With her slippers on her feet, her hands too must be kept warm in order for her to wield the needles easily, almost robotically.
She looks up at the television from time to time, as her tools softly click-clack away. In the winter or the evenings, she moves to the settee, to be closer to the fire and an overhead lamp. In the summer, long days give more natural light in which to knit and, if there is a concert on at nearby Hampden Park, MacFadyen will open the window and allow the performers - most memorably Tina Turner - to provide the soundtrack.
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At the age of 74, MacFadyen has been knitting since her mother taught her when she was five or six. Her flat, where she has lived for 23 years, is modest and comfortable, decorated with family heirlooms and photos on the wall, like the one of her late husband Hector wearing a jumper she knitted for him.
"He passed away 25 years ago," she recalls wistfully, moving a spool of yarn closer to her side. "So that's why I took knitting back up."
Knitting wasn't just therapeutic and relaxing; it also kept her busy, so she wasn't just sitting alone in the evenings with only the television for company.
MacFadyen's home in King's Park, Glasgow, sits in stark contrast to the fashion capitals of London, New York and Milan, and yet she is one of more than 150 hand-knitters working up and down the country, from Lewis to London, for Eribe, a Scottish knitwear company based in Galashiels that produces, along with its own designs, pieces for high-fashion brands such as Mulberry, Paul Smith and Pringle.
With so many textiles exported from China, it is rather magical to imagine these knitters busily working away, and even more incredible to sit inside one of their homes and see the craft being done in front of you, ready to be sold as a piece of high fashion.
Their work sells for anything from £60 for a beanie hat to more than £900 for a knitted Mulberry skirt. ("You'd have to be a head case to buy that," MacFadyen laughs, adding that she doesn't wear her own hand knits. "I do them for myself and then I just don't feel right in them." Because they're homemade? "Yes. I go to Marks & Spencer," she smiles.)
MacFadyen has been knitting for Eribe for three years. She's finishing a batch of gloves in a gorgeous burgundy (she prefers this to charcoal and black, which, she says, make it a nightmare to see if you've done a stitch wrong).
She's not that keen on the design though. "When you don't like a thing, it takes ages," she says, pointing to the gloves, which are fingerless. "I need my fingers covered," she smiles. "But there's a lot of work in them. I had 40 to do and now I've got five. I can do a pair in a couple of hours but I do one a day. If I do more than that, I get fed up."
Summer through to October is the most active period for the hand-knitters, as they work to finish stock for autumn/winter. For traditional garments so rooted in the past, Eribe's knitwear is distinctively modern.
"Forward thinking" is a phrase so frequently banded about in the world of fashion that it has become cliche, but rarely is it as true as it is in the case of Eribe. Knitwear can conjure up fuddy-duddy images of twinsets and dowdy jumpers, but Eribe's mix of machine-knit, hand frame, and handmade designs - for men, women and children - are intricate and innovative, their colours plentiful and striking, mixing subtle shades with the very bold, using only the finest of yarns sourced from Shetland to Italy. The brand prides itself on its expert knowledge of heritage knitting techniques, such as Scottish Fairisle patterns. It's all about contemporary style, not passing trends. Eribe 's five designers are influenced by everything from street wear to, as in this season, Victorian Scottish explorers.
Eribe was founded in 1986 by Edinburgh-born textile designer Rosemary Eribe. Since its conception, it has won multiple awards - most recently, the brand was nominated for a Scottish Fashion Award - and has grown ever since. Eribe took over the Hermione Spencer hand-knit company in West Dunbartonshire in 2000 and launched its first hand-knit collection.
Muriel Anderson, 77, has been part of that for nearly eight years now. An avid knitter, born and raised in Edinburgh, where she still lives, Anderson was taught to knit by her mother when she was eight - and has knitted "almost on a daily basis ever since".
"I love it because you produce something at the end of it. Sometimes when you get projects from Eribe" - the patterns and wool are sent out to the knitters via post - "it's a wee challenge. I don't get stumped by any of the designs but I do make the odd mistake and have to rip it back," she laughs.
Unless you're familiar with knitting, Eribe's patterns are colourful and complicated-looking charts that look almost mathematical. And, for even the most experienced of knitters, part of the appeal is the challenge of new patterns.
"I knit about three or four hours a day. I do it mostly in the evenings," she says. "Even though I'm an old lady, I'm not ready to sit down and look at magazines, so I've always got some knitting on the go."
The knitters, including Anderson, like the choice that Eribe gives them. "They phone us up and say, 'Would you like to do this? And what colour would you like?' They're very good at giving you options.
"I don't know what they get sold for but I think I'd be quite surprised," she concedes with a chuckle.
MacFadyen recalls when knitting fell out of fashion, it was "awful hard to get patterns for a time". But the fact knitting has had a resurgence in popularity is old news. Many of the younger generation took it up as a trendy new pastime, in a wider resurgence of crafting, several years ago.
Take Lisa Gault. At 22, she is one of Eribe's youngest knitters. A fourth-year maths student at Edinburgh University, Gault has only been knitting for the brand since March - in between exams, of course.
"If I could, I'd knit all the time," she says, before telling me she has two jumpers and a pair of socks "in construction". The last thing she did was basically "a massive doily" for the back of her grandmother's sofa.
It was Gault's aunt who introduced her to the craft after giving her a kit for Christmas a few years ago. Then, while at university, she became "properly obsessed with it".
The work for Eribe came about after Gault found it on Twitter. In the past, the brand's hand knitters were usually recruited through ads in local papers, which are read by an older demographic more likely to knit. But, increasingly, the brand is finding its new generation of knitters - something it is keen to continue to keep the craft alive - via social media knitting website Ravelry.
"I thought I'd apply, but I didn't think I'd get chosen," remembers Gault. "I knitted one swatch, sent it in and they said it was good enough so …" Gault is modest. She has only knitted more basic items so far but aspires to more complicated pieces, such as the Shetland colour jumpers.
She revels in the challenge. "I like the patterns and the mechanics of knitting, I suppose because I've got a technical brain. And I love the different types of wool and the fact you start with two sticks and string and you can make anything you want."
Her favourite pieces to knit have intricate cables "where every stitch has to be perfect". "I love the way they interconnect," she says. "The older knitters can knit so fast. Hopefully I'll be like them when I'm older."
Just as knitting has grown in favour, so too has the Scottish textiles industry seen a boost in its profile of late. Not only is Johnstons of Elgin working with designers such as Christopher Kane, Hermes is also turning to Scotland for its quality cashmere, working not only with the aforementioned but Barrie too, whose factory in Hawick was last year bought by Chanel. Barrie's pieces then featured heavily at last year's Chanel Metiers d'Art presentation at Linlithgow Palace.
While there has been a Scottish texiles renaissance recently, Rosemary Eribe says the brand she founded has had a slow and steady growth in its 27 years, mainly due to the company's popularity in the German and Japanese markets ("They love our colours," she says) and more recently because of the company's hand-knitting events in Edinburgh, London and abroad. More than 400 people took part at a recent event at the National Museum of Scotland.
Today, Rosemary Eribe is in Japan, at a fair at the Hankyu department store in Osaka, in what can only be described as a knitting promotional tour that will see her give knitting lessons to whoever is keen. At last year's event in the same store, the firm's products sold out in three hours.
Eribe's knitwear is now stocked in more than 200 shops in 16 countries. It sold to South Korea for the first time this year and soon it will sell to Russia too. This isn't just business, it is Rosemary Eribe's life - a career she literally started from her kitchen table. You get the impression that the firm is one big family, and they have parties and go away on spa weekends together.
"We try to be. In a way, I don't want to grow too much. I'm always saying, 'That's enough people, we've got a perfect family.' And then another person comes along and I'm like, 'All right …" she laughs.
She raised her four children - now aged from 26 to 32 - while building up her brand from her own home, a grand Victorian house in Galashiels. It continues to be the company's HQ where, in a beautiful light and flower-filled conservatory, the team - of which there are now 11 members, including one male designer - have meetings.
Having studied at the former Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, she had a bad experience with her first job that led her to believe she was unemployable. "I thought, 'I'm going to build my own business.'
"And my dream is coming true. It's taken a long time, but the kids have grown up and the time is also right. It's all about timing," she confirms, recalling how Scotland's textiles industry hit a rough patch in the 1990s, when "factories were closing left, right and centre".
She says business today is a "completely different story" and requires a fight for every order" as the industry faces tough competition from abroad, not least from China. Today, Eribe has long-standing relationships with mills and factories across the country that help produce its knitwear.
Given that she doesn't come from an entrepreneurial background - "My family is all intellectual, so I didn't have anyone to draw on for business" - she has done well. "I love learning and everyone within my team, we always keep learning. Even the hand knitters, they are developing. When they start, they do basic hats, scarves or mittens; and then they get bored and want to explore something else. And we're now getting much younger knitters because, basically, humans are creative, and knitting is very therapeutic."
Success is "all down to teamwork," she smiles. "And the hand knitters are very much part of that team." n