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Published: 21 April 2018

By Andy Ross

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What's on the loom?

This week we have been weaving fabric for The Shetland Tweed Company, inspired by the beautiful beach, sea and land at Skaw in Unst. 

Skaw cloth on the loom Skaw cloth on the loomSkaw is in the northernmost part in Shetland accessible by road. To get there you drive along a winding route, down then up a hill crossing over a trowie burn (trowies are the little folk), past World War Two buildings and ruined crofts and then descend into Skaw. The parking circle at the beach is beside a neat white crofthouse, and a short walk over a burn will take you to the beach. 

There are always seals at Skaw, it seems. And birds offshore, plunging into the sea and circling overhead. The sand is clean and bright, and whenever I go with a tour (the picture of us on the beach was taken last year when two of my guests braved the cold to swim!)  it seems to be a lost-in-time place where the hours do not matter. 

Sometimes the sea boils with breakers and rollers. Sometimes it is calm. It is colourful; dark and foreboding or full of green and blue shades. Skaw is always beautiful and so this cloth is named after the area because of those colours and the calm, clean look of the fabric. 

The loom is busy these days. Warps go on and cloth comes off regularly, and each cloth becomes a favourite until it is superseded by the next. I am very lucky to love what I do so much, and to remain fascinated and passionate about a craft that I knew very little about until fifteen years ago. Here's to Skaw, the newest cloth to come off the loom!