Leith Customs House 26th July

National Museum H.QP 3,4 & 7 Straw plaiting tools, Orkney

Today, Lyndsay and Irene Mackay were in the stores. Irene is a former curator of the National Museum, who really systematised the basketry collection. The photographs we feature on this site from NMS were all commissioned in her time, and she put together a book which holds all key information on the collection. This is invaluable.

We have been going through the collections cupboard by cupboard, and today was the day we saw the Orkney straw-plaiting industry material.  Great to see material evidence of this much spoken of industry. These included a straw-winder or check reel,  a straw rope twister, tools for splitting straw, samples of prepared RYE straw from Sandwick, and horn needles for sewing the straw.

National Museum of Scotland H.QP 10, 9, 8, 5, 6, 2 Basket making tools

Aside from the Orkney material were some miniature creels and sculls from Moray and Newhaven, along with a split cane scull, a great line basket from Wigtownshire, and a murlin, used by Newhaven fishwives.

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