Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Memories of Scotland

Clò Mòr I

Ambheil cuimhne agad air?

If I haven’t mangled the Scots Gaelic too badly, the title of this quilt is “Grand Cloth (Harris Tweed) – do you remember it?”

When we were planning our trip to Scotland in 2011, our guide to the Western Isles, Chris Ryan, mentioned we could visit a local croft where Harris Tweed was being made (at least, that is what I thought he said).  Instead, we started our day at Harris Tweed and Knitwear at Tarbert (the port) where there was a lovely shop with things Harris.  And a huge storage building with floor to ceiling shelves filled with bolts of Harris Tweed – traditional colours and patterns as well as the bright new colours.  Two or so glorious hours later, I had touched every bolt, decided what I wanted and emerged with a huge smile on my face with a beginning of a plan for a series of small quilts with a background of Harris Tweed crazy quilt to remember our trip by.  Chris and Cal had bonded over the trials and tribulations of women and retail therapy.

We did see some hand looms and how Harris Tweed used to be made.  It’s now made in two factories on Lewis.  To be genuine Harris Tweed, it needs to be wool from Scotland (it comes from the mainland because the sheep that can survive on the Western Isles have wool better suited to carpets) that has been processed on the islands of Lewis or Harris.  Completely opposite from North Ronaldsay or Shetland sheep products – where the sheep are raised , but the wool is processed on the Scottish mainland.  Don’t get me started on sheep J

The found items on this quilt include ceramic buttons from the Harray Potter on the Orkney Mainland and a lovely earring from a gallery somewhere on our travels on Lewis between one Neolithic set of stones and another.  The silver spoon and the other buttons came from “The Handspinner Having Fun” at Broadford, Isle of Skye where I also picked up some handdyed Corriedale wool.  Checking the website, the owners close up shop in the winter and go travelling – the spoon was actually created in Peru! The pewter broach is from the West Highland Way – ordered online because I didn’t buy it at the beginning and there were none available at the end.  And the Celtic Red Deer came from the shop at Jarlshof on our last day before heading to Glasgow then home.  The shells are from an afternoon of beachcombing on Eigg, where we were also treated to the official island piper, Donna, playing Happy Birthday as one of the boats left port.

Clò Mòr II
Flùr na h-Alba
(Flower(s) of Scotland)

When we visited Scotland in 2111, all the flowers were in glorious bloom.  Everywhere the hills were purple with heather and the perfume was almost overwhelming.  This is my interpretation of a bouquet of wildflowers, pinned up with some North Ronaldsay wool which I found on the Orkney Mainland.

Flower of Scotland is a song written by Roy Williamson of the Corries in 1967 to commemorate the victory of the Scots led by Robert the Bruce over England’s Edward II at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.  It’s become the anthem for the Scottish Rugby team and many Scots would like it to be their National Anthem.  The classic video is of the 1990’s 5 Nations Rugby Cup match where Scotland (the underdogs) went on to defeat England 13 – 7.  Rivals a New Zealand All Blacks Hakka for power.

Thanks to Trac (the regional Alberta library consortium) for enabling me to borrow the many books on creating 3 dimensional flowers from fabric – some of the flowers are from patterns from the 1990s as well as more recent books.  The buttons for flower centers are some more of the Harray Potters (he would like to remind everybody that he had his name first).  Fabric was all handpainted with a class at Seams Easy.

The Flower of Scotland

O flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Words and music: Roy Williamson. (c) The Corries (Music) Ltd.
Website: http://www.corries.com/

The Flower of Scotland (Gaelic translation)

O Fhlùir na h-Albann,
cuin a chì sinn
an seòrsa laoich
a sheas gu bàs 'son
am bileag feòir is fraoich,
a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaidh
air chaochladh smaoin?

Na cnuic tha lomnochd
's tha duilleach Foghair
mar bhrat air làr,
am fearann caillte
dan tug na seòid ud gràdh,
a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaigh
air chaochladh smaoin.

Tha 'n eachdraidh dùinte
ach air dìochuimhne
chan fheum i bhith,
is faodaidh sinn èirigh
gu bhith nar Rìoghachd a-rìs a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaidh
air chaochladh smaoin.

(translation by John Angus Macleod)

After listening to a number of versions of this song, I then moved over and read Jack Whyte's The Renegade (early years of Robert the Bruce) and I see that the next book in the series is now available.  The Scots take their history very seriously, even if it happened centuries ago.

Stay tuned for the final Clò Mòr - Standing Stones will be the theme and I'll include some of our pictures, too.

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