Tam's Tall Tales

- Harris Gets Weaving and Its Orb Gets Lyon's Approval

Harris Tweed Sample with Orb Certification

Harris Gets Weaving and Its Orb Gets Lyon's Approval
Sales of Harris Tweed last year amounted to 1.7 million metres, the industry's governing body has revealed. The Harris Tweed Authority published the figure following an event promoting the hand-woven cloth in London. The figure is almost four times the amount of tweed sold when the Western Isles-based industry was having difficulties less than a decade ago. Seven years ago, sales of the product had dropped to 450,000 metres.

In a separate development, it has been revealed that The Lord Lyon, King of Arms, has granted that the orb be the industry's coat of arms.

The Harris Tweed Authority said the recognition would provide a further layer of protection from imitations. The orb will be incorporated into a shield to become the coat of arms.

Norman Macdonald, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: "Being awarded a Grant of Arms is a historic milestone for Harris Tweed which has fought for decades to protect the sanctuary of the Harris Tweed cloth. "It's the ultimate protection for our products which are known for throughout the world for consistently high standards of quality and authenticity.

"It's an honour to receive the Grant of Arms from Lord Lyon himself and we are grateful to be able to ensure the security of our cloth and its heritage for generations to come."

For years, the mark has identified tweed made from cloth woven by hand in the Western Isles with wool yarn from island sheep.

The textile is hand-woven at home by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra using wool that has been dyed and spun in the islands. Harris Tweed Hebrides, the main producer of the fabric, exports to 60 countries.

The graphic on the right is of a Harris Tweed loom in the Black House museum in Lewis.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
March 2016

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