Things are Happening

In 2018, I was privileged to visit the Seventh Continent, Antarctica. We joined about 95 other people on an excursion that left Ushuaia, Argentina on a cloudy summer afternoon and arrived in Antarctic two days later.

The difference was stark. The landscape so beautiful in both places. But Antarctica stole the show.

The majesty and purity of the land made me and my fellow passengers feel insignificant. We realized that we were only visitors. This land was not ours, it belonged to the seals and whale and penguins who survived it winters and feasted in its summers.

That was the start of the Edward Bransfield Commemorative tartan. It was named for the Irishman that discovered that beautiful and hostile land. I took the black/blue waters, the neon blue icebergs, the pure white snow and ice, added a touch of the orange lichen and the green moss, threw in a bit of black and red for the penguins and their rookeries and wove it into fabric. The colors came together in a startling way. They blended just as the dark ocean blended with the iridescent iceberg. They let the lichen and the moss peek out from the harshness of its landscape. And the entire pattern brought me back to that first day that I saw Antarctica.

What had been a weaving project began to morph. Friends and family wanted a scarf. Then a friend BOUGHT one. Actually bought one!

I found a mill that would make the scarf commercially. But not commercially. Cushendale Woollen Mills has been owned and operated by the same family since the 1700’s. It is in its sixth generation. They are craftsmen and women. They believe in the art of Irish wool. And they were excited to make scarves in a tartan that honored and Irishman.

The scarves they made brought Penguin Designs to the internet. This week the website opened for business. The handwoven and Irish made scarfs look great in the layout.

But it needed more. Today Cushendale Woollen Mills put the threads on the loom that will make the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan BLANKETS!!!!

They will be ready in the next couple of weeks.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a trip to a cold, inhospitable place would result in a new direction in my life. But it did.

And in these times of sickness and fear, I hang onto the hope that new adventures bring.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay warm.

Categories: UncategorizedTags: , , ,


  1. Amazing story Gail! Just keeps getting better.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Dear Gael you’ve penned your article superbly (I think you spent some time effort here), I adored your photos, and I’m absolutely thrilled for you, and of course here I am shedding tears of joy for you… oh damn, more tissues.. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ’™πŸŒπŸ§πŸ³

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The tartan is beautiful, Gael. I hope the next stage in your adventure is huge sales!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I have written and told the story so much that it is finally being reduced to its fundamentals! Thank you!! Check out It is an international site. (hint, hint)


  5. Thank you, Clive! Check out It is an international site. (hint, hint!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I looked the other day – it was out of stock!


  7. The lambswool is in stock. The others are made to order. I will check the site. Glad you let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok, I’m just awake, it’s 6.50am. I’ll check it out soon. πŸ’™πŸŒ


  9. I would love to visit Antarctica: it’s a place that fires my imagination. How wonderful that your trip inspired an artesanal creative adventure: the tartan looks fantastic!


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