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Published: 23 September 2017

By Andy Ross

The tweed research project

Recently our tweed research project has been coming up in conversation. Here is why...

The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and GlobalYell and looked at some of the places which made tweeds in Shetland, undertook some interviews with weavers and their families, and studied some of the tweeds that the islands have hidden away in secret corners. Interest has been growing in the textiles of Shetland and suddenly it seems that that tweed is the Next Big Thing. 

Our initial project has come to an end because we were simply looking at what we could still find out in the communities in the island. But the next stage is going to start next year; recreating some of the fabrics and making them available for others to weave. So it was a delightful surprise to have a contact call us from the USA and enquire about patterns for Shetland tweed! We shall be making available all the information we have soon, and of course, the book with some pictures of the tweeds and a little bit of information will be published in 2018. It seems though that the interest is growing and we are happy and pleased to be able to be a little part of growing that interest. 

The Shetland Tweed Company too has started production in earnest. We have been weaving fabrics for interiors use, and Maggie has been creating beautiful cushions for us out of that tweed. The soft fabric lends itself to cosy cushions and curtains, and we will be weaving over the winter to have cloth and products available for sale next summer, both from the studio and from our new online shop which is under construction. Lots of visitors this week have been commenting on the fabrics and noticing how soft and luxurious the tweeds are, and some have even noticed how we are trying to maintain the link between the fabrics of yesteryear and those we make today. 

I would love to be able to show you our new fabrics but it is all rather Top Secret at the moment! I guess Good Things come to those who wait...