National Geographic : 1954 Oct
577 © G. Leslie Horn The Sea, Thrusting a Finger into the Long Island, Fills a Barren Valley with Loch Seaforth Geographically one island, Harris and Lewis are split by clan affiliation, county allegiance, and common consent. Loch Seaforth, which gave the Seaforth Highlanders their name, divides the island on the east. There are few habitations here, but at last I came to the hamlet of Aribruach. Hearing the clack of a loom, I peeped in at the open door of a shed where two lads were weaving Harris tweed. I was politely invited to inspect their work, which was "for export only." Harris Tweed Must Be Home-woven The weaving of Harris tweed is entirely a cottage industry. The yarn is woven, usually by men, on hand looms in the houses, after being processed and spun, as a rule, at one of the large mills in Stornoway or in one at Tarbert. Occasionally it is also hand-spun (page 571). To meet the standards set by the Harris Tweed Association, Harris tweed must be made from "pure virgin wool produced in Scotland, spun, dyed and finished in the Outer Hebrides and hand-woven by the Islanders at their own homes" in these islands only. It is a fabric of rare excellence, and to assure himself that the cloth is genuine the purchaser should look for the certification mark (a patee cross surmounting an orb, with the words HARRIS TWEED) stamped on the cloth at 3-yard intervals in the mills (pages 573, 574). The industry employs about 60 percent of the working population of Harris and Lewis. There are also weavers in the Uists and other Outer Hebridean islands. Many crofters and fishermen are weavers in their spare time and add considerably to their incomes in this way. A diligent worker may earn from £10 to £14 ($28 to $40) per week.