If you have watched the short film below, it gives you some idea of how we did it. We started by washing a dyeing local fleece. For this wall hanging we use cheviot wool we had collected from local farms. Cheviot fleece varies quite bit, but the first wool from a lamb can be quite soft and it absolutely perfect for things like this, as it is strong so works well for larger wall hangings. I would not really use it for items that were going to be close to the skin, I tend to use Shetland wool for clothing.
We washed the fleece over a number of days and then hand dyed it, using natural dyes including; gorse, onion skins, nettles, madder and indigo. We over dyed to get the purples and extra greens e.g. dipping wool dyed yellow into blue to make the green.
After the wool had dried, I carded what I needed and then laid out the undyed white fleece. I then lay down the colours representing the hills. The whole thing was then sprinkled with warm soapy water.
We got the wool really wet and then rolled it up in the hessian and tarp, around a wooden roller, which Ian made especially for the job. When the whole thing was rolled around the roller we tied it up tight. Then Nutmeg began her part! She was harnessed up and the roller was attached. She was brilliant, so calm, especially as she is only young. Ian and his boys then led and rode Nutmeg around the field, this part took about two hours! After an hour we checked the wool and wetted it again and then carried on. After another hour we unrolled the whole thing – and it had worked!
Incase you were wondering the wall hanging depicts elements of Strathglass and the hills behind, the picture just shows it in part! It wasn’t bad for a first attempt at a Mongolian technique in Scotland.
Now all we have to do is a little needle felting to add some detail.