On the Tweed Trail

Last week Significant Other and I took a little jaunt up to the land of Tweed, namely the Isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis (which, confusingly enough for me, aren’t actually separate islands), to see for myself how the tweed is manufactured.

I’ve always been fascinated by Tweed as I love the way the weave incorporates different colours, often muted sometimes vivid, and textures.  I’m constantly striving for ways to contrast my textures and have in mind a project for working with harsh wool tweed and soft silks (but more on that later).

We set off on the long road (motorway as it’s the quickest route) north and I realised that our first stop on the Tweed trail was still in England.  As the signposts pointed us in the direction of Carlisle, I remembered that it’s the home of Linton Tweeds (http://www.lintondirect.co.uk).  I’ve never before visited their factory and showroom, as they have an excellent mail order department, and whilst this wasn’t the aim of the trip, as I was virtually passing the door, I thought I’d drop in.

Linton Tweeds, celebrate their centenary this year, having made their name supplying Coco Channel, still supply many couture houses of Paris today.  If it’s good enough for Paris, it’s good enough for Eliza.  I was only introduced to Linton Tweeds three years ago, but have fallen in love with their unique tweeds.  Linton tweed is slightly more sophisticated than the Scottish varieties, with different textures incorporated within the weave to create the fabric.   It can be a little trickier to work with than the Scottish tweed as it’s a much looser weave – I got into an in-depth discussion with the sales lady who was telling me how the tweed she’d cut earlier that morning frayed so much she had to re-cut it!

The factory wasn’t in production as this was a Saturday but the shop was open (as was the tea-room for a much needed cup of tea).  They have a good selection of tweeds in a variety of colours – although some of the tones were too pink-y for my tastes, which leads me to suspect that their main market, like the majority of the UK’s textiles industry, is overseas.

I was a little distracted by the skirt length rail, which had the offer to BOGOF … so I did!

After which Significant Other swiftly led me to the door before I could make any further purchases and we headed towards the Highlands…

My two for one Linton Tweed offer on metre lengths – they were sold as “skirt lengths” but I’m thinking pinafore style shifts to keep my cosy and warm.

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