Steep Learning Curves

 Photo by Dudley Williams of Oran Na Mara

Photo by Dudley Williams of Oran Na Mara

...Been a bit quiet on the Blog Front...there hasn't been a moment to spare as we race towards the deadline for completion on the Isle of Harris project.  A weekly site visit involves two days' travelling, with hire vans and materials to collect the day before departure, a full day on site addressing the immediate challenges, with Kenny and Co. carefully producing ply prototypes before we decide on solutions and me on the floor with scissors, cardboard and sellotape, producing seemingly endless templates for curtain poles, vanity unit tops, hearths and flooring patterns! Everything is new and untried, but we are all learning fast, and thank goodness for Kenny and Co's willingness to bounce ideas - although when Kenny politely says, "Ermm, I think that might be a bit difficult", I know I've gone a step too far... IMG_2616 Angus has been working on the snug walls and seating, using a water jet to cut the curves for the oak shelf...and here, his son Innes demonstrates his new toy, the TV lift...IMG_2688

The Isle of Harris is an Island of Hidden Treasures...it's been a joy to discover and meet the weavers, still working in tiny sheds on single width Hattersley looms, literally weaving the surrounding landscape into cloth.  I'd originally thought the study should be a celebration of the machair, but when I saw Rebecca's beautiful Taobh Tuath tweed, I immediately thought of abandoned crofts with rusting roofs and hummocky hills with outcrops of Gneiss...so that's what it's going to be!

 Rebecca's tweed for the study

Rebecca's tweed for the study

 Abandoned croft

Abandoned croft

Hard to believe that the green and red are single yarns - the green going Chartreuse or mossy and the red going terracotta or pillar box depending on whether they are in the warp or weft...last week when I went back, Rebecca had started on our cloth and here it is in the loom...

Meanwhile, for the machair, we've chosen the gentler colours of the abundant harebell and Yarrow for one of the bedrooms.  

I've had harebells in the Flower Press for a year now, and these will go under glass on bedside tables, while Sarah at Mogwaii Designs is being commissioned to do two tall embroidered panels of Yarrow on tweed for the wardrobe doors.

I've searched everywhere for just the right lilac-ey blue tweed for the curtains, but everything was either too sky-blue or heathery-purple, so Rebecca's going to weave a tweed in Russian Twill and Herringbone squares with a green check line using these yarns... even Rebecca has no idea how this will come out, because of how the colours change according to whether they are in the warp or the weft...and again, when the tweed is "finished" up at the mill, so it's a bit of an adventure!

 Toe Head

Toe Head

The third bedroom looks out over Sgarasta Beach towards Toe Head, and every week, I see it turning more aubergine as the heather gradually comes into bud before eventually bursting into flower.

Another young weaver, aptly named Heather, had the perfect tweed as the base for this room, combined with a lovely stripe from Nina Campbell to bring the heather into bloom!

...and, finally, a quick return visit to the Master of Harris Weavers, DJ MacKay, for the shell bedroom...this will have bedside tables with layers of delicate, tiny shells under glass, and a shell mirror made from these wonderful stripey shells...

 Shells for mirror

Shells for mirror

...one day, I look forward to walking at a leisurely pace along these beautiful beaches, looking out across the crashing waves and paddling in the surf, instead of bent low, continually searching for treasure...