Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Past Week

Goodness me! It's a week since my last blog and its not because there is nothing happening at Scalpay Linen. In fact its been quite an exciting period as regards planning and production and I've been a bit pre-occupied as a result. However, I have managed to grab the camera at various stages, with some jolly results.

The new warp is now on the beam (see below) and is just gorgeous. I'm busy tying in and am hoping to have a little bit of weft in by the end of the day if all goes well. The quality of the yarn is stunning - wet spun and very glossy. I can't wait to see the finished linsey woolsey.

We have had quite a bit of rain and wind this week - with an amazingly warm and sunny day on Thursday. There were a lot of rainbows too and I managed to capture this one for you to see...

We also managed to get a picture of the white naked neck chick - Meryl. Still not sure whether its a "he" or a "she" but its very glamorous.
One morning I got this photo of the full moon against a lovely pink sunrise. It was such an atmospheric effect!
. During the week we went to both the mills - the mill at Shawbost aka Harris Tweed Hebrides, where we picked up the green checked linen. Wow, its great. Very soft and drapey. Our finishing guru at the mill, Donald, said it was the best yet and I had to agree. Think my warping is improving in leaps and bounds (at last!). Haven't got a piccie of this linen yet, but I will get one and add it into the blog asap. We also dropped off the yellow, brown and turquoise linen to be finished.
We called in a the Carloway Mill, aka Harris Tweed Textiles, who have been struggling a bit with my Hebridean fleeces. They have a whole cupboard full of it cleaned and teased, but despite trying with both their carding machines, its not carding up at all well. So the only solution to this problem is to add some other fibre to bind it together. This was a bit of a depressing thought since my unique selling point for the new Harris Tweed that we are developing is that it is to be made from wool sourced locally - ideally Hebridean Sheep wool. However, the best laid plans etc. etc. so whilst retaining the concept, we have somewhat tweaked the details.....
In South Harris there is a flock of Cheviot sheep which are of exceptional fleece quality. If you follow Calana Crafts blog (see my link list), you may recall that Joan had some of this spun up as knitting wool a few years ago, and marketed it very successfully as locally grown. After a hurried phone call to Borve to check that Richard still had his clip on the premises, he has agreed to supply me with about 30kgs of greasy cheviot which the mill is going to dye brown and then blend with our Hebridean to produce a yarn which will still be locally produced, though not pure Hebridean. However, it will probably be softer for the addition of 10 - 15% of Cheviot. Interestingly, we had provisionally pencilled in an approach to Borve to see if we could use their fleece next year for spinning and dyeing to give us a wider shade palette (assuming that our cash flow holds up). All that remains for me to do is get an exemption from the British Wool Board to enable me to get the fleece direct from the owner rather than go through the Board, which is the usual procedure in the UK, and we will be hopefully then be ready to roll...
Now, I'm normally a pretty laid-back individual as a rule, but I must admit that this was not an easy problem to sort out. Lots of thanks to everyone who has helped us - Steve at Carloway, Richard at Borve, the Wool Board office, Lorna at the Harris Tweed Association who has been very supportive, all our Hebridean fleece suppliers on Lewis without whom we would not have got this far, and my O/H who is always the epitome of common sense!
Now its back to tying-in and winding bobbins.


Anonymous said...

I've just stumbled upon your blog and want to say 'hi' before I get down to reading all your posts.

Scalpay Linen said...

Welcome to the blog. Hope you like it.