The Harris Tweed® Journal

Hands That Make Harris Tweed®: PART 6

6th July

The Hands that make Harris Tweed®

A good number of years ago, the woven tweed would be soaked, thumped rhythmically and passed from one pair of hands to the next to soften, shape and eventually shrink it. This, now tradition, is known as ‘waulking’ and singing served an important purpose during the activity, to keep the rhythm and lighten the task. The lyrics of waulking songs were often improvised, and we are told, often very funny too!

Nowadays, when the woven tweed returns to the mill from the weaver’s home, it will first pass through the nimble hands of the sharp-eyed darners from the quality control department. They will correct the smallest of imperfections that the weaver may have missed.

Cloth will not be passed by the mill’s quality control team unless it is perfect.

The cloth then goes through the finishing processes. It is washed and beaten in soda and soapy water then dried, steamed, pressed and cropped using machines at the mill.

Next, to the hands of the Harris Tweed Authority.

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