Harris Tweed is a cloth handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. Originally this handmade fabric was woven by crofters for familial use, ideal for protection against the colder climate of the North of Scotland. Surplus cloth was often traded or used as barter, eventually becoming a form of currency amongst the islanders. For example, it was not unusual for rents to be paid in blankets or lengths of cloth. By the end of the eighteenth century, the spinning of wool yarn from local raw materials was a staple industry for crofters. Finished handmade cloth was exported to the Scottish mainland and traded along with other commodities produced by the Islanders, such as dry hides, goat and deer skins.
The original name of the cloth was tweel, Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. A traditional story has the name coming about almost by chance. Around 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders. Subsequently the goods were advertised as Tweed, and the name has remained ever since.
The rare character and beauty of Harris Tweed is attributable to the fact that it is the only fabric produced in commercial quantities by truly traditional methods anywhere in the world. Hundreds of distinctive patterns developed over the centuries, each unique but unmistakably Harris Tweed with its characteristic subtle designs in complex natural shades. Unusually the wool is dyed before being spun, allowing a blend of a multitude of colours into the yarn. With each thread containing a myriad of different colours, a cloth of great depth and complexity is produced. Just look closely to reveal the true nature of your Harris Tweed.
We are proud to offer a selection of bags and accessories from Harris Tweed, if you cannot see what you are looking for the than why give us a call on 03333 441124 or use our contact form for more information.