We’re pleased to be part of a rich heritage of carrying in Scotland and whilst researching the Plaid carry we have been reminded of the importance of passing on the tradition of carrying to our family and friends.
We loved how the majority of the people we spoke with were familiar with the Plaid, and could recall seeing it being done often, but interestingly few could remember how to do it themselves!
Those few that did know, not only remembered but had carried their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren in it.
As the Elemental Collection celebrates the harsh diversity of the Scottish elements we take inspiration from the traditional textile techniques that have graced the protective layers worn by generations of families in Scotland for three intricate new designs and a gorgeous new Sea Island Cotton warp.
Lace and knitwear are inextricably linked with their Scottish origins, so when examining traditional textile techniques our gaze naturally fell on these heritage crafts. From this inspiration grew Croft, Sono and Lace: three new designs created for the Elemental Collection.
The first of our series of yarn blog posts focuses on linen, which turns out to have had a significant part to play in the history of Scottish industry.
It’s always surprising how we learn new things. Here I am out for a walk, thinking of nothing much but how cold I am, and the next thing is I’m having a lesson in the making of linen.
I’m walking across a field, feet mud suckered, wind-blasted by the gale whipping off the North Sea when suddenly I’m teetering on the lip of a waterlogged hole.
‘It’s an old retting pit,’ shouts the local farmer.
‘What on earth is a retting pit?’ I yell back, as a splatter of rain stings my face. He starts to explain but I’m chittering with cold.
‘Awa ye go hame lass,’ he calls and I retreat gratefully, leaving the farmer checking over his sheep, to an internet search accompanied by a steaming mug of hot chocolate – the cold slowly dissipating from my bones.
We’ve been preparing a series of blog posts looking into the origins & production of our yarns, but first we’re getting back to the basics as we send Vicki off to learn how to spin fibre into yarn by hand.
Vicki at the Spinning Wheel
A spinning wheel has always had something romantic about it for me, maybe from a childhood peppered with fairytales; Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold & Sleeping Beauty lured into pricking her finger on the wheel, so when I saw a Beginners Spinning Class advertised locally I was instantly hooked.
Two hours into the two day class and I’m not so sure. Certainly the setting has a touch of the fairytale about it, as we work in what was once the wedding room of the local Council offices, bathed in the warm glow of a real coal fire.
Vicki delves into historic Scotland to find out more about the age old tradition of carrying children in slings! She meets our new designer Evonne’s granny and great aunt over a cuppa to hear about their personal experience in using the ‘Plaid’.
When our new designer Evonne told her granny about the products Oscha makes, her granny said, ‘Oh, I know all about that, your great granny carried me in the plaid.’
Intrigued, I drove westwards on Scotland’s hottest day of the year (temperature reached a miraculous 27C!), navigating the tangle of motorways which slice up Glasgow, and out the other side to Dalry, once a thriving textile town, where the last mill closed only a few months ago, to find out more.
Evonne’s granny, May (Mary), and her sister Fay, greeted me with tea in china cups, lots of cake and a fascinating glimpse into 1930’s and 40’s Scotland.
Their mother had nine children and they lived in a two-roomed tenement flat with no running water or electricity. ‘We had to carry buckets of clean water up a flight of stairs and the dirty water back down again,’