Friday, May 6, 2011

Bluebells and hay ropes

Spring is really here. The bluebells are out and next-to-impossible to truly catch on film. (Or should I say memory card...)

The Roscommon Lamb Festival was a success again this year, with 1,147 knitters converging on the town to break the world record of people knitting in the same place at the same time. There's just a small fraction of them pictured below. There was a great atmosphere, and even mexican waves of knitting.
I also met some lovely gentlemen who taught me how to make hay ropes for sheep.

The rope is pulled from a bundle of hay, by twisting it into a coil. Very like spinning yarn.When long enough, it is folded back on itself and twisted the opposite direction to make a rope.
It is then tied off at the end and the knot is pushed through the opposite end to go around a sheep's neck.There's my one below, not as strong as the ones they made, but passable!They were impressed with my efforts. Its so lovely to learn a dying craft off people who used to use it all the time. One rope was used for tying around a sheep's neck to bring it to the market, and the other longer one for tying the legs together.

The length was tested around your leg - if it fit around your thigh it was long enough for the neck. They also took care to trim off the bits of hay poking out all over before finishing it.

Of course rope is now cheap and plentiful so nobody does this anymore.

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