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Donegal Tweed and the Tweed Cap

Traditionally, Donegal Tweed was woven using the wool of the Donegal sheep. Today the use of pure new wool in hand weaving has expanded to include luxurious natural fibres such as wool, mohair, cashmere, lamb's wool and alpaca.

Hand weaving is a hereditary skill, passed from one generation to the next.

The process of weaving Donegal Tweed includes dying, carding, spinning, warping, weaving, mending, washing, drying and finishing, although not all of these are carried out today.

Dyeing

Originally the art of dyeing the fabric with plant and mineral extracts was a craft in its own right. The dyes came from plant materials in the local countryside for example the yellow came from gorse flowers, purple from blackberries and black and brown from peat. Mineral Salts were most commonly used to fix the dyes to the cloths. The salts were found in rock pools. The plants would be boiled for several days to extract the colour needed. In certain households some dye recipes were closely guarded secrets and the dye and the weave of the cloth could often tell the name of the weaver.

As the cloth was thirty to sixty yards long the wool was dyed in sections. Back then it was virtually impossible to repeat the exact shade from one dye bath to another so the wool had to be carefully blended before carding and spinning could commence.

Today, the use of natural dyes has been replaced by the use of synthetic dyes and mass produced yarns.

The remaining processes in weaving Donegal Tweed include, carding, spinning, warping, weaving, mending, washing, drying and finishing, although not all of these are carried out today.

The patterns of the weave used in Donegal Tweed were named from the patterns the weavers saw around them in nature. Fish bones from the wild Atlantic Ocean were the inspiration for Herringbone. The mountains, speckled with quartz, inspired the pattern for Salt and Pepper.

The Inspiration for the distinctive tweed comes from the beauty of the Irish countryside, with its distinctive colouring, the earthy browns and heathers of our bog lands, the many shades of green, peppered with hawthorns, reds from Mountain Ash, Bramble and the rusts of autumn leaves. World famous for its warmth and durability, Donegal tweed is a comfort to wear and with our extensive selection of fabrics, hand-woven by master weavers, one is sure to find that special something of style, unique timelessness and class. The Plain Tweed Cap is the style most frequently worn in Ireland. This beautifully crafted cap can be worn by young and old, male and female. The patch cap is consistently our number one seller and it is available in a selection of tweeds that reflect the natural beauty of Donegal's rugged countryside.

also sells traditional Aran Sweaters and Aran Cardigans, Aran Wool Socks and a wide range of high quality ladies and gent's cashmeres and lamb's wool garments.