Crottle once used as a dye for the famed Gairloch hose.

My crottle (lichen) inspired wrap apron, original drawings and
 photographs from Gairloch Museum and Lairg Historical Society Archive are to be exhibited at Inverewe Botanical Gardens  from 6th April to 9th May.

Crottle once used as a dye for the famed Gairloch hose.
This is what I found out:

In 1863,  Dowager Lady Mackenzie purchased the land at Inverewe - Her son, Osgood Mackenzie started the gardens, and was continued by his daugther Mairi, until it was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 1952.

During the famine years (1840's), Dowager Lady Mackenzie applied for funds from the Destitution Board to enable the women of Gairloch area  to learn the skills of spining, dyeing, knitting and weaving. It was reported that over 100 women were involved and their products were prized.

Joanne B Kaar - crottle (lichens once used as a dye) inspired design on a traditional wrap style apron .
Combining work clothing with the activitiy.

The Gairloch hose
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An extract from  "Gairloch In North-West Ross-Shire,  Its Records, Traditions, Inhabitants, and Natural History With A Guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree And a Map and  Illustrations
Author: John H. Dixon  1886.
Chapter VI Language and dress.

"....Gairloch is justly celebrated for its hose, which are knitted in immense variety of pattern and colour, some being in imitation of old forms of tartan. In the old days the hose worn with the Highland costume were cut from the same web as the tartan of which other parts of the dress were made, but now all hose are knitted. The "diced" patterns are relics of the old tartans.
The Dowager Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch writes as follows regarding the Gairloch hose:—"At my first visit to Gairloch, in 1837, I employed a lady from Skye who was staying at Kerrysdale to instruct twelve young women in knitting nice stockings with dice and other fancy patterns. When I came to act as trustee, and to live constantly at Flowerdale, I started the manufacture of the Gairloch stockings in earnest, having spinners, dyers, and knitters, all taught and superintended during the ten years I resided there; on my leaving and going abroad, Sir Kenneth gave the concern into the hands of the head gamekeeper, Mr George Ross. Now, dozens of pairs are brought by the women to the hotels and steamers, and large quantities go to Inverness, Edinburgh, and London; £100 worth has been sold in one shop....."


And what did they use to dye their yarn?

Below is an extract from "The Clans, Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands" by Frank Adam First published in 1908.


click text below to enlarge.

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Theres a few photographs of women in the Gairloch area wearing floral house dresses /wrap aprons. These photos are in the collection of Gairloch Heritage Museum . Click here to see one of the photographs.