Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fabric Knowledge - Harris Tweed

I would like to make a follow up to the post on Ventile to another legendary British fabric. This is even more legendary, namely Harris Tweed.
Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world, that has its own legislation (remember this post?) and it is quite easily recognized by the Orb logo. For a tweed cloth to be qualified for the title Harris Tweed it must be made of pure virgin wool, that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides, and it must also be woven by people living in the Outer Hebrides. In their own homes or sheds to be exact.

I won't be going into much more detail, so if you feel a slight lack of information, then please rest assured, that James Taylor AKA Tweedydon will return with more posts on tweed and Harris Tweed in the future. If you have any questions regarding Harris Tweed, let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them myself or forward them to James. He is the expert. But please let me tell you, that if you haven't had the pleasure of touching the heft of a Harris Tweed, then start hitting your local thrift stores - or high street shops, as a lot of modern brands are using Harris Tweed in special make-ups.

When I first saw this book available for pre-order, I added it to my basket and ordered it along with some other books, which I had been meaning to order for quite some time. Well, I forgot, I actually e-mailed James about the book, as the very first thing. But then I ordered it. And I'm glad I did.
"Harris Tweed - From Land to Street" by Lara Platman is a nice book, that covers the subject of Harris Tweed. If you already know some, you will probably not learn anything, substantially new, however the pictures of the home-weavers and their looms are, what makes this book worth anything. To me at least. They are small portraits of true artisans, which have a craft, that can't be replicated anywhere in the world and it shows, that you don't need much room - or light - to create some magnificent patterns and textures within the boundaries of tweed.

Here are some pics, that I took from the book.

When mentioning Harris Tweed, I think we should also pay attention to the blog, The Croft, which is about a man, who has returned to the Outer Hebrides to take up weaving himself after having spent some time in the city. The blog has all the links and information, you need on Harris Tweed and finally it is quite good a keeping somewhat updated on all the "new" products, that are being launched using Harris Tweed.

I found these pictures on The Croft, and I couldn't help but share them. They are taken by the photographer Ian Lawson and apparently they haven't been manipulated in any way. They will be published in a book with the title "From the Land", which will be released within a year or so.


  1. Excellent!
    You should do a thing on Mackintosh as well :D

  2. Hi, of course I'm also planning on doing one on rubberised cotton... When talking about iconic fabrics, you would be hard pressed not to mention it.

    Do you have other suggestions?

  3. Of course there is also British Millerain, but obviously that is more common..
    Iconic fabrics by name I think is tougher to find, rather than iconic fabrics by quality and characteristics :)

  4. Yep, Millerain, Waxwear and some of the other traditional makers of waxed cotton will also be featured.

    Thanks for your input though.

  5. Perhaps to known? But Gore-Tex would be an obvious choice. Or how about Oilskin?

  6. Yeah, and maybe Pertex. Oilskin falls under the category of waxed fabrics.

  7. However technically Gore-Tex is a membrane and not an actual fabric

  8. Technically a membrane is also a fabric ;) But ofc not an outer layer which you seem to have in mind.
    But how about Corduroy then?

  9. Corduroy would also make do. Personally I love corduroy and at the moment I wearing corduroy more often than denim.
    It would be a good opportunity to do some research on some good makers. If there are any... :-)