How does your cloth differ to hand woven or commercially woven mill cloth?
I consider hand woven cloth to be that in which the three primary motions of the loom are entirely controlled by hand. In contemporary mill-woven cloth all the primary motions, are mechanised and powered by electricity.
The Hattersley Domestic loom that I use is a semi-automated foot treadle loom. The three primary motions of the loom are controlled mechanically, through the genius of Victorian engineering. However, the entire sequence of revolving drive shafts, cogs, wheels, cams and levers are powered by the treadle action of my feet.
It is rare in the commercial industry for the cloth designer to also be the weaver. The successful operation of the loom then requires not only the skills of a weaver who can detect subtle differences in yarn tension, friction on the shuttle and vibrations of the motion timing through sight, sound, touch and the weight of the peddles, but those of a loom tuner. The satisfaction then, is a wonderful synergy between the creativity of the mind, the machine, hands, feet and senses.
How can I buy your cloth?
Currently I produce to order supplying trade customers.
If you are a tailor or designer interested to see samples of my cloth for a client please contact me.
I am developing a small stock bunch of limited edition cloths that will be available to a select number of tailors in the UK. If you are an individual wishing to commission a bespoke tailor and are interested to use my cloth for a truly unique and individual piece, please contact me for a list of tailors who currently have bunches.
If you are a business looking for a one-off or small batch production run please contact me.
I would like to commission some cloth but I’m not a textile designer, can you design a cloth for me?
Yes, I have many years experience of working with designers, architects, and manufacturers to develop their ideas into fabric. I have an AVA CAD design system specifically developed for designing woven (and printed) textiles. Contact me and we can discuss a brief and I can provide you with information on the design service I can offer.
Can I bring you a design to make in to cloth?
Yes, so long as you it is your design, or you have copyright on the design and permission in writing to reproduce, and the design can be translated into the cloth qualities that I can produce.
What can your cloth be used for?
I work with a range of yarn suppliers and select yarns depending on the end use of the cloth. My standard Saxony cloth quality is approx 300 gsm/9 oz sq yard, is made with 100% Australian/NZ wool with a soft, flexible handle suitable for menswear and womenswear.
Do you make tartan?
I can make tartan designs in a woollen cloth quality.
Tartan, the cloth, is nowadays generally woven as a yarn dyed worsted cloth quality in a variety of weights. This makes a clean, relatively crisp handled cloth which cane be easily pleated. Yarn dyed means that the fibre is spun in the natural wool colour and then dyed into a solid shade, ie red, blue, green, etc. Worsted means that the yarns used to weave the cloth are spun on the worsted system, where the wool fibres are combed to produce a smoother, more lustrous yarn.
I make woollen cloth which generally has a more hairy surface texture and is softer in handle. The cloth is made with yarns spun on the woollen system where the wool is carded into a web of criss-crossing fibres before spinning into yarn. The yarns I use are fibre dyed, which means that quantities of different coloured fibre are blended before spinning in to yarn. This gives the characteristic heather-blend or melange look that Scottish woollens are renowned for.
The word tartan can also refer to a style of design where blocks and stripes of colour intersect. I can produce tartan designs in a woollen quality cloth, rather than worsted. I can use up to six colours, but there are some restrictions to the patterns I can produce due the type of loom that I have.
Why do you use wool?
I genuinely love working with wool. Much of the interest and satisfaction in the production of my cloth is in working with the diverse range of wools that are available to use. The rich colours and characteristics of the various yarns are an endless source of inspiration in themselves. The many properties and benefits of wool, i.e. natural, rapidly renewable, warm, breathable, durable, etc., as well as Scotland’s heritage of woollen cloth production, make it an easy choice.
Where does the wool come from that you use for your cloth?
I use a variety of wool yarns. Wool is grown in countries around the world providing a huge range of fibres each with their own characteristics and suitability for selected end uses. I use fine soft wool from Australia and New Zealand, spun in Europe which is available in a wonderful palette of fresh contemporary colours as well as locally grown and naturally coloured Scottish wool spun in North Uist, or British wool spun in the Hebrides or Yorkshire for traditionally coloured classic tweeds.
How much does your cloth cost?
Each commission is costed individually depending on the quantity to be ordered, the complexity of the design and the quality/type of cloth required.
What is your minimum order?
My standard minimum is 17m, but one-off, bespoke lengths of 6m can be made to order.
What width is your cloth?
Approx 75-77cm wide.
What is the lead time?
Yarn will be ordered especially for your order and once woven the cloth is sent to the Scottish Borders for specialist cloth finishing. You will be quoted an approximate lead time with your order confirmation which will depend on the current production schedule, as well as those of the suppliers. However, as a guide, I recommend that you allow 10-12 weeks from placing your order. Allow additional time for the development and approval of your design choice. I will give you an indication of the time frame for that depending on the brief.
Is your workshop open to visitors?
By appointment only.
Do you take on apprentices or interns?
Not at the moment, however, I am involved with the development of apprenticeships in weaving and wool textile production at larger companies that have the infrastructure for training and accreditation. I was Highly Commended at the inaugural Craft Skills Awards in 2013 for promoting craft skills in the workplace.