In mid June John headed to the Isle of Lewis to visit Harris Tweed Hebrides. In the Campbell’s Land Rover of course, an early start to catch the morning ferry, beautiful skies and a flat calm sea, John arrived in Stornaway and headed for the mill in Shawbost. Harris Tweed Hebrides is a spinning and finishing mill. This is because the weaving of Harris Tweed is done independently by the hand weavers. Once the fibre is dyed, carded and spun into yarn, the warps are prepared and sent to the individual and independent weavers to weave up by inserting the weft yarns. The pieces are then collected by the mill and returned to the factory for QC and finishing. The final part of the process is to insert the Orbel, signifying that the tweed is official Harris Tweed. Harris Tweed has a very distinct look and handle, it is the king of all “Shetland type” fabrics, with a slightly coarse handle and rugged look to it.
At the factory John had a tour of the production facilities and the new state of the art dyehouse that has been installed. It was then onto focusing on design and looking at the many new patterns that have been produced for the new range, selecting which were suitable for Campbell’s, and then taking swatches of this selection back to Beauly for final selection. In the coming weeks, we will finalise which we will purchase and then send in our bulk orders for these cloths. Lead times can vary from 12-16 weeks depending on how busy the mill is, and at this time of year, and on this occasion, the mill is very busy! We also had a special commission of Hunting Macpherson tartan to get remade, last made on the islands in 1992!
Take a look at the photos from the trip below: