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Karelia House

Karelia House

Karelia is the unlikely but very individualistic name of a treasure trove of fabrics, knitting wool, every item for lovers of crafting you can imagine, as well as state of the art sewing machines which will almost perform an embroidery dance for you – and then there are cakes!

Knit, love, sew, is one of their mottos.

And if running up an embroidered pink bridesmaid’s dress before breakfast is also your desire, look no further. Maybe avoid munching a nearby slab of chocolate cake til you finish?

Creator and general all round dynamo Shirley Shearer wisely seized the space originally devoted to selling wood burners and underfloor heating to offer those hungry for crafters and goodies an oasis.

Think ‘Little House on the Prairie’ with wafts of baking enveloping the space, and a substantial log burner keeping any wintertime chill at bay.

Shirley has never looked back, and this off the beaten track treasure house now attracts folk from far and wide, emerging as a cosy honeypot. Shirley and daughter Sam are the ultimate ‘can do’ers’ and inspirational. Karelia is chock full of fabrics to run under the sewing machine or by hand, balls of wool to knit up for an impending storm, or even a cosy evening by the fire, quilts to piece together – it’s the cakes, cosy soups and general atmosphere that attracts bus loads of crafter people, as well as the local cognoscenti who enter the portals of this giant log cabin for tea, coffee, classes and much much more.

Scandinavian this might well be, but the fashionable mutes colours we associate with this style today it is most certainly not. Stacked shelves of wools, cottons, plus mini towers of threads, zips and ribbons makes you feel I so you’ve popped up, like Alice in Wonderland, within the interior of a kaleidoscope. You might suppose the riot of colours outshine the decoration on the cakes.  Certainly not, and they a kaleidoscope of flavors too.

The Ecclefechan cake (don’t try saying this with a mouthful) was  daintily decorated like a square of quilting fabric, eating it was equally rewarding, and although messy Nessie  could have soured the happy atmosphere by adopting a mournful expression, perhaps owing to the absence of the handsome resident Basset Hound, Clive. Shirley and her daughter Sam or obligingly made a big fuss of her and all was forgiven.

Karelia is friendly! Cake friendly, dog friendly and super crafty friendly. For many this is paradise in Perthshire in yet another guise.  For others visitors just accompanying the crafter, just eat the cake, pack up another slice to take away, admire the wide open fields framed by the colorful rowans which framed the view when we visited, and which are as varied as the fabrics within.

PS Karelia and Shirley also came up trumps during COVID lockdown. I needed about half a mile of elastic and many, many miles of thread for our volunteers to sew up scrubs for our local care home. Shirley unhesitatingly stripped the shelves bare of suitable elastic and thread and left the bag on the gatepost for collection. What a star!

Recommended Nearby:

Bolfracks Garden

A glorious sloping garden surrounding the white castellated old factors house for the Taymouth estate, aggrandized in the 19th century is on the road between Kenmore to Aberfeldy. Look out for the special heartwarming small children’s Playhouse, usually with child sized tea service set inside.

Hidden and Secret Places

Not to miss is the wonderful Fortingall church and model village, many houses of which have thatched roofs, unusual in Scotland.  Snuggled close to the church is the famous and ancient Fortingall yew.  Many a story is attached to this tree, one of which is that Judas Iscariot was born here, the son of a Roman soldier. Highly unlikely owing to the difference in time frame, yet but one of the legends surrounding this tree, one of the oldest in Europe.

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