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Published: 20 February 2021

By Andy Ross

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Shetland Tweed research

This week, after two years of work, the Master of Research Degreee is nearing its end. 

At the announcement of results on Friday I was awarded the degree with some minor corrections to the thesis. After a viva, when questions were asked to clarify some points on the thesis, and after an anxious week waiting to hear about the results, the degree was conferred. 

In the examination it was gratifying to hear that the research had been so well-received. Neither examiner knew anything about Shetland Tweed and both had enjoyed reading and learning about it. It proves the point that there is a need to do more about the state of the industry, and education is very much a part of that. 

The corrections I have been asked to do are really clarification more than anything else. There is a need to be a little clearer about companies that operate like The Shetland Tweed Company where the limitations of production actually become a positive rather than a negative; for example, making Limited Editions of cloth because it is not possible to produce industrial quantities as in larger factories. There was also a request to be clearer about colour in the fabrics, something that has been an intriguing aspect of this research but could not be fully explored because of various limitations. I do have enough information to explain that a little more and if I move some of the explanations from the thesis into an appendix (where it does not count in the thesis word amount) there will be enough room to add that.

After two years it is relief to be done and to know that the work is useful and informative. Now it is onto the next stage - writing a book about the Tweeds from the islands. Over the next few weeks I shall start putting research information on the blog about the cloth too.

Thank you for all your good wishes and thoughts. It has been much appreciated.