Eric Musgrave

Since 1980, menswear & fashion retail commentator, opinionated thought-leader,
event host & all-round top bloke. Contact me to discuss working together.

The weaver’s life

Traditionally Harris Tweed was woven on narrow- or single-width looms, but modern clothing production systems (and indeed bespoke tailors) require a a double-width bolt of cloth, which measures 150cm across. The two active mills on Lewis spin and dye the yarn and prepare the warps (the long threads that run north-to-south on a bolt of cloth). These are then delivered to the 100 or so weavers around the islands with the yarns for the weft (which run from left to right).  Angus Macarthur, better known as Tixie, has his loom in a shed about a dozen paces from his house. You can’t see it in this photo, but he powers the loom with pedals. He passes the working day watching an impressive flatscreen TV that hangs on the wall we are facing. Tixie doesn’t hang about; depending on the complexity of the pattern, he can weave a 70-metre length of cloth in a working day. The woven cloth is then sent back to the mill for finishing. I was very amused to learn that Tixie has never worn Harris Tweed! (To save you counting, I can tell you that there are 1392 threads in this piece of cloth.)

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