CLAFLIN, THAYER & CO.

HARRIS TWEED PART 2 - FABRIC

Liz
Here is our Harris Tweed trip!
To get to Isle of Lewis, we boarded a big car ferry at Uig on the Isle of Skye.

Skye is lush and green with little cottages dotting the hillside - very picturesque.
Fishing nets on the docks.

The cars are packed into the ferry like sardines, and the people board the upper decks of the ship.

Travel companions KC & Jojo. Of course there is a bar on board, so whisky is mandatory to keep warm. Look at their hair - see how windy it is? And cold.
Several hours later, we arrive on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, which is home to the Callanish Standing Stones - one of the oldest and largest megalithic structures in Europe erected somewhere around 2000BC.We went to Stornoway, in search of some Harris Tweed, and there we found Ronnie Mackenzie's shop, which is pretty much the goldmine. Here's an old loom in the garden out front.The Harris Tweed orb.The shop is dark, dusty, and crammed full of every kind of tweed you can imagine.Dyed wool yarns used to make tweed.Bobbins with yarn - these are attached to the loom when the fabric is woven.Maps of the Outer Hebrides where Harris Tweed is made.

Here is Ronnie showing us all the different breeds of sheep used to make Harris Tweed.

Guide showing where the best wool comes from on a sheep skin.

Totally insane catalog from the 1930's containing swatches of various tweeds.
Every tweed ever produced is archived in books like this.

Ronnie is pretty much the coolest guy ever. He's got so much knowledge about tweed and is an all around character and awesome dude.
Newer books with samples of tweeds created for various designers.Harris Tweed hats, you've probably seen many an old man walking down the street in one of these.Rolls and rolls and rolls of fabric everywhere.More swatches of custom fabrics for customers.

Harris Tweed has produced many of Ralph Lauren's wools over the years.

Harris Tweed is protected by an act of Parliament - only tweed that has been woven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland can be stamped with the Harris Tweed Orb of authentication once it's been inspected.
I picked up this amazing book, which details the production of Harris Tweed and contains stunning photos of island life and the manufacturing process.Ronnie gave me official Harris labels to sew into the garments I make, since they are officially Harris Tweed, of course.After a totally overwhelming several hours in the shop with Ronnie learning about all kinds of cool stuff, this is what I actually walked away with:Several meters (enough to make a jacket or coat) of each tweed. I really wanted to buy everything in the store, but let's be realistic. I will do a Part 3 eventually showing what I made with some of the tweed. This will not come for a long time, as I have to plan thoroughly before I cut into any of this precious fabric!Below are some collaborations I like between various fashion brands with Harris Tweed. Left to Right: Nigel Cabourn, Scott NYC, Topman.Beauty & Youth United Arrows from A Continuous Lean. Love that all-gray jacket with contrast pockets.Levis x Harris TweedA Bathing Ape x Harris Tweed
What am I going to make? I don't know! But I can't wait!