Hand-woven herringbone indigo

After the blue-stained trail of farce and fiasco wrought by the rope-dyed indigo of 2013, not to mention the self-inflicted tribulations of weaving cotton on looms built a century ago to weave Harris Tweed, has anything really been learned? No. Not a thing has been learned.

Back we are again then. The one-man mill of north-east London winding and weaving a new batch of rope-dyed indigo. The plan this year is the very much the same as last: to make a twill of rope-dyed indigo which, even up-close, looks like a thoroughly saturated raw denim, but that feels, drapes, and wears very much not like raw denim at all — in fact, with its super-soft yarn and loose, hand-woven structure, like nothing much at all.

There is but one change to the cloth this year: the pattern. Last year’s 2-1 twill has been beefed-up to an intricate 3-1 herringbone twill, with rope-dyed indigo in the warp — the warp being wound on a sectional warping beam in these pictures — and an off-white weft. There will be more texture to the cloth this time around, and — with the plan for a little more going-over at the cloth-finishers — more by way of weight and density, too.

Remember the last time you saw rope-dyed indigo cotton, zig-zag herringbone pattern running through it, hand-woven by a mill in London? Probably not. Never before been done, see. The cloth is already more or less finished. Off now it must go for finishing in Halifax, before coming back down here again, for cutting and making into a new SB1 jacket — and for the inevitable blue-fingered indigo fiasco of 2014 — in north London.