Youth and wisdom

Father-son duos can go two ways. There’s the cantankerous arrested-development dynamic — casebook example being the Steptoes. And then there’s the complementary youth-meets-wisdom tandem — nowhere better exemplified by the father and son who weave this cloth.

The father and son reside in the north-west corner of Ireland. Where they reside they also weave: the mill sits beside the family home, and has been in use for six generations.

North-west Ireland is of course Donegal country, and where warp and weft are concerned, that means yarns flecked with random woolly spots of colour. It is Donegal yarn that is the starting point for the father-son mill. Makes sense: the yarn is spun fewer than 20 miles away from their mill, and, alongside the spinners, the duo develop blends and colours precisely suited to their purposes. Then, with an Italian-built Somet Rapier Loom — never the fastest but apparently among the most versatile — the father and son hand-weave their tweed. Clever, intricate patterns, these; always interestingly geometric and uniform, and juxtaposed with the characteristic Donegal flecks. The particular tweed here has been dubbed “Tetris” tweed at the workshop — the 1-plus-1 weave of two-colour warp and single-colour weft creating a curious pixel-puzzle effect.

Blue-grey Donegal wool blazer worn with light blue herringbone cotton cardigan and (above) Kelly collar shirt.

Hand-woven Donegal tweed, despite its charms, is not usually the stuff of spring-time. Not usually. But the chance discovery of the cloth earlier in the year set in motion a new development; a half-lined blazer that could conceivably be worn in half-decent climes. The result is what you see here. It’s a three-button number, with single vent, gently rounded notch-lapel, and soft shoulders — and inside are bound seams and a buggy lining of tonal cotton. It has been given every due consideration of a tailored blazer, but with a casual construction, and a pocketing addition or two, to up the functional ante.

The blazer has been made in two colours: one with light blue and off-white as dominant colours, and one with dark-blue and grey. Donegal being Donegal, and randomly flecked with colour, every inch of the cloth is unique — and so too, in that sense, is every blazer.