The beauty of Harris Tweed begins long before the weaver creates the cloth!
It all begins with the yarn. Scottish wool, dyed and skilfully blended, creating the colour palette of the Outer Hebrides. The fleece is then spun in to yarn at the mill. A long process of blending the coloured fibres, carding, twisting and then...the final spin!
The weaver decides on the design, the colour, the draft and begins making the warp. For an independent, single width weaver, this will probably mean warping by hand on wooden stakes. This takes time, concentration and strength! Pulling yarn from maybe twenty four bobbins on a creel and passing them around the wooden stakes, which can be over three metres apart is no mean feat. The warp could be anything from twenty to fifty metres long!
After the warp is made and removed from the stakes by forming it in to a chain of yarn, the warp is then ready to be wound under tension on to the back beam of the loom, from there it is tied to the previous warp ends.
One little job left to do...winding the pirns! Only then can weaving begin!