Friday, March 6, 2009

Harris Tweed

Harris Tweed

Clò Mór (in Gaelic) is a hand-woven, handspun, hand dyed luxury cloth produced for centuries in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

A knitting savant from ages past miraculously interpreted this Scottish tweel into a pattern suitable for needlecraft. I should like to think that this genius admired the humble “crofters and cottars” of these islands toiling together, familial, in unimaginably harsh conditions toward the common goal of creating their twill. History-rich, Harris Tweed (the cloth) has survived the whims of fashion and the realities of business. This tweed has graced Nike shoes, the fictional detective Miss Marple and more recently, the hero of the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Robert Langdon, a.k.a., Tom Hanks.

The product produced by this knit pattern pays respect to the hand crafted nature and work ethic of the Scottish islanders from whom the pattern’s inspiration was drawn.

I’m still naively fascinated how clicking two needles together with a bit of yarn actually produces something so magical yet so functional. The Harris Tweed pattern has a raised, compact texture. Deceivingly simple yet with a complex-looking, underlying character. I think I can identify with that…

How to?

The Harris Tweed pattern is comprised of eight rows. (Eight rows must be completed in order for the pattern to be visible.)

The number of stitches cast-on must be in multiples of four, plus two. (i.e. 18, 22, 26, etc.)

Row 1: k2, *p2, k2; repeat from * to end of row
Row 2: p2, *k2, p2; repeat from * to end of row
Row 3: k
Row 4: p
Row 5: repeat Row 1
Row 6: repeat Row 2
Row 7: p
Row 8: k

This versatile stitch is “reversible”, i.e., pattern appears on right side as well as wrong side.


  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing your blog. I'm not sure if "deceivingly simple" resonates with non-knitters. If I clicked two needles together for an hour I would probably have a giant knot! :)

    Take care,

  2. I never thought of how someone first came up with knitting.

    Another topic of interest, my hubby's grandma knitted, alot. She was a master knitter. (I have the proof) I have a sampler she did with probably more the 40 different patterns. Would you be interested in seeing them? (Via photos that I haven't even taken, yet) Contact me via if this would be of interest to you. I would love to share them because I don't want knitting to become a lost art.

  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you sooo much for sharing that pattern with all of us! I am a pretty experienced knitter but don't recall having seen this pattern before now. However, once I did see your beautifully knit pink scarflette it was love at first sight!
    Btw...for those of you who are not all that experienced at knitting...I believe that if you know the 2 basic stitches of 'knit' and 'purl' I think you could accomplish this project without too much difficulty. One tip is to not get yourself caught up in the pattern as a whole but to just tackle it one row at a time and then before you know you will have completed one full cycle (that means all 8 rows for this pattern)!

  4. Anonymous - great advice, one row at a time. Harris Tweed is not difficult technically but you must remain focused mentally. (Always a challenge for me!)