Wednesday, March 31

lochcarron -wool ties

Lochcarron of Scotland is a family owned company which has been weaving a wide range of fabrics since 1947 [insert any fabric as long as it's plaid joke -ed.]. For over three decades it has been offering factory tours, and a visit to Lochcarron is a chance to see the industries which were once central to the economy of southern Scotland; weaving and knitwear.

Since 2006 Lochcarron has been in a modern facility in Selkirk named Waverly Mill, the name is all that remains of Lochcarron's old premises, six miles to the north in Galashiels [both tiny towns in the Scottish borders -ed.].

I found a great flickr set by one Alexander Cunningham of a factory tour he had taken, and he has agreed to share the pictures, thx Alex.

Setting up the threads for the warping mill

Guide explains the workings of a modern Suzuki Warping Mill.

Sulzer Ruti Loom

The darning room, where minor flaws in the mechanical production are carefully repaired manually.

Freshly completed tartan bales.

Lochcarron pops up as source materials for Jack Spade, JCrew, Ralph Lauren, JPGaultier and no surprise Vivenne Westwood. There are 3 weights of tartan fabric created;
REIVER, 10oz -Over 500 authentic tartans in a light worsted wool suitable for tailored items.
BRAERIACH, 13oz -Over 220 authentic tartans in a medium weight worsted wool suitable for kilts, home furnishings
STROME, 16oz -Over 580 authentic tartans in a traditional heavy weight worsted wool synonymous with the 8 yard hand made kilt.
Long/short of all this is that I like wool ties... it sort of dresses you up and down in an odd way. The texture of a woolen tie synonymous with the outdoors, and tartan working its usual transporting power. Bonus points for a family tartan... Lamont below.

Same up/down dynamic could go for the selvege ties of Hill-Side or the winter stuff from Pierrepoint Hicks. Lochcarron seem to be THE source for "100% wool made in Scotland" wool ties, especially the gift shoppy tartan ties (nothing wrong with that, not at all) and older examples are all over ebay in the $10-20 range. Hell, new ones only cost about $20 with shipping. Locharron seem to have sidestepped the 70's affection for wide ties and all models old/new are in the 3-4" range for width.