Thursday, 31 January 2008

A general Introduction to the Woolcraft group at Galgael

Since summer 2007, for 2 hours each Friday morning, our group has been meeting at Galgael to explore woolcraft activities and be part of a unique community.

The whole impulse started much longer ago when Colin Macleod, the late inspirational founder of the Galgael Trust, encouraged some crafter women to link up with the Govan Tradition of weaving as well as with the ancient Scottish heritage of weaving per se. A remarkable loom was Galgael-built, and the 'Weaving the Clyde' tapestry project commissioned.

A lot of water has flown down the Clyde since, and the tapestry weaving still continues providing the foyer at 15 Fairley Street with one of its central focuses.

In the background, in the 'bothy', more and more woolcraft activities started to develop in the last couple of years, inspiring, first of all, two Galgael trainees, local women on the 'Navigating the Future' wood work course.

Over the last year then more and more women from all walks of life and from the wider Galgael community started to meet regularily. This blog is mainly about their modest but magical 'adventures' from 2008 onwards as the 'woolcraft at Galgael group'..

Our woolcraft group is a motley crew, consisting of professional weavers, crafters, artists and teachers, and of beginners and medium level skilled folks. Many of the women who come along have only these 2 hours to give expression to their creative side through woolcraft. Some of the group members come infrequently but are still part of the wider Galgael community and intent (see Galgael related websites or google it for more about the Clan). Others have a bit more time to actually produce woolcrafts items. The emphasis is on creating a fun, friendly and active woolcraft group, teaching and being taught, at 15 Fairley Street.

Looking at the wider context we all feel and believe that it is essential today for women of all ages and backgrounds to connect or re-connect with wool and fibre craft. We feel this is important for personal satisfaction and also for respecting the natural resources of materials and skills, and to celebrate and nurture our families.

We offer tuition in and demonstration of wool craft for all ages, and we are preparing the ground to attract woolcraft accreditation. All this will help us with woolcraft services and sales development, and to support the sail-loft reconstruction at Galgael, where a big loom is waiting to be assembled as soon as funding has been granted to redevelop the building's upper level. This upper level of the wider workshop premises at 15 Fairley Street will house at last properly the 'soft crafts' (wool, basketry, leather). The hard crafts (wood work, boat building, smithying, pottery) fill the ground floor already.

If anyone of you readers can help to assist (fundraising; planning; hands on) with the manifestation of the soft craft area - please get in touch.

(the big loom again, with the rainbow-ed banner Colin painted on silk in respect and rejuvenation of the Longhouse Cultures of the North Atlantic rim : practical democracy common to all people of this part of the globe. In the foreground: one of the recent trainees sporting a Hebridean fleece rug he helped us waulking)

Friday, 25 January 2008

wool craft log 25-1-08

Anna wrote:

Today I tried weaving but never did learn how to do a join so gave up and so I twisted a bat onto the stick that goes inbetween the strings. Then I did a bit more pulling wool apart in preparation for carding. Flora brought the hebridean she washed - looking lovely, and started to needlefelt the holes. There was haggis for lunch but I didn't stay for it. One of the trainees came by and was really interested in learning to weave - I told him to come back and we were there Friday mornings. Ian showed us a burns day poem about farting. That's the news!

And Flora replied:

Didn't do a lot more on the fleece after you left Anna (hope you had a lovely lunch with your Mum). Heather arrived in from Edinburgh so it was good to meet her and great craic. She started some spinning then we had the haggis, neeps and tatties and some Burns songs and poetry an a' that!

Lesley Riddoch has some info on Bride

Anneruth replied:

Wow, that’s a great article – good on Leslie! Thank you Flora for drawing our attention to that!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Women's Fund


It's nice to have a place where the progress of the woolcraft group is recorded. Gives it a story.

I had a look at the Community Foundation women's fund and they are not open for applications at the moment. There will be an announcement in March about the next round of funding so we should stay alert for that and keep looking for other sources.

all the best,


coming up in-house art and craft events?

Friday 25/1/08

Burns Day:
Heather was asking is anything happening?
he is planning to come through, and is hoping that at least the Glgl might have a do..

Friday 1/2/08
The great Celtic Festival of women power, of craftsmanship, of sailors and smiths, of weavers and midwifes... what are we doing this year?

Do you need to know more about the festival? Do a google search on IMBOLC, OIMELC and BRIDE or BRIDGET (goddes and/or saint)

Please use this facility to discuss via the comment section below
(or email me if you have probs, and I post it here for you)
thank you :-)

a spinning song

ho re ela :-)

This lively rendering of an old Gaelic Spinning Song, here sung by Julie Fowlis at Celtic Connections in Glasgow 2008, is a great way to tune into the action we are trying to re-enliven. The video and sound quality is not the best (it was just a wee camera which took it), but it hopefully inspires someone to come and teach us this and other songs of this land's old tradition: to sing a song whatever the weather or work!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

wool craft log 23-1-08

interim log update from Wednesday

  • Heather from Edinburgh has been in touch with AR. She is better now and would like to join up on some Fridays. Question is how, though. AR usually goes through from Penicuik to Glgl on Thursdays, and if Heather takes the bus there is no way she can be with us by ten. Question: could we sometimes at least have the group later in the day???
  • AR stood Flora up today, having promised to come through from P before Flora visiting the Rural Team Meeting - AR just did not manage. Tummy upset and all - still, not good enough :-( ! Poor Flora!
  • But Flora got her next 2 skeins of spun Hebridean knitting wool (still wet from the washingline) for the shawl :-)

Saturday, 19 January 2008

log entry for Friday 18-1-08

Who was there?
Flora, Verene, Anneruth, Anna came in morning. Issy came later in the afternoon.

What were the preparations for today?
some more needle felting done on Hebridean fleece #2 (AR);
washing of the whole bag of good blackface (which Hazel had returned before Christmas) and which had got wet in the flooded bothy (AR);

What did we do?
Needle felting on second fleece rug; Verene and Flora got a shot and made good progress.
All dug in and made more progress with preparing BF white wool for rug weaving, and a little weaving was done too.
Had a look at Verene's hat and AR & Fl taking care of finding ways to make it a piece of glory (AR to thread thin elastic through; Fl to test-knit-felt ear flap). Verene is also gidding out ehr pearls to set into top of bonnet :-0
Had snippets of chats as to how we could progress in the bigger picture (women group funding? wool crafts with children project?) - no clear strategy yet, as break down of time resources involved for each idea has to be seen and said yes to first.
We started a diary to be left in the bothy where we enter briefly what we have done, as well as a wall calendar for to show who is in when. This is important for the Glgl as well as for us, as Verene has now given her schedule of in and out Fridays for the spring term, and Anneruth would like to cut down the number of trips over from EH (every two weeks ideally, but then stay 2 days at Glgl).
In the afternoon: Issy got a chance and help to spin again on her batch of Hebridean. Hopefully she can make it next Friday, or another Friday in the morning to get her hours changed and joined up with us :-)

Other things occuring:
Elisabeth Wupperman, a weaver who knows AR from 25 years ago (Bingenheim and Camphill Germany), had come by yesterday and left her contact details. AR got in touch and we hope to meet up. It will be interesting and exciting!
AR had collected the displays from the Ibrox Library, and met a art&craft instructor who works there with children on behalf of the youth and leisure team (City Council). It could be a window of opportunity again to teach children some wool craft via the Youth team (teaching the teachers) - but for that we would need to be 2 people really to back each other up. AR would have to make up diagrams (project and time scales?) to show what is involved? Flora is maybe interested, also Issy. Time coordination could prove tricky.
Verene and AR went to the Pharamacist to see whether the lady with contact for fleeces from Skye is there. She was not, but AR will check next week.

Work in Progress behind the scenes:
FL knitting the Hebridean shawl
AR spinning for it
FL & VE washing the next 2 Hebridean fleeces
AR to explore how to pitch outreach etc, AB offered to help online

Friday, 11 January 2008

wool craft log 11-1-08

Who was there?
Flora, Verene, Anneruth

What did we do?
finish the 1st Hebridean fleece rug (which Flora had dried out over New Year) with combing out (using hand carders)

Then Davie finally could take it home - and the roll of chickenwire (to build grates for drying washed and dyed wool) is ours :-)

And this is how the first done fleece rug looks next to the second washed (by AR over New Year) one

and this is second fleece close up

lots of gaps!
So we set to work:

stitching and needle felt punching
with lots of good craick
a medium hot curry by Helen :-0;
and the guys milling around our quietly bussy corner in front window

So it was good that the bothy was flooded over New Year (that Ian of all people leaving the boiler on to overflow >:-( !), and that Big Al was around to take pity on the clear up operation today! Cheers mate!).

Flora brought her new project along:
a shawl to be, plain knit, from AR's handspun Hebridean; she ahs to spin more though for it
And also Verene:
a handbag knit from wool bought from Lewis (the shop, not the Isle!). It had kept her happy in the hols and will be making steady progress henceforth. Her historic hat (see report on has shrunk too much in felting and needs some tlc (to be administered by all next week)

Other things:
Flora is interested to maybe join the Galgael Rural Vision team, as these matter are close to her heart!
Flora also looked at the Nursery craft exhibit in the Ibrox Library.
(Report on that project from Feb last year still to be uploaded on group site)

great to be back! Lets build a schedule and plan for new year, in accordance with what we can manage in our lives and with what we need to make things viable (outreach?)

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

lets get started :-)

So, now I have opened the Google Group (albeit had to do that from my friend's PC as mine is not displaying page tools :-( ) for the wool craft team, as well as the long needed online google calendar. Now lets see whether and how we test drive this blog...

A few helpful points :
  1. I am offering to host this blog in the hope it will be a useful service
  2. I will be deleting these early posts (labelled as 'intro test') or archiving them (if I can?) as what I think should be on this page is diary like entries of our ongoing activities and any related comments
  3. I am not sure yet what the best way is to work this in conjunction with the woolcraft@galgael google group, but methinks this blog could serve as collecting data for recording activities (via me posting first and others then add, correct, etc via the comment section), and then it could all be compiled quickly periodically into a report like the one I did before Christmas for the autumn term, and posted on the google group site (see link below)
  4. presently all these google facilities are by invitation only. Until we are all happy that we can go public in full, if we want to do that. I certainly would argue for that one day, as I think it is fab way of attracting people and funding...
  5. authors and readers: the best way to develop the site is to have us settle in as 'authors' first (I have invited you as such) which means you can create and delete anything! :-0 Then we can build up a second circle of readers (which any of you can invite!). It is up to us how we utilise this site. We can also use sponsor ads and create an income? And we could use ot for selling ourselves anyway!
  6. for that purpose, layout, pictures, links, - all that needs to be considered. I have tried to make a start - even with a video link to Julie Fowlis singing a spinning song last Sunday at the Celtic Connections. Love to hear feedback, suggestions etc!
  7. a word about 'labels': these are a super way of sorting the blog entries, and it is them that have convinced me that this here could be very useful. One can thus make entries under different categories, such as here 'intro-tests', and then may be 'history', 'events'. 'patterns', as well as 'log-book'. You can then search the blog with these labels, too.
  8. I really like the idea if we make a page for each one of us (on the site ?) so we can say a bit about ourselves. Likeways we can see whether Helen and Hazel would like to have a wee page? Also our 'friends and fans' could be featured: Tam, Iain, etc. And: your own websites should have links here (Verene? Anna? !! )
After this second prelude...
lets get started with the logging of activties 2008


Monday, 7 January 2008


Hi there

this is still a test, to see what is involved posting and reading etc on this feature

I already found out that I can't add a picture to my profile

and that the welcome message doesn't show
I do hope that I can delete this post here

and that I can add a picture now
from me at home
as there is where I am just now
and that i from whence I go to the wool crafties @ galgael

this time upload worked
and it went on top of post here

how will it show at end?

meanwhile: did a little more editing with layout and adding features: still, I can not add picture to the side bars

still later on:
have redated the blog, so that this comes first, and you can scroll down to read in sequence in which each post was written. In future, the normal way of posting would be that the most recent would be top of page, of course.
Just for now, the log entry of the first group in January comes at end of this page, but I wrote it last.
Its great that one can do this here, change dates about :-) !
Later, when I change the posts about - this intro test, as well as my picture will come last.

Apropo pictures: having to back-up and reorganise my PC at the moment, I cant find the pictures I want to enter here, but I will add pictures to the log entries, maybe with you helping to choose them?

(gaelic for: 'may it be for the best')