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Making of a Harris Tweed Jacket

“Harris Tweed means a tweed that has been hand-woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

  - The Harris Tweed Act, 1993


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The black-faced sheep that litter the rugged island moorlands have traditionally been the exclusive source of wool for Harris Tweed. Their wool has evolved to withstand the harshness of the local conditions and, therefore, makes for an unmatchable warmth and strength of fabric. After the sheep are sheared, the wool is washed, dried and packed at a scouring mill, before being sent on to auction

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The wool then travels to the tweed mills on the Isle of Lewis. Here the strands of wool are dyed and ‘carded’ or, put through a machine, which rolls the wool into yarn. The yarn is wrapped on bobbins and passed on to the crofting villages, which populate the otherwise sparse islands. As the weaving is done almost exclusively within the local cottages, it is a family business and a skill that has been passed down through many generations. A whole genre of gaelic songs has arisen surrounding the process the weaving and walking and are sung to this day

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The weavers send the wool back to the mill, where it is darned and washed. The fabric is branded every two metres with the orb seal that establishes it as authentic Harris Tweed

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I love personally visiting the mills to review the glorious fabrics and discuss the shades and patterns. I come back loaded with samples

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