I’m starting a new hooking project and want to include some Harris Tweed which I bought on the island of Harris last fall. Getting the pieces of HT out and washing them had me looking at our photos of Carloway and our visit to the weaving studio. Here is one of the looms all ‘dressed’ with metres of finished woven fabric rolled on the beam. Below is the bobbin winder where the wool is transferred from cones to bobbins; these bobbins fit in the shuttle which gets thrown back and forth between the threads of the warp to make the weft. Warp and weft beaten together make the tweed.
To be labelled Harris Tweed, the fabric must be spun, dyed and handwoven by islanders in their homes on the Outer Hebrides from 100% purse Scottish wool. In Stornoway we could have purchased 60″ wide Harris Tweed, but here in Carloway, the fabric woven is the traditional 36″ width, now a ‘niche’ market we were told. This photo shows the wool ready to be put on the loom as the warp. You can see the beautifully hand-dyed colours.
Here are the four small pieces I purchased, hues reflecting colours of the hillside surrounding the weaving studio. Just handling them brings the experience of that beautiful rugged island back. I look forward to incorporating them into a new mat. More on that soon.