Weaving away the winter.

12 April 2011

Our first course of the season has been a wonderful, sunny success.

Last weekend, as we prepared the cottages and the cafe (a workshop for the weekend) for Weaving by the seaour annual willow basket weaving weekend we weren't feeling particularly enthused: the rest of the country seemed to be basking in sunshine whilst we in the north west wallowed in rain and battled against wind. But the wind dropped for our 9 happy weavers to arrive on Friday, and on Saturday we woke to a beautiful soft, calm, sunny morning. As I walked around the bay to start weaving I saw the first wren and first violet of the season, and mum says she heard a willow warbler and saw a wheatear. It's all go.

This year Jane gave us the choice of weaving a creel (a traditional basket used for carrying loads of seaweed or peat; like a rucksack but much, much less comfortable) or a round basket. Those of us less sure of our weaving talents chose baskets whilst three brave ladies grappled with the more complex creel. We started on Friday afternoon (rather than Saturday morning as in previous years) and the extra hours made all the difference; we could spend more time enjoying the sunshine, and our visitors had an extra night on the Island which made it an altogether more relaxing weekend.The finished articles

The first steps of making a basket are the hardest but once the bases were in place the sides grew up with satisfying speed. It's such a lovely rhythmic activity; the cool smooth strands of willow snaking in and out of the uprights creating beautiful patterns. The creel ladies seemed to be having a harder time; their hardest part was on the second day, but despite occasional wails of anguish they turned out some pretty fine creations in the end.

We were kept going with hearty lunches of soup, local salad and Lizzie's bread, plenty of homemade cakes throughout the day and happy convivial suppers altogether in the Wonderful colours emerge as the willow dries...Schoolhouse. It was - as ever - brilliant to welcome back so many faithful 'Tanerans' visitors, and watch them enjoy our lovely home together with new Tanera visitors. Everyone went away delighted with their weekend's happy work, justifiably proud of their creations, and looking forward to being back soon...

The next course is our Flora, Fauna and Foraging weekend with Viv Halcrow (who made an impressive creel this weekend), and then there's the Wildtiles Creative Journals for which we have a special offer: a 10% discount if you book before the end of April.

Tanera Mòr, Summer Isles, Achiltibuie, by Ullapool, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV26 2YN

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