New wool tartan cloth

Weaving tartan cloth this week using “Shetland” wool milled in Harrisville, NH.

Hello, friends. I recently took a bit of a hiatus from working on kitchen towels and table runners and did a bit of “wearable weaving.” I’ve long harbored an interest in weaving tartan cloth and have worked a few traditional patterns such as “Barclay Hunting” and “MacQuarrie.” (You may remember my little tartan Christmas ornaments from late 2018). While I can claim Scottish ancestry on my mother’s side, we have no family cloth. (My great-great maternal grandfather was born in Newton Grange and my great-great maternal grandmother was born in Dundee. Their son, my great-grandfather, was born in Dalkeith). Upon reading a bit of the history of tartan cloth, though, the (sometimes shockingly bright) yarns used in the commercial production of the cloth did not closely resemble tartan woven by crofters. In short, the weavers used what they could find and/or what they had.In the spirit of “using what could be found,” I made a trip into town and selected several cones of locally milled yarn. This is Harrisville Designs “Shetland,” and I chose hemlock (green), silver mist, and charcoal. The colors reflect the stone walls that pepper our roadsides here in Harrisville. So here is my “Stone Walls Tartan Shawl”:

Stone Walls Tartan Shawl

The wool washed up quite nicely. The twill gives the cloth a nice drape. I did allow the fabric to felt just slightly; enough to draw in the threads and make an insulating wrap.

I enjoyed weaving this cloth so much (and basking in the lanolin scent) that I tried another short run of wool cloth using the same Shetland yarn. Here is a photo of the cloth on the loom:

More Shetland yarn tartan

I’m not quite sure what to call this cloth just yet. I put on a bit of extra warp to see how the fabric works up after sewing. I’m thinking of a pillow cover or two. We will see how things shake out.

Spring is nearly here. I spotted one very brave green shoot poking out of the ground this week despite the snow that is still hanging around. Chives are sturdy and determined plants.

Be well,

Kate K.

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