Sunday, 24 January 2010

Making Progress- and a day out in the sun

On Friday we nipped up to Harris Tweed Hebrides at Shawbost, Isle of Lewis to pick up the Hebridean wool spinning they had done for us. I was expecting just a few tubes and was very excited to see three big sacks full of beautiful yarn which qualifies to be woven into Harris Tweed as it was spun in the Outer Hebrides.

Below is a picture of one tube - it smells like a fank full of Heb sheep, and is a gorgeous dark chocolate brown colour. I am just over the moon with happiness! Thank you to everyone who helped to make this possible - the folks with the sheep (including my O/H), Harris Tweed Textiles who did much of the preparation work, and HTH of course. Unfortunately the downside is that this is a one-off production - apparently the carding was a real pain in the neck and very time-consuming, so HTH said they aren't going to repeat it. Apparently the wool is too coarse for the cards they usually use (these days most Harris Tweed is principally Cheviot which is quite different in character to Hebridean).

So - Plan B (or maybe X or Y) is that in future I shall send my fleeces to Natural Fibres in Launceston, Cornwall and they will process them through to pre-spun cheeses (everything except the twist). Then I will hand-twist it from the cheeses into a yarn. If I could get a small spinning machine that would be super, but meantime I will do it on the Ashford spinning wheel jumbo flyer. This will qualify the yarn for use as Harris Tweed. Ahhh, progress at last. Now I just have to start weaving......

Changing the subject totally, yesterday was a fabby day - sunny and not too windy. It was one of the days each month that I travel round South Harris to deliver the latest edition of the free local newspaper "Events Monthly" published by Intermedia Services Ltd, Stornoway. Our route takes us from Tarbert through the Bays of Harris - Grosebay, Leacklee, Geocrab, Manish, Finsbay, Leverburgh and finally Northton, stopping at lots of places to deliver papers. At Northton we stop at a quiet little beach to exercise Bramble and Pippin who have been sitting patiently in the back of the van. Here's a picture of Pippin trying to avoid the surf.

Later in the afternoon we walked to the end of our croft and I took a piccie of the three little standing stones. Legend has it that they mark the burial place of several shipwrecked sailors. Not sure about that, but our last cat is certainly buried at the side of one.

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