A Harris Tweed Brooch

My friend Maggie went on holiday to the Hebrides and had a wonderful time. She is a lover of fabrics, like me, and so made several visits to the Harris Tweed shop on the Isle of Harris. She purchased lengths of the most beautiful Harris Tweed in glorious glowing colours, and showed us the special ‘Harris Tweed’ fabric label, which can only be used on bags and garments made from cloth woven in individual makers’ homes on the island.  She offered round a bag of so-called ‘scraps’, which were precious little pieces of  woven Tweed about four or five inches square. I was invited to select two pieces and picked one of cyclamen pink  (one of my favourite colours) and another composed of a lovely heathery mix of colours, which included pink in the mix.

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I had been prepared to some extent for the beauty of the fabric by an article in the periodical “Selvedge”. ( www.selvedge.org.uk – a must for all lovers of textiles and colour). Issue 60 ran a feature on Harris Tweed, and in particular on the hues of the landscape being intimately connected to the colours of the fabrics, as featured in the work of the photographer Ian Lawson. This is a brief glimpse at the pages from the magazine.

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The book from which the pictures were extracted, is called “From the Land comes the Cloth”, published by Classic Edition, ISBN-10 0956872409 and it can be obtained via this website www.fromtheland.co.uk. It is an unforgettable publication, which my friend Maggie allowed us to look at (with clean hands!), so we could drink in the beauty of the tweeds and the landscapes.

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So home I went with my beautiful jewel-like pieces and laid them on the desk. The next day, inspiration struck and I went in search of a kilt-pin, that I knew I still possessed from kilt-wearing days, many moons ago, which could be pressed into service to make a brooch. A large safety pin would have served but wouldn’t have looked quite so decorative.

First, I cut a heart shape from the bright pink:

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I then experimented with laying the heart on the second square to find the best placement, to make the very most of the different shades in the second fabric.  In the end, it was placed in a square of fabric which included a line of lime green and the square was appliqued  to the background. I cut and appliqued a second strip of green above the square so the heart floated between two lines of sharp lime green. I then cut a long rectangle, cutting either side of the heart. I pinned the heart to the position I had selected and fixed it to the background tweed, with a neat small zig-zag on the sewing machine. I took the sewing threads to the back and finished off well.  The top of the rectangle was folded over the (non-opening) bar of the kilt-pin and then I stitched a line of straight stitching very close to the bar. (This bit is tricky and I changed to a zipper foot so I could get in close.) I then folded the bottom of the rectangle up  to the back (to meet the top of the rectangle coming down) and hand-stitched the narrow edges of the rectangle together  – rather like a roller towel in shape.

Next, I stitched up each of the sides, through the double thickness of cloth, about 3/8” in from the edge. Again, I took care not to hit the pin at the top and  I finished off the threads well. The edges were then carefully frayed as far as the stitching by easing out one or two wool threads on each side.

Finally, I quilted a line just inside the pink heart, through all three layers.

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