Scotland – home of whiskey, wool, weaving, and….Retinal scanners!

In November 2012, Bill and I were invited to the factory where the Optomap retinal scanner was designed and is now produced. Unexpectedly, we were invited to go back this year! So, Bill and I are heading to Edinburgh again.  The Optomap technology is revolutionizing our retinal practice, and we look forward to sharing experiences with colleagues so that we can maximize the benefit of the scans for our patients. The Optomap is a gamechanger for diagnosing and treating retinal disease.  This is the first time that doctors (and patients) have been able to see most of the retina all at once.  There is a lot to learn about what to do with the enormous amount of information now available.  It is very exciting, if you are an eye doctor!

While we were in 2012, we explored the The National Museum of Scotland where I was delighted to find  wonderful textile exhibits.

Scotland is known for wool, and tartan cloth.  Their weaving history is justly recognized as being unique and rich.  I am very new to weaving, but have come to have an appreciation for the complexity of the process, and the need for lots and lots of tools.  Obviously, knitting is a more portable craft, but weaving is ridiculous.  I’m a beginning weaver, and I have already filled a room with stuff. Considering how inexperienced I am, it was interesting to see tools in a museum which looked very familiar.  Knitting tools have changed enormously in the past 200 years, in design and materials used. In contrast, weaving is a very stable craft.  We have metal heddles now, instead of hand-tied string.  Other than that, I didn’t see many changes.  The complexity and quality of the cloth was pretty dazzling to someone who has trouble keeping her selvedges even.  The exhibit was very inspirational.

Weaving shuttles from National Museum of Scotland

Museum description of exhibit

Tartan being woven on an old commercial loom. The heddles are hand-tied linen thread.

Stone weight to control tension. They meant business!

How is this for a bobbin winder?


















Last year we stayed in Edinburgh on our days off, so this year we are renting a car and venturing out into the countryside.  Bill will be the driver, so I am taking plenty of knitting to keep me busy in the car.  I’m taking the Duxbury pullover, and 3 shawl/scarf projects of varying complexity, for whatever mood I am in.  In a Scottish frame of mind, I packed 2 Alice Starmore cardigans to wear.  The Oregon Cardigan, and Maidenhair.

You can see that I’m all set for a wonderful trip!  I’ll be sure to post about our adventures.


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