Following on from the first in our Meet the Maker series, we’re delighted to introduce you to Pauline.

Pauline started her training at ReTweed in January this year following a period of ill-health which had knocked her confidence. She then joined our business incubator and plans to set up her own creative business. Here’s Pauline in her own words.

Tell us about your training with ReTweed

Getting a place on the training course to learn something new and be creative was such a huge deal. ReTweed has the most supportive and empowering environment I have experienced – it’s incredible and I feel very lucky to be part of it.

Pauline perfecting her fine appliqué work.

What are you most looking forward to as a budding entrepreneur with ReTweed?

Social and environmental justice are really important to me so I’m looking forward to being able to create products that will make a difference to the lives of other women as well as having a positive impact on our environment.

How long have you been sewing?

Until I joined ReTweed, I had only sewn a few cross-stitch kits but I loved knitting and dabbled in a bit of crochet. My gran taught me to crochet granny squares when I was a child – I’m not great at crocheting but whenever I pick up a hook I think about her – she was quite a character! Getting to grips with a sewing machine has been a revelation – although knitting is really therapeutic for me it can take a while before you finish an item whereas sewing gives you an almost instant buzz of being able to create something so quickly.

Tell us what you enjoy most when working with textiles

For someone who usually wears all black, I’ve discovered I’m pretty good at putting colours together and really enjoy matching fabrics and doing applique. My favourite moment from the training course was learning to put piping on a cushion as it gave a really professional look, it made me think that I could actually take up sewing as a job. I’m having a love/hate relationship with the overlocker – it is such an amazing machine being able to finish off hems and cut at the same time but I am still getting to know it. I spend more time threading it than actually sewing – there is also a lot of time swearing at it and having coffee breaks to calm down but I’ll get there in the end!

What type of fabrics do you like to work with?

I love working with natural fibres such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo – apart from the fact that they feel so much nicer on the skin, they are much better in terms of environmental impact than their synthetic counterparts.

I love this ‘finches’ Bordersbag. The rich red background with the tree and bird print just looks great – it works perfectly as a bag – fab for holding my knitting and books.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I always find nature awe-inspiring, whether it’s the colour from autumnal trees, the textures in the woodland floor, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks or the smell of newly-cut grass – there is so much around us in the Scottish Borders to get the senses going – I just have to remind myself to stop and take the time to be inspired.

Tell us more about living in the Borders

I live in Longformacus. Its incredibly beautiful, a very special place. This summer we found a woodland close to home that had an abundance of chanterelle mushrooms – we made really tasty risotto and fed the family for under a quid! Nothing beats the Lammermuirs on a sunny day, the view is spectacular, you can see for miles. But when the snow comes you realise why it gets called God forsake us!

The best way to spend a day in the Borders?

The Berwickshire coast is pretty awesome so think it would have to be a trip to St Abb’s to keep the kids happy Thor spotting, the national nature reserve (say hi to Ceris who is a ranger there until October!). Then head to the Rialto in Eyemouth for a coconut flat white with a big slice of homemade cake for lunch, across the road to check out the latest makes at ReTweed then on to the beach to let the kids tire themselves out for a couple of hours before fish and chips from MacKays finished off with ice cream from Giacopazzi’s.

Share a top tip with us

Learn to love your stitch unpicker and take it everywhere with you!


This blog post was written by Melanie Thomson – ReTweed Marketing Volunteer