The weaving may be the soulful elegant part of the Harris Tweed process and who wouldn’t fall for the iconic grace of a Hattersley loom but there are charms to the milling of the fabric.
The sea of wool drifting into the carding machine is a thing of beauty. Each individual micron saturated with colour and character, smoothed, teased and twisted into soft embryonic yarns. Warping and weaving follow and we shall feature these key processes over the coming months.
As tweed production builds up towards full capacity the Mill and its well-groomed machinery become crucially important. A breakdown can set production back weeks and impinge upon designers and retailers who will have reserved a time-line for ‘cutting’ their collections.
Visiting the Hebrides is always a pleasure but late January holds a special ambience. The moors are golden brown with a soft red undertone and occasionally a Stag will be seen scoping the moor, searching out safe passage for his herd. The days are short and the wind bites cold but as the daylight increases there is a sense that the back of the harsh winter is broken.
Hundreds of pieces of tweed (a piece is an industry term for a 55m roll of Harris Tweed) leave our mill every week. In each case the hands of many artisans have insured that we dispatch the perfect product. This week the majority bound for the land of the rising sun, Rather fitting as we believe in striving for perfection through constant improvement; a process the Japanese call Kaizen.