Well it’s almost a full year since I sent it off for spinning, but at long last the wool skeins have now arrived! All the wool is worsted spun from selected first clips, and very dark and lustrous. Most is DK weight, some we ordered as Aran weight. About half of the DK will go to pay for Hebridean lambs we bought last year. We really could do with either more sheep or access to more wool to buy!
‘Trouble up’ mill’ meant they didn’t start our wool until a month or more ago, by which time we were actually able to add fleeces from this year’s clip!! Unfortunately that means the wool we now have left to sell (after paying for the lambs) has got to last us even longer.
We’ve talked it over many times – each time coming to a firm conclusion the opposite or at least diffent to the last time. But now we are definitely and finally decided. More or less as soon as Jonathan is home for good in a week or so’s time, he’ll start work on a new studio/shop for the Hebridean Woolshed. The scandinavian log-style garden cabin we put up (it cost us about £1250 all told!) back in 2003 as a general-purpose garden shop really just isn’t up to the job: not big enough, no enough protection from the weather, from damp and insects; and above all it just looks NAFF!
The new shop will still be in the style of a shed, but more like a traditional Hebridean outbuilding (no I don’t mean falling down and surrounded by old cars!), but solidly built, and at least 50% bigger than the existing shed. It will be positioned so that its outline will be softened with with trees and shrubs.
Jonathan: Last summer – before starting work here in England – I worked with a small team of volunteers doing a very detailed survey of the huge Hallan cemetery near Daliburgh.
With the help of Sandy (chief instigator of the project) I surveyed the position of all graves – with headstones and without – together with boundary walls, roads, buildings etc.
That formed the framework of a database of all the graves and their occupants going back many generations. Believe it or not, this information was until now stored mostly in the heads of successive sextons. That reflects the importance to the gaels of kinship, and is what lies behind the question ‘Co as thu’ – literally where are you from, but really meaning from what family (and thus place) are you descended?
Photo shows Jonathan with a Topcon 210 at Hallan Cemetery in July 2009. Cille Pheadair in the middle distance, and Eisebhal beyond. Sandy was holding the camera perfectly horizontal: The lean to the left is due to prevailing westerly winds.