Taigh-dubh is the Gaelic word for blackhouse, the crofter's traditional stone cottage. The name, blackhouse derived from the soot-lined walls caused by the open peat fire. On a recent trip to Harris and North Uist in the outer Herbides, we were captivated by the beautiful walls of our cottage, a recently built blackhouse.
We also came across a semi-derelict blackhouse on North Uist, after we had visited the Uist Mill. Beautiful rounded slabs of rock created the walls. These are some of the oldest rocks in the world: Precambrian banded Lewisian gneisses; metamorphic gabbros of the Scourie Dykes; and metamorphic sedimentary schists.
Having purchased a quantity of stunning undyed Canach yarns from Uist Wool, and three colours of Scottish Uist wool dyed by Old Maiden Aunt Yarns, I instantly knew that I wanted to create a design that interpreted the walls of these cottages. The design, called Taigh-dubh, shows the outline of a number of rounded slabs of rock, some with dappled lines reminiscent of the banded gneisses. Small areas of hand embroidery signify the lichens that grow on the walls of the blackhouse. I have also incorporated a sailing boat motif in the design, as the crofters who lived in these cottages not only worked the land and kept sheep or cattle, but were often fishermen too. The reverse sides of the project bags have been made with beautiful complimentary Harris Tweed woven by Becca of Taobh Tuath Tweeds on the Isle of Harris.
These limited edition bags are now available for sale online.