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History About our Handwoven British Tweed Cloths

 Midsummer Weavers British Wool Tweed    Midsummer Weavers British Wool Tweed_II    Forsooth_Pure New Wool_IIIIII
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We were absolutely delighted to receive an email from someone today who has given us insight about the vintage British Tweeds we have on the Croft Mill website. We knew they were made by Midsummer Weavers but couldnít find any information about them. The story is wonderful, have a read....  



I have some background information on these and their manufacturers, Midsummer Weavers, having known them well.

A small, all female, operation of two weavers, they wove all their cloth, also rugs, shawls, scarves and even vestments (altar cloth, in silk!) on two HATTERSLEY DOMESTIC LOOMS (one with an overhead dobby) from 1900 odd, as were used by the Harris Tweed Handweavers. But theirs were-most of the time- powered by a 1hp motor. Only two length, double cloth in silk and wool, were hand-woven in the strictly legal sense, i.e. actually foot powered.

They produced exclusive cloths from three yards to two hundred, in natural yarns of silk, silk-cashmere, mercerised cotton, Botany and Worsted, semi worsted West of England and Cheviot, Shetland, Welsh and Herdwick wool, from 16 to 42 threads per inch, in a variety of weaving patterns. The width in the loom was 38 inches, woven 37 and, subject to the type of finish, being shrunk to between 34 and 29 inches wide.

Midsummer Weavers (Midsummer Hill in the Malvern Hills loaned its name) offered an in-house tailoring service and supplied the fish hook makers PARTRIDGE OF REDDITCH wholesale with neckties and hats. Their lightweight plain weave Cheviot tweeds were sold to LOCKE THE HATTERS in London, amongst others. This was their bread and butter cloth.

The high quality Cheviot and Shetland yarns were mulespun and supplied by Hunters of Brora, worsted came from Bradford, silk/cashmere from Hawick, West of England from Stroud, and unique Herdwick wool from their own flock of sheep in Cumbria and spun in Brora.

When lengths were not handfinished, they were sent to cloth finishers in Yorkshire.

Midsummer Weavers was started in 1981 by a young German girl who had bought the machinery from her employer Malvern Weavers in Worcestershire when they closed and she set up her own workshop in Upton on Severn.

This closed around 1993 when she moved up to Cumbria to run a sheepfarm.

I believe that someone in the Cumbrian Duddon Valley took over some machinery when she moved to Scotland, then Sweden about seven years ago.

Her workshop featured in an episode of the 1991 Children's TV series ROSIE AND JIM.

Hopefully all this is of interest.

I still love to wear my 25 year old Midsummer Weavers tweed and worsted skirts, beautifully designed and tailored, and timeless as ever.

Best wishes,

14th November 2012, 12:44
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