Wemyss School of Needlework part 1

I saved the best of my trip to Scotland for last, and it will probably take a couple of posts to get it all out!

When I knew I was going to Scotland (with husband for his work), I immediately began searching for needlework, and the Wemyss School of Needlework came up. On the map it looked a lot closer to Edinburgh! In actuality it was about 1 1/2 hours away by bus. But I decided I had to try to get there.

I called the school to see if I could set up a private class with one of the tutors, since they had no classes scheduled for when I was there. And, I confirmed that Wednesdays were “free stitching” days – everyone brings their projects and stitches together. If nothing else, I could do that.

So I did some investigating for how to get there, and discovered that a bus left from right in front of my hotel and stopped right in front of the school. Problem solved! I set up a private class for the first Wednesday I was in Scotland. I didn’t care which technique, I just wanted to go to the school and do anything!

So I headed out on Wednesday morning, bought a day ticket to Wemyss, and settled in to enjoy the beautiful countryside as I left Edinburgh. The bus driver was quite helpful; he pointed out that a day ticket was the least expensive option, and saved me a few pounds! The bus headed over the Firth of Forth with its beautiful bridges and into the Scottish countryside.

Wemyss is a very small town. And one of the first things I learned was that I was pronouncing it wrong. My husband and I were at dinner one night (Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh!) and one of his co-workers in the Edinburgh office just happened to sit at the table next to us. We started chatting, and discovered that she was actually from the area, and was able to correct my pronunciation so I didn’t embarrass myself too badly at the school! Just so you know, it’s pronounced “Weems”, and I was adding an extra syllable, saying “Weemus”. Glad we got that sorted out!


The school is in a very old building, on the grounds of the Wemyss Castle. The school was inspired by the Royal School of Needlework in London, but with the aim of teaching an employable skill to the local girls so they could earn a living. The current headmistress of the school is Fiona Wemyss, carrying on the tradition of the school.

Inside the school several samplers and other examples of stitching are on display. I was fascinated by a beaded wedding gown on a mannequin – so tiny! It’s worth a visit just to see the examples of stitching on display.

So I arrived shortly after 10 a.m., stitching supplies in hand, and met two of the volunteers, Linda and Fiona. We were soon joined by several local stitchers who had brought their projects to stitch, and after a little coffee or tea we got to work. The stitching room is very nicely appointed, a huge table covered in green wool, with stitching lamps at every chair and several Lowry stands available for use.

I also met Sheila, one of the team members. Sheila was celebrating her birthday, and one of the local stitchers brought cakes to share! So after stitching a bit longer, we broke to enjoy cake and coffee or tea again. It’s pretty much like stitching with my local group, lots of laughter and chatter, sharing of projects and hints, just fun.

It turns out my email confirming my private class was never received, so I had to plan to return the next week. Oh darn! Rats! I had to go to the school twice while I was in Scotland. Horrible! Of course I hope you realize I’m being facetious! It was wonderful, and I could have happily spent several days in Wemyss with the lovely stitchers I met there.

More about the class in the next post!

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