Harris Tweed from Outer Hebrides of Scotland
Harris Tweed is produced in the Outer Hebrides, on the one island with two names, separated only by a mountain range - the islands of Lewis and Harris.
The story begins with pure virgin wools, which are blended to gain the advantages of their unique qualities and characteristics.
In the early summer, the communities on the mainland of Scotland round up and shear the local sheep to add to the mainland clip.
The raw undid wool is taken to the island mills where it is washed and dyed into an endless palette of colours; this 'dyed in the wool' process is unique to Harris Tweed.
After drying, the coloured wools are blended in a predetermined and secret recipe, then carded and spun to produce the spectrum of yarns that enhance the uniqueness of our finished cloth.
The spun yarn is then warped, where the final pattern of the colours is prepared by winding the threads onto large beams to create the warp.
The warp is delivered, together with the bobbins of yarn for the weft, to the homes of the weavers along with a pattern instruction card from the mill.
All Harris Tweed must be, by law, handwoven on a trade loom by the weaver at his own home. Once complete, the bolts of raw, unfinished tweed are collected from outside the croft gate and returned to the mill for finishing.
Harris Tweed Weavers throughout Lewis and Harris are self employed craftsmen and women, often having learnt the Craft from their forefathers over many years.
The 'greasy' cloth from the oily loom is now thoroughly washed and conditioned removing any impurities. After finishing, the last and vital stage of production can begin.
The tweed is then presented to the Harris Tweed Authority's inspectors, and only if all the necessary regulations have been complied with, it is stamped with the Certification Mark - or Orb Mark.
The orb stamp is the mark of authenticity and the woven label issued with the cloth to the customer confirms it.