I left Dunkeld earlish on the morning after the wedding and had breakfast in Pitlochry. Being Sunday the A9 was quiet so I managed to zip up to Dalwhinnie and turned off on the Fort William road, before reaching the Road to the Isles (to Mallaig). It’s really is a beautiful run! Who needs to go anywhere else other than Scotland when the weather is good… but then you don’t come to Scotland for the weather!
Reaching Mallaig in good time, Mary Doune and Skipper Andy had already arrived in the harbour (photo above) so it wasn’t long before I and my luggage were on board and we were off to Doune, round the second headland in the photo below. The crossing was easy, maybe a bit bumpy as the weather had deteriorated somewhat during the morning. Anyway, Mary Doune being a faster boat than Gripper, our usual transport, we were soon in sight of our destination – and joy of joys, the tide was high enough for us to go right in to the pier – no decanting into the RIB in the middle of the bay, as has happened often before!!! Liz met me off the boat and together we walked along the path to the Stone Lodges, where the rest of the group were already into the swing of their lacemaking, having arrived the day before! Yes, it’s the long awaited Lace Week again! Wonderful! We all look forward to this week, peace and quiet, no TV, no phones ringing – that we have to answer anyway- no traffic, with the nearest road being almost a mile up the hillside, and then it’s only a 7 mile stretch from Inverie to Airor, so only the occasional local vehicle uses it. If the weather is good we make lace part of the day and maybe go out for part, walking or just pottering about!. If the weather is bad we make more lace!
After a sandwich lunch – homemade bread rolls – I got my lace stuff out, only to find I had left at home my notes and working diagram for the piece of lace I had planned to do! Time for a rethink, and Margaret came up with the pattern she was working, which I was happy to have a go at! It meant a lot of preparation I had done already for the other pattern, but soon I was ready – not quite the same day – to get started, and through the rest of the week I worked a reasonable amount. Here’s the sample pattern – we call it a pricking because we prick the pattern’s pin holes in the card before starting. The red line is the path of outlining threads or gimps, a bit thicker than the working thread, so you can see the pattern looks like a water lily! The threads on the bobbins are woven to form the designs over the top of the card - which is fastened to a solid lace ‘pillow’ - and are held in place by the pins, till we have worked enough length not to be pulled out of shape if we remove the pins. This is how it will look…. I didn’t get the whole flower done. I’d say I worked a quarter of it! Don’t say, “Is that all?” It’s pretty labour-intensive… takes a long time and lots of concentration! This is what I would like to do in the future…
a hexagon of waterlilies! There’s too much chattering to concentrate at our own lace group, and I have far too many other things to be doing during the week that I think I will have to book for all Linda’s lace courses (in Kintyre) next year to get it done! Then of course there’s also the pattern I originally wanted to do!
Liz with Lauren>>>>
the other was Lauren, a member of staff at Doune, a student of fabric art, who “had a go” during her time off! I ended up teaching Karin who did very well, and Liz taught Lauren the type of lace she herself does, Honiton, very fine and to me, fiddly! Lauren was amazing though!
Sheila <<<,Janet >>>
and though not a lacemaker, very much part of our group, Lisbet, who we met some years ago, and got on so well with. She hasn’t been able to join us since then but every year she sends us greetings and a bottle of wine for our last night’s dinner! It was with great delight that we greeted the news she was joining us this year! She sketches and paints, and we all find we are included in her little book! With paint box and bottle of water in one hand, sketch book on her knee, she colours her pen and ink sketches - of us, things she sees on her walks, views… she’s like me with my camera, recording the memories, but in such a lovely way!
Well this has turned out longer than I intended today, but I hope you are still with me at this point! More about our week in Knoydart next time.
Talk again soon.