Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Slow Burn

Sometimes it takes me a while to get round to things, but I think 26 years is my record so far.

In 1992 I went to Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It was fabulous. Desolate, wild, beautiful. We were wild camping in a tiny tent. Wild, because there were very few campsites, so we pitched wherever we found a flattish dry-ish spot - usually by a beach with an outstanding view over the Atlantic. From what I remember, we survived on porridge, baked beans and crisp breads! The weather was pretty wild, too.

This is the view across the interior of Lewis:

And here's me - I wasn't married then, so my surname was different. Can you guess what it was?!

My aunt had been to Harris and Lewis the previous year, in her tiny caravan, and she gave us three invaluable tips:

1. Take a trowel...

2. You can get a hot shower for just 60p in the public toilets in Stornaway

3. You can visit a Harris tweed weaver and buy direct from the maker.

So I did all three.

1. Like I said, wild camping...

2. A m a z i n g !! Best shower ever, particularly after camping for nearly two weeks with no facilities.

3. I drew out some vague plans, made some rough calculations, and bought about 5 metres of the stuff - genuine Harris tweed from a genuine Harris weaver in his little weaving shed. I was even given a little label to sew onto whatever I made. I think I was going to make a cloak.

Since when, The Harris Tweed has been carefully stowed in a bag (protection from moths) wherever I've lived. Whenever I think about making something and buying fabric, Himself mutters "...well, there's always the Harris tweed you could use...."

So when I found a pattern for a tweed wrap at the Knitting & Stitching Show on Friday, I just had to text home to let him know.

Even more remarkably, I actually took the pattern out of the packet, found the tweed, cut it up, and stitched up the wrap. It was so easy, I probably didn't need the pattern - after all, 26 years ago I'd already worked out what I was going to do...

I found the big buttons on the same stand - love them

I even stitched on the little label - also kept safe for all those years.

PS...and I stitched it on this machine, about which more news in the next installment...


  1. Oh, well done! And think of how much fun you will have, wearing it!

  2. Beautiful, beautiful tweed! I've always loved the weave. Good for you, finally putting it to use!

  3. Worth the wait I'd say! I am currently knitting a sweater for which I bought the yarn in 1988!

  4. Amazing story and wrap! You'll have to wear it for a return visit, and see how much the tweed would cost you now. I was in Stockinish and Stornoway the other week... they don't change much.

    1. I'd love to go back. It definitely left an impression - it was lonely and desolate, and invigorating and inspiring in equal measure.

  5. Great story and great cape, love the buttons and the lining! Did you dye that yourself?

  6. Just lovely. I bought a ton of Tweed when we was there, but just in small pieces. I even ended up making stuff for a shop at a weavers in Plocropol.


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