Approximately 400,000 sheep call the Falklands home. Both in spite of and because of the harsh conditions, the Falklands continue to produce some of the whitest wool in the world. The wool is shipped all over the world, often blended with other fine wools, never to be seen again. Hattie Kilmartin, however, thought differently. With a gift shop and a small museum, Bluff Cove is host to 8,000 tourists a year. But something was lacking. ‘We didn’t have anything that was unique to the farm’, Kilmartin explains. And that’s when she set about designing their own tweed.
Creative by nature – with food or with fibre – Kilmartin took up felting and spinning. Using Cushing’s dyes and the microwave, she developed a colour-way that reflected a blend of greys from the stone runs – a geological phenomenon from the last Ice Age: plus the myriad of flora on the farm, from the native white grass to the edible Diddle-Dee berry bushes, and finally, a purple skyline stolen from the pages of heaven.
With samples in hand and no shortage of determination, Kilmartin, sought advice from Stephen Rendle and Alan Cumming at Lovat Mill in Hawick, weavers of Scottish Estate tweeds. Enticed, no doubt by the challenge, they took on the job of transforming her microwaved vision into a spectacular tweed. The first throws came off the loom in 2016 and by the following year, Kilmartin had also designed a Falkland seascape tweed, using palest pink for the sand and turquoise and deeper blues for the sea. Each tweed is finished with a thin tuft of orange, yellow and black edging to signify the penguin influence. It’s true, what you find at Bluff Cove you cannot find anywhere else.
Extract from Linda Cortright's article Wind-Swept Woollens in the current issue. We have one of Hattie’s beautiful tweed throws and a goodie bag of hand-made Bluff Cove items to give away.