Authentic. Donegal Tweed Wool

For centuries, the people of Donegal have been spinning Donegal wool to knit their own jumpers.

The tradition began as a way of producing their own clothing, but it soon spread to a wider audience because of the intrinsic beauty of their products.

Kilar, Donegal, Ireland. Image courtesy of Donegal Yarns.

The mill is nestled in the hills of Southwest Donegal on the coast of the “Wild Atlantic Way”.

The tradition of spinning woollen tweed yarns for knitting and weaving can be traced back centuries in this area, where the yarns were originally spun, woven, or knitted in local people’s homes.

To this day the entire process of sorting, dying, blending and the second scouring (or cleaning and carding) process are carried out in the same mill because this method of spinning wool is so specialised and unique to Donegal, Ireland.

The “blending” process, carried out by Seamus Carr, images courtesy of Donegal Yarns

It is the blending process which is unique to Donegal wool,

because this is the point at which the iconic fleck or “nepp” yarns are added to the base colour, creating this particular kind of tweed effect. Once the wool has been dyed, the in-house blending specialist Seamus Carr selects all of the dyed and non-dyed fibres. He literally mixes them together with a big stick to ensure all the fibres are evenly distributed making sure there is a consistency of colour. The blended yarn is then scoured or washed and carded again before spinning onto cones or skeins for hand knitting. You can see this process in action by watching this short film.

I chose a Donegal wool to knit my new “Jimmy” cable knitted vest

because I wanted to use iconic woollen yarns from the British Isles in my collection, which each had their own unique qualities. Donegal tweed is synonymous with this area of Ireland because of the fleck or “nepp” yarns which are added to the yarn during the blending process.

Hannah from Graham Street Fashion wears the “Jimmy” cable knit vest in Navy Blue Donegal yarn, also available in Oatmeal Donegal yarn.