I arrived in the Outer Hebrides two weeks after a terrible storm, in January 2015. I had transported my whole world 600 miles north to become a Harris Tweed weaver.
Yarn, in various forms had been a constant thread throughout my life, collecting scraps of fabric as small child, learning to knit with my Grandma at the age of four and creating outrageous outfits as a teenager, before gaining a place at Camberwell School of Art to study Woven Textiles and Printmaking. The year before I moved to the Outer Hebrides my Father mentioned quite by chance that my Grandma had been a Silk Weaver in Paisley! Could I have inherited her genes, was she passing on to me more than knitting skills at the age of four but a lifetime passion for yarn and textiles?
I passed my Harris Tweed weaver's test and gained my weaver number, within three weeks of arriving on the Island and I began weaving for one of the mills, on the double width loom that i had bought with the house. My target was to become an independent Harris Tweed weaver within two years. It was in fact, only eighteen months before I had bought my first Hattersley loom. My neighbours, who had been weaving most of their lives, helped me assemble 'Agnes' and I was off!
Inspiration for new tweeds arrived daily, as I walked along the beaches with my lovely dog Meg. I gazed out over huge skies and seas, marvelled at the beauty of the rocks and pebbles lying on the sand. The cliffs, with their undulating Strata, Shells, lichen, flora and fauna. Looking out to Sea from my loomshed, beyond the crofts, the sea and the sky, constantly changing with the seasons and the weather and the light....the patterns in nature were all around me!
....but everything has lifespan. As an Independent Harris Tweed Weaver, I was reliant on one of the three island mills for yarn and Finishing. This was great in the first two years of my new business but the past four and a half years the service the mill provided was steadily getting worse to the stage that hardly any single width tweeds were being processed. So not to be defeated, my tweeds are now sent to the mainland for finishing. Which does mean that they cannot be called Harris Tweed, so it is at this point that I introduce to you....Hebridean Tweed.
Contemporary, fresh and still 'Bringing the Outer Hebrides in to your Home'