Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breanish Tweed, Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Earlier this month I received a newsletter from Breanish Tweed. It's a family-owned business and their studio is located at the northern end of the Isle of Lewis, near the little village of Ness. Weaving is a tradition in this area, although the number of individual weavers have decreased greatly. Gaelic is still the common language. Have a detailed look at their site: http://www.breanishtweed.co.uk/ and especially watch the video. They offer a line of high-quality tweeds in a variety of weights and beautiful colours. The photographs will bring back happy memories to those who've come on the 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries Tour' in the years which included the Outer Hebrides on the itinerary.

The tweeds of Breanish are unusual as they are frequently woven in a lighter weight to those from Harris, using Shetland yarn, lambswool and cashmere, either alone or in combination. The yarns are all dyed and spun in Scotland. They even offer a Robbie Burns check to mark Scotland's Year of Homecoming and the 250th anniversary of their national poet and cultural icon.

I am not a weaver and from watching the video, can now understand when I've been told that the warping and tying on the traditional Hattersley looms can take longer than the actual weaving.

During our visit last year we met Iain Finlay Mcleod and several of the weavers, and I can attest that some beautiful lengths of tweed were purchased by our tour members. At that time, Breanish Tweed was located in a trailer but with plans for larger, more permanent, premises. We'll be able to see the changes during this year's tour in July.

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