Tweed is a natural fibre textile, woven with a soft, open weave and made from wool. The word Tweed derives from the Scots word Tweel or twill, a type of weave common to the cloth.
Harris Tweed is a tweed from yarn which is dyed and spun in the Scottish Outer Hebrides and woven by hand in homes of local crofters.
The Isle of Harris is located in the far north west of Scotland on the edge of western Europe. It is part of long chain of small islands called the Outer Hebrides.
While originally established in Harris, the same skilled methods of weaving of tweed were also historically conducted throughout the neighbouring islands. As demand rose, weavers from these areas began to contribute to production with equally high standards and were recognised as makers of Harris Tweed too.
The Harris Tweed Authority is a legal body with powers under law to protect and defend the reputation and historic production methods of Harris Tweed. Only tweed that bears the Authority Orb Mark can be deemed to be genuine Harris Tweed. The Harris Tweed Authority do not produce the Harris Tweed or any of the items made using it.
The three main companies producing Harris Tweed are Harris Tweed Hebrides, Harris Tweed Textiles and Harris Tweed Scotland.
Harris Tweed is woven by the crofters of these islands, always by hand and in their own homes, often a small weaving shed beside their residence.
Thousands! The possibilities are almost endless but there are over 4000 commonly used patterns and colour combinations in the pattern books.
There are two types, the older single-width Hattersley loom and the modern double-width Bonas Griffiths loom. Both are powered by manual foot treadles.
Yes! Every single metre. The loom mechanism is powered by foot and the hands tie, work and repair the cloth as it is being woven.
While the crofters of the Outer Hebrides have always woven tweed, the credit for the name Harris Tweed probably lies with Countess Dunmore who finally brought the tweed to commercial markets.
All over the world. Please go to the Find Tweed pages and explore the possibilities.
It is a long and complicated process. Please go to the Harris Tweed pages and find out more.
If you have more questions about our islands, cloth or processes please email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers.