This is a guest post by one of our forum members Carole aka Craftywoman. Thanks Carole for this interesting and informative post.
The Haddington Spinners and Weavers are a group of people who meet regularly and once a year head off into the Scottish Borders to Innerwick to enjoy time together, have fun and explore new creativity.
Our guests on this weekend were the Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh – “Inverclyde Waulking Group”.
Waulking the tweed or the cloth is a term used to describe how women would collect together on the islands of Scotland including Skye and the Outer Hebrides to waulk the cloth after it had been woven. They would sing in Gaelic as they waulked the cloth (moved it around a table between them in a rhythmically thumping movement) to shrink it by about 6 inches and make it a firmer fabric for tweed clothing and so on.
Our weekend was greatly enhanced by these wonderful women and in their words – “In the songs you can express your every emotion; the hypnotic thumping of the cloth on the table helps to release all your tensions and frustrations (and it’s very good exercise!); in the company of your friends you can have a good gossip, and talk over problems. It’s great “female bonding”! And cheaper than counselling!” http://www.waulk.org/index.asp
The Waulking songs (in Gaelic), pictures and a video of our Waulking at Innerwick in the Scottish Borders can be seen on this link to their Facebook page. On this page you will see women in Poland and America Waulking the cloth. The technique was taught to women in America via skype – how things have moved on.
A felter who sadly passed away had started this lovely piece of work. She was a felt artist, which is apparent in many of her pieces, but unfortunately, she never finished this piece.
During our weekend away at Innerwick in the Scottish Borders we sat together and discussed her and her work, scratching our chins and wondering how as a group we could come up with a plan to complete her piece. We had pieces of felt work that some people had completed when working with her, plus our own merino tops and Shetland fleece, the fleece from one of the women’s own flock.
Over the two days we started to needle felt in a sweep of colour and natural pieces from turquoise through to purple, everyone added their own flair
After much discussion on what we should do and how allowing for the those of us who went off-piste, we produced this final piece. It looks like stained glass windows one woman from the group is going to make a beam out of driftwood with a naturally plaited loop for hanging.
Now we can take the community spirit of the Haddington Spinners and Weavers with us where ever we go be it running workshops, gorilla spinning and showing the crafts of spinning, weaving and braiding at exhibitions.
Individual pieces – one woman has taken on the onerous task of making a Shetland Taatit Rug for young couple marrying next year. The woman is Scottish and loves horses and the man is from New Zealand so a feather will represent him. Basically, she has woven the base for the marriage bed rug, and now is tatting images for both the bride and the groom as well as celtic crosses and circles, hearts and traditional designs to ward away trows (mischievous spirits) and witches. The rug is laid on the bed stitch side up.
Whilst the rest of us knitted, wove and spun.