Tomintoul Coat Project

Stephanie HoyleReports

A builder renovating a cottage in the square at Tomintoul found a coat hidden in the rafters. It was dated to the 1830s. The community got lottery funding to research and create a replica which could be openly displayed in the heritage centre. Two child sized coats have also been made so that children can try them on. The 14th March was set as the date for a workshop day at the end of the project, and the Guild was asked to participate – a talk about spinning, weaving and dyeing, particularly relating to the period the coat was thought to have been made, plus interactive demonstration of spinning and weaving.

I trawled my book collection for historical information for the talk. Gill, Fiona and Christine came along to demonstrate spinning and help people to have a go. Ada loaned me a large selection of natural dye samples; Fiona also brought some of hers. Linda and Sue were there as participants, but Linda had also brought along some of her natural dye experiments and was able to talk to participants about this.

I set up my small rigid heddle loom with a black and white warp for a shepherd’s plaid type check pattern, and my small 4-shaft with a basic twill with a navy warp and lime green weft. We also had spindles and a pirn.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the day. There was a huge amount of interest in our crafts. A lot of people had a go and fairly competently!

We were of course just one part of the day. We also heard interesting talks on the history of the village, and the way the coat was dated, and we had the opportunity to have a close look at (but not touch!) the coat.