Harris Tweed fabric is a rough, closely woven woolen textile with a soft open and flexible texture. Tweed fiber is usually woven with a plain weave, twill (a fabric is so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges, just like your blue jeans) or herringbone structure. We may get some color variations by blending dyed wool before spinning.
Harris Tweed fabric, TAASH is a tweed fabric that is handwoven by the local villagers in their homes at the Northern ranges of Kinnaur, finished in the Himalayas, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Indian Himalayan ranges.
Before knowing how Harris Tweed fabric is made, let’s check out the origin and the history of Harris Tweed fabric.
NAME & ORIGIN
“Through the generations”
The rare character and beauty of HARRIS TWEED are credible to the fact that it is the only tweed fabric produced in commercial quantities by truly traditional methods anywhere in the world. Scholars believe that tweed originated in the Himalayas as a material for farmer’s clothing. Its insulating properties together with wind-resistance matched perfectly damp and chilly climate of the UK Isles.
As per some legends, the name “tweed” was, in fact, a result of a simple mistake on an invoice to a London cloth merchant. The original name of the cloth was “tweel”, Scottish for “twill”. The merchant then came to the conclusion that tweed was a trademark name derived from the River Tweed – one of Scotland’s rivers. That’s how tweed fabric became “tweed”.
By the end of 19th-century tweed, production became an established industry for the rangers and they started exporting the cloth to mainland Scotland. In the 1930s the development of what is recognized as tweed today took off.
HARRIS TWEED FABRIC
“Woven with love and care”
We usually see soft, tactile, breathable, warm, colorful, sustainable, adaptable tweed in the present. The old picture quality of coarse, scratchy, dour tweed simply does not exist these days. While still retaining its heritage of practicality and longevity, the HARRIS TWEED FABRIC of today acquires all the qualities and virtues of a truly luxurious 21st-century fabric.
HARRIS TWEED FABRIC TYPES
There are various types of Tweed fiber
- Cheviot Tweed
- Shetland Tweed
- Donegal Tweed
- Saxony Tweed
- Gamekeeper Tweed
- Thornproof Tweed
“From Shearing to Stamping”
From start to finish the cloth is in the hands of skilled and experienced artisans who oversee every stage of production utilizing generations of knowledge to produce a product worthy of the name HARRIS TWEED.
The trademark, pressed onto every length of cloth and seen on the traditional woven label affixed to finished items, guarantees the highest quality, 100% pure new wool Harris Tweed Fabric, TAASH, dyed, spun and handwoven by the villagers of the Northern Himalayas, Kinnaur at their homes, to the laws outlined in the 1993 Harris Tweed Act of Parliament.
Follow the wonderful story of Tweed fabric….
Shearing and Woolgather
The HARRIS TWEED story begins with pure virgin wools, which are blended together to gain the advantages of their unique qualities and characteristics. Although most of the wool is grown principally on the mainland, in the early summer, the local villagers join together to round up and shear the local sheep, which are dotted throughout the landscape.
Washing And Dyeing
Harris Tweed fabric is purely dyed in the wool, i.e. the wool is dyed prior to being spun as opposed to dying spun yarn. This means we can blend different coloured wools to create a myriad of intricate shades and hues.
No longer can the natural dyes be used, as the vegetation is all protected. However, Harris Tweed is a truly ecologically sound textile, with low-impact VOC (volatile organic compound) absorbent production process, non-allergenic and biodegradable.
Blending and Carding
The coloured and white wools are weighed in predetermined proportions and then thoroughly blended to exact recipes to obtain the perfect hue. It is then carded between mechanical, toothed rollers which tease and mix the fibers thoroughly before it is separated into a fragile, embryonic yarn.
This soft yarn then is spun and twisted to give it maximum strength for weaving. The spun yarn is wound onto the spindles to provide the ingredients of weft (left to right threads) and warp (vertical threads).
This vitally important and very skilled process sees thousands of warp threads gathered in long hanks in a very specific order and wound onto large beams ready to be delivered, together with yarn for the weft, to the weavers at their homes.
All HARRIS TWEED is woven on a treadle loom at each weaver’s home, not at a mill. The warp and yarns for the weft arrive from the mill, and then the weaver sets to work hand-tying the new yarns to the tail-ends of the previous weave. It is then a matter of steadily weaving the cloth, always observing and therefore being able to correct and mend their creation until it is complete.
The tweed returns to the mill and here it passes through the perfected hands of experienced and sharp-eyed darners who correct even the smallest of flaws. Once ready, the cloth is finished. Dirt, oil and other impurities are removed by washing and beating in soda and soapy water before it is dried, steamed, pressed and cropped to a perfect, flawless condition.
The Bottom line
The world’s best designers, fashion houses and artists have happily accepted HARRIS TWEED fabric, showing their appreciation through their wonderful creations with every passing season. With a global approach, Harris Tweed fabric is now making a huge market all over the world and you can check Harris Tweed shop in India.