Scotland in Stitches and Alexander McCall Smith

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The beautiful and moving Iolaire panel from The Great Tapestry of Scotland is currently exhibited in the Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway as one part of a commemorative exhibition marking the centenary of the loss of the Iolaire.

The naval yacht Iolaire was carrying home hundreds of sailors after the end of World War One. The vessel was wrecked on a reef called the Beasts of Holm near Stornoway, and more than 200 men died. This tragic loss of life right at the end of the war caused unbearable heartbreak for the islanders who were preparing to welcome home loved ones.

The exhibition including this panel opened on 2 October in Stornoway’s Museum nan Eilean. It will run until 27 April 2019.

The panel commemorating the loss of the Iolaire was stitched during 2012 and 2013 in Harris and South Uist by Tracey MacLeod, Moira MacPherson, and Gillian Scott-Forest.

Jan Rutherford, Project Director for The Great Tapestry of Scotland commented, “The trustees were deeply moved to know that the Iolaire panel from The Great Tapestry of Scotland is to be displayed at the heart of this exhibition at Museum nan Eilean to commemorate the disaster.

“The work of the artist Andrew Crummy and the stitchers who created this hauntingly beautiful panel has brought the Iolaire back to the attention of an international audience who had perhaps lost sight of this moment in history over the years.”

The loan of the panel forms part of a wider effort both this year and next to mark 100 years since the disaster.



The Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition in New Lanark has now closed.

The exhibition opened on 18 May 2018 and will ran through to 1 July 2018

For the first time ever, ALL of the panels from The Great Tapestry of Scotland (including the Rosslyn panel) were exhibited alongside photography showcasing the volunteer stitchers and the magnitude of work undertaken by them and the full project team to create the 143 metre long masterpiece.

The exhibition also included original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

The Great Tapestry is now back in storage with just one panel out on display. The Iolaire panel is on display on the island of Lewis as part of their exhibition to commemorate the sinking of the Iolaire.