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What is Tweed?

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Generally speaking, tweed is a woven, woollen, heavyweight fabric.

• Tweed patterns have traditionally taken inspiration from the Scottish landscape and scenery.

• The word Tweed derives from the Scots word Tweel or twill, a type of weave common to the cloth. According to legend, the name “tweed” is the result of a copying error in the 19th century! A London cloth merchant misread the Scottish word tweel as tweed...

• Thousands of different patterns exist and the possibilities are endless for new ones. Some of the main tweed patterns include :  Glencheck, Herringbone, Houndstooth, and Overcheck. 

• Different regions in Scotland produce different types of Tweed, which vary depending on the the tightness of weave or the breed of sheep. These include Borders Tweed, Hebrides Tweed, and Shetland Tweed.

• The robust fabric is water and wind resistant, which makes it the standard wear in Scotland for shooting, fly-fishing and other country sport activities. As well as clothing, it is equally practical in the home as upholstery fabric.

• Estate tweed started as a Scottish phenomenon in the 1840s, but has since spread to other countries across the world. 

• Estate tweeds and clan tartans are said to be distant cousins. Traditionally tweeds and tartans both identify a group of people - a tartan identifies members of the same family, regardless of where they live, whereas, estate tweeds identify people who live and work in the same place, whether they are related or not.

• Tweeds have evolved to have different variations of weight and design, making them a regular on international catwalks - tweed is no longer old-fashioned.

• In 1954 tweed got a makeover from designers such as Coco Chanel, who introduced Chanel tweed jackets. Chanel spent many summers in the Scottish Highlands with the second Duke of Westminster, who was said to be the wealthiest man at the time. 

• Harris Tweed the only fabric in the world with its own Act of Parliament - the Harris Tweed act, 1993.

Here at Knockando Woolmill, we have manufacturing textiles on the banks of the Knockando Burn since 1784.

Sporting tweed has been at the heart of the Woolmill’s production for many years. Our robust fabric is made to endure the rigours of outdoor persuits but is equally practical in the home. As well as featuring in many of our products (tweed caps, tweed bags), we sell cut lengths of our Strathspey Tweed fabric. Many of our customers have bespoke garments made, as well as using tweed for upholstery. 

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