Baskets in Tolsta

Dawn Susan brought a selection of different baskets along to Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Cafe at Tolsta on Tuesday.

We all chatted about different uses for baskets and which ones had been made through the project.

We talked about my upcoming epic walk with a creel and peats through Shawbost (epic for me but everyday for the women of Shawbost in years gone by). We talked about the strap and the back pad.

‘I made it with old clothes just stuffed together and tied it around my waist – firm but it kept the creel off my lower back. And it was full! Piled high! There is quite a skill in that, you know, stacking it high so it doesn’t fall.’ One lady keenly shared her first hand knowledge.

Dawn learned creel making from Donald, a basket maker in Shawbost, where I now live. I will be making a podcast about the peats with my neighbour, shortly. I wonder if he remembers him?

We spoke about the original chicken-in-a-basket where a basket was popular in the 1960s as a handbag. It was the right shape for a broody hen.

One basket Dawn brought along was a copy of one from the Highland Folk Museum and the shape would keep eggs separate, which was a very clever design.

Dawn shared the story of the Ciosan, through the Woven Communities Project.

She also spoke about her oak basket, great for herring sorting and her frame/hoop baskets and how they are made.

We decided to hold a basket making day in Tolsta in January, when the willow is ready.

We finished with making a silent wind chime and a snail, made with the same materials but divided in different ways. 7/2 and 4/5 for 9 lengths of willow.

The tea was lovely and I brought a peach cake and plum tart, plus some cherry almond scones.

13 if us enjoyed the session and Roddy John (from Ness) led grace.