The world was a much different place 150 years ago. The Kingdom of Italy and just been formed. Germany didn’t yet exist. But 150 years is but a blip in the history of Scotland, which became an independent state in the Early Middle Ages. Begg is a scarf maker that has celebrates in 2016 its 150th year of existence, and its place in the pantheon of Scottish contributions to global well-being, alongside Scotch whisky, a delightful accent, and, a personal favorite, David Hume.
To honor this occasion, Begg has produced a truly remarkable scarf - a check of 150 colors, one for each year of Begg. Only 150 have been made.
Scarves are woven on looms with a warp and a weft. The warp is the yarn that stay tight and are held fixed by the loom. The weft is the yarn that are woven in between the warp. At the end of the process, you have your web of warp and weft yarns woven together to form the fabric.
Typically you might have one or maybe two different colors on the warp and a handful on the weft. The different colored threads allow you to mix them into different patterns. The more multi-colored and complicated the pattern, the more warp and weft threads you’ll need.
The Begg 150th anniversary scarf has 6 on the warp and 25 on the weft, for a total of 150 different shades of cashmere. This makes for an extremely difficult production process - you have to constantly change the batch of weft yarns that you’re weaving through the warp. Since each batch can only be up to five, you have to rotate between five different batches.
The result is a scarf of beauty and technical accomplishment that rises to the honor of Begg’s 150 years in business. They have set themselves an awfully high bar to clear when their 200th birthday comes around.
Photos from Begg and Co