ISLE OF MULL WEAVERS
The original Isle of Mull Weavers was founded by Bob and Kathy Ryan in 1987, and when they decided to retire in 2003 Bob helped to move the 1920’s and 1950’s looms to Ardalanish.
Working in this Hebridean landscape, using the natural black and brown wool of our own Hebridean sheep seemed like the most logical thing to do and so a new chapter began for the Isle of Mull Weavers.
The rich black wool of Hebridean sheep makes hard-wearing articles and traces of similar wool have been found in ancient Island burial chambers. Other native breeds like Shetland and Manx Loaghtan produce wool of a similar texture and the exact shade of wool varies from animal to animal and from year to year.
OUR SUPPLY CHAIN
As well as our own wool we now buy Hebridean, Shetland and Manx Loaghtan wool from across the Highlands & Islands of Scotland and occasionally from further South. We are able to purchase the native breed fleeces, direct from the farms, paying not only a fair, set price to the farmers, but also covering the cost of transport for them.
We sort and grade the wool ourselves before sending it away for scouring, carding and spinning in Yorkshire. From there is returned to us for weaving before undergoing a final process of finishing in Galashiels. Some of our tweed items are sewn and finished onsite. Others, such as our caps, are sent to a tailor for sewing.
Colours range from black and charcoal brown, fawn and silver grey through to a rich creamy white. We also use natural plant dyes like woad and madder root to add brighter colours to these beautiful earthy shades. Find out more about our natural colours.
We weave using Victorian Dobcross power looms, of the type that have helped sustain the British textile industry for over a hundred years. Although slower than modern looms, they enable us to maintain the highest quality by overseeing every inch of cloth produced.
OUR DESIGN PROCESS
We find great joy and inspiration in designing with the natural shades of the fleeces. In addition to our ever changing collection of stock tweeds we specialise in producing bespoke fabrics for our customers and we are happy to undertake commissions.
We tend to design from a classical perspective with a modern edge, taking our inspiration from what we have, our current colours, old and new patterns, and nature and objects around us. We work with our stock, the natural renewal processes of our supply and weave what is needed. It is all about knowing our yarns and finding new ways to present classic and patterns, and reinterpreting patterns to keep things fresh. You will find many historical pattern books in the mill which inspire us as to what we can try next. Find out more about the design and weaving process.
We aim for quality over quantity, paying close attention to every detail at each stage of the production process. The result is that whatever the garment our finished tweeds and knits will keep their shape and, cared for properly, should last for generations.