Saturday, 8 January 2011

New Harris Tweed on the shelf...

Just before Shawbost Mill closed for Christmas holidays, we collected our new Harris Tweed that they had finished for us.  Now this tweed has been on the go for months - it took ages to warp, ages to weave, it sat around for ages whilst I was in Japan, then I left it in the mill for ages.  So when it came back, I'd almost forgotten what it looked like!

There are three basic wefts in the tweed, together with accent ends.  The above picture shows the plain Hebridean weft (the one with the orb mark on it), which is much softer than the others and has a quite strange shot effect when you move the cloth about.  To the right is the scarlet and pink - two shots of each which gives a lovely warm rich look when combined with the shading of the warp.  And at the bottom cloth has pink and blue - again two shots of each.   


 Above is a close up showing the first accent threads I used in the warp.  On the warping mill it looked great but when I started weaving I thought they looked too bold.  When the tweed came back finished we liked them with the red and pink weft (top) but still felt they were too heavy for the pink and blue(bottom).  However, they do have a certain charm and tone down quite a lot when viewed from a distance.

So then we put in some space dyed accent ends - they featured in the blog a while ago when I was using some Landscape dyes.  These turned out very subtle on the red and pink (above) but I like the effect very much.

On the pink and blue they worked really well.  Sorry for the pathetic photo which doesn't show the colours up at all well.  If you nip back to then you can see some of the space dyed yarns that went into this tweed.

On the whole, we are really pleased with the effect of the space dyed element in the cloth and hope to develop this more in the future.

Now for something completely different.....

Up here in the Western Isles, we are very much aware of our position balanced on the edge of Europe, surrounded by sea - the Minch to the east and the North Atlantic to the west.  Every year people get into difficulties due to our maritime situation, and we are very reliant on the Coastguard service to help.  As someone who comes from a fishing family, it is reassuring to know that there is someone there to help in the event of an emergency, and the Coastguards help numerous small craft users and holidaymakers each year too.
Now we find that, due to government budget cuts, we may lose our Coastguard Station at Stornoway.  I quote from an appeal which is being circulated to gather support to retain the station:

"We are asking for the support of our community to ensure that those who live, work or play on or around the seas and also our diverse, beautiful but often hostile coastline, continue to be served by a Coastguard Station which has vital local knowledge of our unique environment and society.
If you would like to help us please e-mail: or go to to find out how."

Whilst we all know that budgetary cuts are inevitable, it seems not quite right to cut a service which in 2009 co-ordinated the rescue of 684 people across the district which stretches from the west coast of scotland northwards and into mid-Atlantic.


christinelaennec said...

Beautiful wools! And I agree the thought of closing the Coast Guard Station in Stornoway is pretty scary. Thanks for the link.

JM said...

Ooh, must take a drive to the Outend for a peak!