo – back to the present! I was reading another Bloggers great post the other day and she mentioned Linton Tweeds in Carlisle and the glorious designer fabrics they make for prestigious fashion houses across the World. She had lovely photographs of the tweeds she had bought there – plums, pastels, neutrals, russets; embellished with cord, sequins, leather, glittery threads – sooooooo moreish they looked. ……and they ARE.

Display cases and racks tastefully filled with the softest tweed material in the most wonderful combinations of colourways fill the sales area:  just touching the fabric is a privilege and it is easy to see why Linton Tweed are top of their league and much sought-after by Chanel, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and others. For a small city like Carlisle to be a player amongst the big boys in the fashion industry is an honour and Linton Tweeds has stayed true to it’s ethics, keeping it’s business local and still making it big time globally.

We went all the way to Carlisle today (a round trip of 56 miles) just to visit the Mill and shop because I remember it from my student days – it is still situated in exactly the same spot as it was around 15 years ago, still has the same delicious coffee shop, still the helpful assistants working amongst the beautiful bolts of cloth – but, and this is a BIG but…….

It has lost something fundamental for me and I left the Mill with a sense of disappointment and a vague hankering for a past time where things were maybe not so streamline or sophisticated but where penniless students like myself could handle the finest quality fabric and perhaps cobble together their own Linton Tweed skirt – which the slimmer of us could probably still get into!

In those days you could pop round the back to the Mill itself and ask for a big black plastic bag of what they used to call ‘warp-ends’. you never knew what was inside the bags until you got your prize into the car park which was the furthest any of us ever got before ripping it open to see what glories were inside!

In the Shop itself there were little plastic bags called ‘Quilter’s Packs’ with perfectly cut squares of different fabrics inside – they were usually what was being manufactured at the time so if you bought up the whole basket you could even make a quilt as we did in my student flat one summer……

They still have the Remnant Bin of course with off-cuts – and lovely they are too – but the excitement has gone and it all feels a bit sanitised to me now – although I guess it’s what they call progress…….x


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