Photograph of three harvests knots.
Courtesy of Mr Lachlan MacLean
These harvest knots were made in 2003 by Lachie MacLean of Kenovay who learned how to make them from his father. They would be plaited from straw at the end of harvest and either worn in a buttonhole, attached to horses’ harnesses or displayed in church.
A thick stem is selected from the base of the plant, often small oats or rye, the outer skin peeled away and cut into 18 inch lengths between the nodes. Two pieces are tied together at one end, plaited, then tied in a simple knot and secured with thread.
It is an old custom that seems not to have a well-known Gaelic name on Tiree and may have been imported from the Lowlands of Scotland by migrant harvest workers. It is also known as a True Lover’s Knot and in Ireland is worn at weddings.