shop online

visit the studio

dyeing workshops


lang-legged beasties

visit my blog

lang-legged beasties

”fae ghosties & ghoulies & lang-legged beasties
& things that go bump in the nicht...
guid lord, deliver us”
(traditional scottish prayer)

for as long as i can remember, i’ve been fascinated with the myths & legends of scotland.  but as i read up on them, i discovered that most of the mythical creatures were pretty malevolent – ranging from the outright nasty through to tricky & cunning. the mythology of a culture  often seems to be deeply rooted in its landscape – and the bleak beauty of this country definitely lends itself to a lot of dark stories. 

                                                   baobhan sith
(wolf fur splashed with blood - black, brown & gray overlaid with rich red)
the baobhan sith is a scottish fairy vampire, a beautiful woman who preys on young travellers by night; many legends claim that she has the ability to transform into a wolf.  much like other vampires, she shuns sunlight, & uses her seductive powers to gain control over her victim – most of the time, she is able to drain the victim’s blood without him even noticing.  she preys mainly on young men, & uses sharp fingernails rather than fangs to draw blood – her male victims simply die, but if she does attack a woman, her victim will also become a vampire.  to prevent a baobhan sith from rising, a cairn must be built over her grave.

bean nighe
(a green dress drenched with river water - shades of green, blue, & teal)
bean nighe (also bean sidhe or banshee) is scots gaelic for “washerwoman” – she is described as a woman in a green dress, who stands by the river and washes the grave-clothes of those who are about to die. as she washes, she sings in a keening, otherworldly tone - the cry of the bean nighe is said to resemble the screeching of an owl.  she is an omen of death – if a traveller is unlucky enough to encounter a bean nighe, it is a sign that death is close at hand.  

far darrig
(the embers of a fire - orange & rust with an undertone of glowing yellow)
the far darrig (also fear dearg)  translates as “red man”, as the far darrig is said to wear a red coat & cap.  related to the leprechaun & clurichaun of irish folklore, he spends most of his time playing practical jokes on humans, & is especially fond of gruesome & horrible pranks.  if you are unlucky enough to encounter a far darrig, simply say “na dean maggadh fum” (do not mock me), that way you will avoid his tricks.  he is most active in winter, & likes nothing more than to warm himself beside a fire – he will often knock on the doors of human homes & ask to be let in.  if you do let him in to sit by your fire, beware – he will talk, & talk, & talk, and you may never get away….

ghillie dhu
(a long walk in the woods - layers of moss-green & brown)
a ghillie dhu (also gillie dubh, scots gaelic for dark-haired lad) is one of the scottish fairy folk (sidhe), a wild guardian of the forest with a preference for birch trees. small & slight with dark hair, he is usually described as wearing a coat made of moss & leaves.  the ghillie dhu is notoriously shy, and prefers to avoid contact with humans (although he has a soft spot for small children).  if you wander too far into his forest, the ghillie dhu might grab you in his long green arms, & you will never be heard from again…

leanan sidhe
(seduction & despair - magenta & purple with an underlay of pale blue)
the leanan sidhe is a beautiful, seductive fairy woman who takes a mortal as her lover – usually an artist, musician, or poet.  her presence in this person’s life endows them with amazing creative powers – she acts as their muse, inspiring them to tirelessly create incredible work, in exchange for their love & devotion.  unfortunately, this intense creativity comes at a price – the leanan sidhe feeds off her lover, gradually draining him of life.  anyone who falls prey to the leanan sidhe will have a brief but passionately creative life. 

(wet seal skin & salt water - brown, gray, & blue)
a selkie (also silkie or selchie) is a seal who can shed their skin & transform into a human.  in their human form, selkies are extremely beautiful, & often shed their seal form temporarily to come to land & take human lovers.  in some stories, the human does not know that their lover is a selkie, & simply wakes one day to find them gone; in others, the human steals the selkie's skin, preventing them from returning to their seal form & trapping them on land.  if the selkie is able to find its skin again, it will immediately abandon its life on land & return to the sea.  some legends paint them as dark & vengeful creatures, raising storms to drown sailors & fishermen as retribution for the slaughter of seals & the destruction of ocean life.


all of these colourways will be available in several different bases in the Old Maiden Aunt shop, but depending on demand, they may not all be available all at once!  (please note that the photos on this page are all taken using the 100% superwash merino 4ply base, and that the different fibre content of the other base yarns will mean that the colourways will come out slightly differently - please refer to the individual photo for each item listing to see an accurate photo of that particular base & dyelot).  

Old Maiden Aunt Yarns

unique & beautiful yarns, handmade in Scotland