Harris Tweed® Word of the Week: Dirty Wool
Our new series follows the Harris Tweed® story from wool through to yarn. By law, 100% pure new wool must be used to weave Harris Tweed® cloth.
Stage 1: Dirty Wool
Here is the raw ingredient of our iconic cloth – the wool as you see it caught in fences across the islands.
Raw dirty wool is simply the clipped fleece from the sheep. Nothing has been done to it yet. Although it looks dirty, it isn’t really, more oily and discoloured.
Over the years, as the rate of Harris Tweed® production has grown, the clip from our island sheep is no longer sufficient to meet demand. Today, the industry’s raw wool is also sourced from flocks across Scotland and the UK. Most of the wool used to make Harris Tweed® cloth comes from Cheviot sheep. This greasy wool example is a mixture of Scottish Blackface, crossbred and Cheviot sheep.
Photography by Alison Johnston/Encompass
Can’t wait for the next stage? Learn about the whole process here: