Knockando Woolmill in the Highlands
On the 5th January I listened to ‘Open country’ on radio 4. Helen Mark visited Knockando Mill which is nearly through a complete renovation. It was fascinating to hear of this mill with Victorian machinery surviving as a full working woollen mill having run since it was founded in 1784. Hugh Jones the current owner and weaver at the mill explained the current interest he is noticing in authentic craft skills and handmade products. The mill makes tweed among other cloths and it was explained that the tweed for local gamekeepers was often woven keeping in mind the colours specific to the colours found on the hills of a particular estate as a sort of camouflage in the landscape. The mill has souring, carding and spinning as well as weaving. It was a wauk mill originally for fulling the cloth, it is set on the river and is one of the last of the surviving district mills. It was explained that there is a sense of prestige in cloth woven on the old machinery. The cloth has an authentic story and a connection to the area. Hugh Jones pointed out that these fabrics have been used for hundreds of years and are still used in modern garments also on young people. He concluded that the fashion for tweed comes and goes but will always be there as an enduring cloth.