St Thomas School's P6 and 7 teacher Mrs Francis has been working with Crofting Connections who provided funding for a 24” ridged heddle loom.
As a precursor to their visit to the Woolmill next Wednesday, Learning and Outreach Co-ordinator Garance visited them to help them assemble their loom, give them a background about the Woolmill, it's heritage and what the Woolmill is producing just now.
Knockando Woolmill was awarded the 'Highly Commended' prize in the Community Benefit category at the RICS National Awards on Friday 17th October. This award "recognises outstanding achievement in providing a facility which directly benefits the local community". Up against competition from all around the UK, we are thrilled for the Woolmill's restoration to have received such an accolade! The award follows success at the RICS Scotland Awards, where the Woolmill took home both the Project of the Year and Community Project titles.
The RICS state: "Knockando Woolmill is a unique complex of fragile category A listed buildings which has remained in continuous production for over 200 years. Multi agency funding was secured by the Woolmill Trust for a programme of repair and renewal, overseen by LDN Architects, which enables visitors to access the site, enhances the production of textiles and promotes skills training. Completed in 2012, it is already proving a success in terms of both visitor numbers and operations".
225g of self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 beaten egg
1 tsp of mixed spice
1. Put the dried fruits in a large bowl and cover with the whisy and tea. Leave overnight so that the fruits can soak up the flavours and become plump.
2. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and flour a 900g loaf tin.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients to the soaked fruit, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check the cake about 50 minutes into the bake, and if the top is browning too quickly cover with tin foil. To test whether it is cooked insert a skewer, if this comes out clean the cake is ready.
4. The loaf will keep for a week in an airtight container. Serve sliced and spread with butter.
Norman Kennedy, renowned spinner and weaver, joined us at the Woolmill today for a song and a short lesson in spinning.
Originally hailing from Aberdeen, Norman spent five years as Master Weaver in Colonial Williamsburg before settling inVermont and founding the Marshfield School of Weaving. The school focuses on handing down the traditions of generations past, and teaching time honoured skills and methods.
Hand carding the grey Norwegian Dala wool
Showing how to spin a fine Shetlace Lace weight
Norman also treated us to a traditional Gaelic Waulking song - video coming soon!
The BBC's Beechgrove Garden Team joined us again this morning, filming an update about the Woolmill garden. Presenter Jim McColl was on hand (wearing his Knockando Woolmill Tweed Cap!), showing how we use selvedge from the dornier looms for composting.
The BBC Beechgrove Garden episode featuring the Woolmill will be on BBC Scotland on Thursday the 21st August, and will be on BBC2 nationwide on Sunday the 24th.
Our first family activity of the Summer started with the sun shining and the group rummaging through the flower beds collecting some lovely colourul plants. These were made up into vegetation bundles ready for steaming. Whilst the steaming was taking place, the group learned how to make medieval braids with yarn until the bundles were ready to be unravelled!