Part of the ongoing saga of the sheep Spiro and Agnew, as some readers may remember, is that their enormous fleeces were bundled into bags and taken to the local weavers for them to exercise their mystery upon, on the grounds that Waste is Wicked. The wool is of quite coarse quality, but we thought it night be nice for Miss T to learn how to weave, and maybe make a hairy tie for her dad’s Christmas (since I have never seen him wear a tie, this shouldn’t cause the poor man too much grief). By arrangement, therefore, we met the weavers at a craft fair in Banff, and they handed over a charming little affair called an inkle loom which they had knocked up, all ready set up, with a couple of inches of tie all ready made. They have also lent me a book, Inkle Weaving: A Comprehensive Manual, which is a sobering read. There are chapters called ‘Simple pick-ups’, ‘Double pick-ups’ and ‘Intensive pick-ups’, which sound as if they are about something else entirely. And one called ‘Knubbling your Knots’, which ought, one feels, to come with a warning that this is illegal in the state of Utah. As so often, one is led to reflect that craftspersons are a species unto themselves. Inkle Weaving does, in actual cold fact contain the phrase ‘every home should have one’; but when it comes to the point of suggesting things to do with narrowish strips (which is basically what inkle looms produce) the answer is that one creates things that no person in their right mind would actually want. ‘Summer and Winter with the Navajo…’ ‘Home for Christmas…’ ‘Bolivian Pebble Weave …’ ‘Christmas Cards by the Yard …’ ‘An Evening Bag…’ the headings alone tell you all you need to know, viz. that it is all FRIGHTFUL. All you can say in mitigation is that it seems to be technically impossible to produce pictures of Flower Fairies with an inkle loom, though twee samplers can be managed. As with wood-turners, there is this slightly desperate feeling that in the world of Homecrafts, enormous technical skill is almost always combined with the most gruesome lack of any sense of design, and the results unfettered by any such inhibiting factor as taste (incidentally, I exonerate the local weavers themselves from this general statement. They make beautiful things, and did us a really lovely woven rag rug the other year). Never mind. The inkle loom is a pleasing little object, and perhaps I will get the hang of knubbling my knots, given time and a following wind. Meanwhile, it is being kept, moreover, firmly out of the way of Miss Kit, who might, in herself, constitute a rather knubblier knot than it was designed to cope with.