Eilean hopping, pt. 3

One thing you get with linen woven in the land of tweed — the Outer Hebrides, that is — is character. This is very apt, because it surely takes great character to make a cloth when everything around you — from your loom to the traditions of the region to the help your neighbour can offer — is geared toward the opposite type of cloth. It is akin to making hessian sacks in Macclesfield or satin jockstaps on the Shetland Isles.

So, from somewhere off the north-west coast of Scotland, to an outerwear factory off the North Circular — the cloth hit the cutting table with a story and a very special sense of its isle of origin. And yes — character. Bristles with character, this linen. So much it has that it ripples and bounces around under the cutting shears, and slides this way and that under the machines. It is maybe as unruly as the weather on the croft on the island from whence four bolts of it — hand-washed thrice-over in a bath-tub because of the seasonal backlog at the only industrial finishers on the island — arrived last month. This is a place, let it not be forgotten, that makes the middle of nowhere look like the back of your hand.

But that was a few weeks ago. Today the linen can be found in SB2 and shorts form here.