The traditions of producing handmade items for use in Gaelic Scotland in and out of the home was common for our ancestors living in that time.
Many of the Gaels living in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland were unable to purchase materials they needed for their homes due to their remoteness. Often the Gaels would gather material that they found in their surrounding area to building their homes and other things they needed.
Items such as baskets or creels were commonly found throughout the houses in the Highlands and Islands. One type of basket was known as a mùdag (moo-dak), an egg shaped basked which was carried under the arm and used for collecting wool. The baskets were handmade by the women who would gather twigs, shrubs and grass and than weave them together to make their desired shape.
The mùdag was frequently used for storing wool from the sheep. Often the women would walk through the heather shrubs to collect the sheep’s wool that had been pulled off them while they were grazing in the pastures. The sheep would make their way through the fields and their wool coat naturally sheds. Which is different from sheep we most often see today that need to sheered.
After the wool was collected in the mùdag it would need to be cleaned of dirt and debris, washed and combed before it was spun. They used this wool for making clothing such as socks and sweaters. Much of this work was done while the Gaels sung working songs.