Phew! We have hardly had time to draw breath in the last three months! We have had our usual monthly visits to Auchindrain, plus a couple of extra visits, to meet up with a summer school from Glasgow University, and a group from Irish Knitting Tours. We are looking forward to meeting more of the knitters over the next few months.
We took part in some special events: Clanscape at Ardess, way past Rowardennan on Loch Lomondside; Lochgilphead Pictish and Celtic Festival (Click here for pics.); “Museum Memories” in Paisley, an event to mark the closure of the museum for refurbishment; and Meur Dhunomhain ceilidh in September, when we sustained the programme for the whole evening.
We enjoyed performing for Guilds in Rutherglen and Ayr, despite the fact that the one in charge of the tweed forgot to bring it both times! We improvised with a car blanket – as we usually do when she forgets the tweed!
Then in mid-October, a highlight when we waulked Tweed No. 10. This was the second half of the tweed we waulked in July at the MacGregors’ Clan Gathering. This time we gathered at Dalmally Station, where Liz Gaffney-Waite has her studio: Heartfelt by Liz. Sgioba Luaidh have waulked in many unusual locations, but surely a station platform must be a pretty unique venue! There was a moment when we thought we would have to refill the tub before we could soak the cloth, as Angus, the station dog, decided that he needed a good long drink! It’s a good thing we hadn’t yet added the maistir to the brew!
Then in our enthusiasm we overdid the soaping of the cloth – foam everywhere! You’d think we had rubbed it with whipped cream! We had to do an extra rinse. Nearly had to rinse Innes as well. She had suds on her face, in her hair, on her pinny…
Dalmally is still a working station, so the Glasgow and Oban trains stopped, with the passengers waving at us. Our intrepid Christine was allowed to board one of the trains to explain what we were doing.
It took just about an hour to shrink eight-metre tweed, with fourteen songs plus two for rolling. Acting on Innes’s careful instructions, Liz and Graham re-rolled the following day. (We hope they sang as they did it, or bad luck will ensue!) Our latest information is that the tweed was hung up and is drying nicely. Thanks, Liz and Graham for another great day at Dalmally – and for a great lunch! Click here for pics.
Every move was followed by a crew from Flint TV, who are preparing a documentary for Channel 4: The Most Beautiful Railways in the World. To be screened in the New Year.
The only thing that could top a full waulk was the event which took place on Mod Friday in Dunoon. Six of Sgioba Luaidh crossed the Clyde to gather in St Mun’s Hall along with two groups who had taken part in the luadh competition the previous day: Comhlan Luadh Bhàideanach (from Kingussie) and Clò nan Nighean (from Barra). We have long talked about the possibility of getting together with other groups for a mega-waulk, and at last we did it! There were two dozen of us at the cliath, including a few friends who came in to take part. It was so good to enjoy each other’s songs and company, in a relaxed atmosphere, with tea and cakes, courtesy of St Mun’s. Many thanks to Ruth, the hall-keeper, for being so kind to us. A historic occasion, which we think is unique! But we hope it won't remain unique, as we are keen to repeat the experience, which we all enjoyed so much. See some pics here.