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Published: 04 June 2016

By Andy Ross

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The delight of discovery

We recently started a project looking at the tweeds of Shetland. We think there is a lot of tweed hidden in various places across the islands and we want to find out about it.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and by GlobalYell and is what we are calling "a scoping study". By that we mean a project to find out how much is actually out there and what the possibilities are for working with what we find. The first part of the project is to look for places where there may be tweed or weaving artefacts and documents, and then to record what is where. The second part of the project is to let people know what we have found and decide what to do next. So, on Friday this week, we paid a visit to the Hoswick Visitor Centre to look at the tweeds they have in storage. 

The Visitor Centre is housed in an old weaving shed which closed in the 1970's (I think). Rosemary met us and we went into the basement to get some things. And did we find treasure!

Inside some plastic boxes like the one above and some cardboard boxes there is amazing stuff. There are boxes of tweeds (check out the colours in the picture on the right), documents relating to the manufacture of the cloths, spindles and shuttles, yarns and even a sales ledger recording what went where - Brussels, the USA, Savile Row, Japan were all buying tweeds from Hoswick. We are now really excited and buzzing to see what else is out there so if you know anyone who has Shetland tweed or things made of Shetland tweed and don't mind sending us a photograph with details of what it is and where it is, or if you worked in the industry and want to speak to us, or if you simply know something and want us to record it, please get in touch. If you want to know more about the project please contact us too and we will be happy to share some of our excitement with you. What a great day out!