Best Tweed Fabric in the World
Where to buy tweed fabric
Harris Tweed from the Isle of Harris, Scotland
Harris Tweed: Scotland’s pride
Harris Tweed is produced in Scotland and is made from pure Virgin wool. It’s spun, dyed and finished in the Outer Hebrides and hand-woven by the local Islanders in their own houses.
The Orb Trademark: The mark of authenticity and protection from imitation
The Orb Trademark is stamped onto every cloth at the end or at the time of finishing and can be seen on traditional woven textiles. Only products made out of pure Virgin wool from the Outer Hebrides were eligible to get stamped as Harris Tweed trademark. This law came into existence in 1993 as the Harris Tweed Act of Parliament. Though owing to larger quantity requirements, wool from the United Kingdom is now eligible for making the cut as Harris Tweed.
Harris Tweed a century-old brand
It’s one of the most famous tweed brands in the world. Its Surface doesn’t give a smooth hand feel. It was woven by the artisans in the Outer Hebrides in the 18th century and was then introduced to the British aristocracy in the 1840s from where it came into limelight.
Harris Tweed today and its rising demand
Today, times have changed. Earlier the yarn used to be purely handspun but with the invention of Hattersley mark, 1 loom hand spinning came to an end. The weavers felt it was easy to operate and were able to produce more quantities of textiles than ever before.
The wool coming from the Outer Hebrides was falling short of requirement due to the rising demands of the Harris Tweed. Hence, pure virgin wool from the United Kingdom is now eligible for making the cut as Harris Tweed fabric.
Various patterns and designs have developed over the years but still one can witness the beauty of this fabric which involves a fusion of subtle designs with complex natural shades which enhances the total aesthetic appeal.
Variety of Tweeds
Tweed is available in a vast variety of patterns and there are a handful of weavers who work consistently to sustain the age-old heritage textile.
Plain Twill: This is referred to as a simple weave with a diagonal pattern running throughout.
Plain twill weave
Overcheck Twill: This is referred to as a design with large checks laid over the other in contrasting colors.
Plain Herringbone: The name herringbone is derived from the name of the fish herring. The patterns made in herringbone designs resemble a lot like the zig-zag bones of the fish.
Thus giving a broken twill feel to the fabric.
Overcheck Herringbone (Estate Tweed): This pattern can be referred to as a more advanced version of the plain herringbone pattern. In this weave, large check designs are woven in contrasting colors over the herringbone pattern. It is also known as ‘Estate Tweed.’
Barleycorn: Barleycorn tweeds are referred to as the tweeds which have a coarser hand feel. These weaves look a lot like the barley kernels from where the name has been derived.
Striped: This can be referred to as a type of pattern which involves vertical stripes of different size and colors.
From Shearing to Stamping
Shearing & Woolgather: Shearing and wool-gathering is the first step of making Harris Tweed. It is made up of pure virgin Wool which is blended together in order to gain the exact quality and trait of a Harris Tweed. In the summers, the wool is mainly grown on the Scottish highlands. The Islanders come together in order to shear the sheep.
Washing & Dyeing: Second in the process comes washing and dyeing. Different types of dyed wools are blended together to get a variety of shades and hues. Harris Tweed is eco-friendly and has non-allergic and biodegradable components.
Blending & Carding: The colored and white wools are weighed in predetermined proportions and then thoroughly blended to exact recipes to obtain the perfect hue. The perfectly blended wool is then passed through the toothed rollers which help in removing the fragile yarns from the rest.
Spinning: Next comes the spinning. Here the spun yarn is imparted with twists to give it a maximum level of strength. After this, the yarns are winded onto the bobbins or cones.
Warping: Warping is the most important and is really a tedious job. It requires skilled labor. A large number of threads are winded across the beam in a certain order to be used as warp upon weaving.
Weaving: Weaving is referred to as the interlinking of warp and weft yarns. Firstly, the yarns are set on the loom and then the weaver weaves the whole fabric according to the requirement. The weavers also keep an eye on the process so that they can remove or attach the broken yarns at any point in time until the whole fabric is woven.
Finishing: After the cloth gets stitched, it is sent to the finishing department to give a crisp and clean final touch. Here, the impurities like dust or any kind of stain is removed from the cloth by washing in soap water. Then it is finally dried and steam pressed to perfection. It helps in increasing the overall aesthetic appeal of the garment.
Stamping: Stamping is the final process of examination of the renowned Harris Tweed. In this process, the ‘Orb Trademark’ is stamped on the backside of the fabric. It is the ultimate seal of approval and authenticity without which a fabric cannot be sold under the tag of Harris Tweed.
INTERLACING HERITAGE WITH STYLE
A rare tweed fabric prepared by the weavers of the Indian Himalayas
Location: Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Taash is a beautiful Indian Himalayan Tweed woven by the weavers of Kinnaur, especially for Kinnaur Handcrafted. Taash or “pattu” as it is locally known is a short width coarse fabric made of sheep wool. The fabric is woven manually on wooden handmade shuttles. Generally, the width of the woven fabric comes around 90cm.
TAASH is generally used for making closed capes, overcoats, ladies’ suits, blazers, pants and menswear, and jackets.
Taash- Weaving Fabric and History
Kinnaur has been the land of weavers for almost 5000 years. The woolen cloth was the first requirement in the cold climate. Thus Kinnauri men and women spun woolen yarn on “taklis” or hand-spindles, weaving it into the fabric.
Kinnauri women wear traditional wrap dresses known as “pattu” worn as an over-garment. It is essentially heavier and thicker than a traditional shawl and pinned on both shoulders with the help of traditional brooches. There is a tradition amongst the locals where the man’s coat is made from the pure wool that comes from shearing the first lamb.
The key ideal of TAASH is to interlace heritage with style. We intend to bring to the forefront this genius fabric which has withstood the test of time in the most extreme weather conditions. To build a bridge between traditional techniques and timeless design.
Taash – Rare. Unique. Noncommercial
Because of its limited quantities owing to 100% hand weaving
Taash is one of the lesser-known and the most unique hand-woven textiles in the world. It’s one of the finest products of its kind and takes hours of skilled labor.
What makes it special is that it’s making involves no machines and is done purely on handlooms
It’s made in the traditional way and thus it retains a unique ruggedness in its texture.
This tweed fabric is not just fabric but an heirloom that can be passed onto generations.
It is woven in limited quantities and owned by those few who understand the value of craftsmanship.
Weaving the exclusive
At the TAASH units, nestled in valleys surrounded by high and mighty mountain peaks and passes – hand-spindles rotate softly creating fine thread from high-altitude sheep wool. The clickity-clack of the human-powered looms lends distinct music to the air, as the fabric gets constructed.
It takes our deft artisans, hours to make that fine thread with hand and rolling on spindles, mixing of colors manually. This process imbues each piece with its own personal character – as tension and force vary from spinner to spinner and weaver to weaver.
For those who appreciate the craftsmanship and the exclusivity of handmade, TAASH can be a valuable possession, incomparable to any of the luxury brands.
TAASH- Variety of Tweeds
Taash is available in a variety of patterns and new patterns, weaves and color palettes are added every season. The weavers of Kinnaur Handcrafted work consistently to maintain the quality of the tweed.
Tweed woven earthy browns and rust with a hint of blue
Classic herringbone rocky grey and white tweed with slubs in the shades of blues and browns
Classic herringbone wine and black tweed
Tweed woven in the shades of blue, inspired by the color of the sea
TAASH- From Sheep to Shop
The process of making Taash
In the Himalayas, the sheep are sheared twice a year. One is the winter clip, sheared after the sheep return after months in the higher pastures, rich in minerals and other nutrients, and the other in the summer clip. It is the rich winter clip that is used for preparing Taash.
Grading and sorting
Grading is the breaking up of the fleece based on overall quality. In sorting, the wool is broken up into sections of different quality fibers from different parts of the body. The best quality of wool comes from the shoulders, sides, and underbelly of the sheep and is used for clothing; the lesser or coarser quality comes from the lower legs and is used to make rugs.
Cleaning and scouring
Wool taken directly from the sheep is called “raw” or “grease wool.” It contains sand, dirt, grease, and dried sweat. The weight of contaminants accounts for about 30 to 70 percent of the fleece’s total weight. To remove these contaminants, the wool is scoured in a series of baths.
Next, the fibers are passed through a series of metal teeth that straighten and blend them into slivers. Carding also removes residual dirt and other matter left in the fibers. Carded wool intended for worsted yarn is put through gilling and combing, two procedures that remove short fibers and place the longer fibers parallel to each other.
Thread is formed by spinning the fibers together to form one strand of yarn; the strand is spun with two, three, or four other strands. Since the fibers cling and stick to one another, it is fairly easy to join, extend, and spin wool into yarn. After the yarn is spun, it is wrapped around bobbins, cones, or commercial drums.
Weaving refers to the interlinking of warp and weft yarns. Weaving is done on Traditional handmade wooden “Khaddi” or loom. The artisan spread the yarn or thread on the ground, passing it through round pegs fixed at certain distances, equal in length to the article to be manufactured. Most products were woven in a 2/2 twill, while patterned areas were woven using the tapestry technique
After weaving, both worsteds and woolens undergo a series of finishing procedures including fulling (immersing the fabric in water to make the fibers interlock); crabbing (permanently setting the interlock) and calendaring (to smoothen and iron the surface of the fabric).
History of the Himalayan Tweed: TAASH
It is said that weaving has been practiced in Kinnaur for more than 5000 years. It came from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, via the trade route.
The strategic location of Kinnauri artisans along this route, caused their weaving to be greatly influenced by the ancient trade and traffic along with it. The weaving traditions, thus have an intertwined history.
Difference between Harris Tweed and TAASH
- Harris tweed manufactures in commercial quantities and more than around 1.7 million meters of cloth is manufactured in a year with the quantities increasing each year.
- It’s made with help of semi-automatic mark 1 – paddle loom
- Thread used in Harris Tweed is made in factories and provided to weavers.
- Modern methods have evolved with time – technique is improvised, time of weaving is reduced
- Top-notch designers have remained loyal to the fabric and helped in sustaining its value.
Himalayan Tweed- TAASH
- Purely handmade – not manufactured in commercial quantities – only limited quantity is produced by weavers – normally remains overbooked
- The loom used in weaving is wooden traditional loom to retain the unique raw texture. Each weave in TAASH is a manual process with a shuttle moving from one direction to another by hand.
- Thread used in TAASH is purely handmade; carefully crafted and rolled on wooden spindles; Different colors of wool are mixed manually by hand.
- It is an heirloom, available in very limited quantities and worn by a selected handful of people. Authentic products are available online on www.kinnaurhandcrafed.com
The Beauty of Taash
It is not just a fabric – it’s a piece of art crafted by the weavers.
HANDMADE is the quintessential fashion statement.