Crofting Connections – the story of wool

Sandbank Crofting Connections  card 12Rinn clas Ghaidhlig 6/7 ealain le cloimhe. B’fheudar dhuinn cìreadh, snìomh agus breabadaireachd a dh’ionnsachadh. Chuir sinn dathan nadarrach air an cloimhe cuideachd.
As part of our local history study and Crofting Connections programme, Sandbank GMU 6/7 worked on their handcraft skills to complete a piece of textile art together. We took the inspiration of a croft as the basis for a wall hanging, seeing as we had researched an abandoned farm settlement near Loch Eck.

It also gave us an insight into all the work people had to do in days gone by. We realise that we can easily buy clothes and food in the shops at any time; but in the past our ancestors had to spin and weave the cloth themselves, milk cattle, churn butter, make cheese and salt their beef or fish in order to have food and blankets throughout the winter.

Sandbank Crofting Connections treddle 13Sandbank Crofting Connections thwack 8

We had used our Crofting Connections grant to purchase carding combs and a weaving loom last year.

Sandbank Crofting Connections mini loom 5Sandbank Croftig Connection card 1

Mrs Sandra Cooksley built up the loom for us and showed us how to set up the warp and weft threads. She also came in on a regular basis this term and taught each child how to card the wool, spin with a drop spindle, ply and thwack the thread. Not only that, but she brought in her own treddle wheel and showed us how to spin on that too.

Sandbank Crofting Connections big loom 10Sandbank Crofting Connections big loom 9

This term we gathered gorse flowers, rhododendron flowers, nettles, tree lichen and pine cones which we used to dye the wool. We didn’t get much of a colour from the rhododendrons or pine cones, but we got yellow wool from the gorse flowers, green wool from the nettles and a lovely orange shade from the tree lichen. We started off the weaving with commercially bought wool but we added in our handspun (dyed and undyed) which gave a different texture to the woven fabric.

Sandbank Crofting Connections nettle 2Sandbank Crofting Connections dyes 3

While we were doing that, Mrs Val Watson and Mrs Roslyn MacVicar came in and taught everyone to knit. Each pupil knitted a rectangle in plain stitch and learned to cast off. This was used to make sheep to sew on to the wall hanging. A couple of highland cattle were added using the lichen-dyed wool and a crofthouse with a thatched roof was knitted by our teacher. We also worked with weaving cards and mini looms to make our own pictures and a sample of tartan as we waited on our turn with the large loom. We are all very proud of the wall hanging and would like to thank all the ladies who came in to help us. Mrs Cooksley said that if any other local school wants to learn to spin and weave, they can contact her via Sandbank.

Sandbank Crofting Connections spin 7Sandbank Crofting Connections knit 6Sandbank Crofting Connections weaving card 4Sandbank Crofting Connections finish 11

1 thought on “Crofting Connections – the story of wool

  1. Fantastic! I hope this wall hanging and the story of how it was made is being displayed somewhere for all to enjoy. Well done Sandbank pupils, staff and volunteers.

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