Thursday, 9 December 2010

A wee bit about Harris Wool

For our truly wonderful and versatile Felted Shoulder Bag Kits we have used 100% Pure Scottish Wool from the Isle of Harris Knitwear Company.  Originally this wool would have been used in the manufacture of the world famous Harris Tweed, but has now been adapted to create wonderful hand-knitting wool, that is still spun and carded using traditional methods in the Carloway Textile Mill on the Isle of Lewis.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Sheep_on_the_isle_of_Lewis.jpg


 It is the black-faced sheep that we have to thank for this wool, bred on the islands for hundreds of years. This tough and adaptable breed is often found in the more exposed locations, such as the Scottish Highlands.  As a child growing up on the Isle of Lewis it was my job at the time of shearing to paint the markings on the side of the sheep to distinguish our sheep from the rest of the crofts around us.  This was great fun and I would wind my grandpa up no end as I would start trying to decorate them.  Oh if only Id had glitter!  The colours of the wool capture the essence of the these islands, from the moorland to the waters around them.

As for me I am back in my Dads loom shed filling the bobbins for him to use for his tweed.  The smell of the oily wool, and the clickity clack of the loom.  A scary job when I think back, filling bobbins, nowadays health and safety would probably have a thing or two to say about it.  A little reminiscing but we hope at The Woolly Brew that you love this wool as much as we do.