The Crafty Weaver
Nikki Crabtree – AKA The Crafty Weaver – has managed to turn her weaving downtime into productive sewing time.
Her Harris Tweed® story began when she first moved to the Outer Hebrides in 2009 with her mum. They were searching for “space and openness” and, after spotting a Countryfile special on Lewis and Harris, ended up buying a red-roofed house in Garrabost, Point.
Being a practical soul and “always up for a challenge” Nikki signed onto a weaver course and has been double-width weaving for Harris Tweed Hebrides since 2010. “I weave whatever I am given: plain, Black Watch, tartans and bright colours – normally about two tweeds a week.”
Alongside weaving, Nikki knits, sews, creates all kinds of Harris Tweed® items as The Crafty Weaver as well as being an integral part of the local Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team too. She met islander John over their shared love of the outdoors and last year they moved to Upper Coll. Her loom moved too. (If you have been following our Harris Tweed® stories, you may remember our film of its journey.)
During lockdown, Nikki has turned her attention to making Harris Tweed® face masks.
“The Scottish government recently advised that, if you are in shops or on public transport, face coverings (including handmade masks) were advised. If you are going to wear a mask, why not a Harris Tweed® one!
“It’s a natural fabric and washable. (I’ve had many surprised comments about that.) Hot water can be used, hotter than you wash your hands in. I boiled the kettle and when it stopped bubbling, I used that. [The fabric] can take it!
“They come in two sizes (S/M and M/L) with either long ties or elastic ear loops. They look fantastic and are a little bit unique.”
To order one of Nikki’s Harris Tweed® masks:
How to Move a Loom: https://vimeo.com/harristweed