The knitwear thread

florisgreen

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They wack the Possums over the head with a stick and kill them. I am not too sure I still want Possum for their warm hollow fibres.
I surely agree about that. And, ethical concerns apart, I really don't like possum knit: I saw a couple of items and they had a felt-like look and feel, which I wasn't pleased with at all. Besides cashmere I would choose (geelong) lambswool and camelhair. I also like somehow shetland, but I find it too raw and too little supple. No experience with alpaca. Vicuna would be of course first choice if I would swim in gold.
 

Panama

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I surely agree about that. And, ethical concerns apart, I really don't like possum knit: I saw a couple of items and they had a felt-like look and feel, which I wasn't pleased with at all. Besides cashmere I would choose (geelong) lambswool and camelhair. I also like somehow shetland, but I find it too raw and too little supple. No experience with alpaca. Vicuna would be of course first choice if I would swim in gold.
I was chatting to an Australian wool grower, formerly called a sheep farmer. And they hadn't heard of Geelong Merino or Geelong wool, it appears to be a European invention. My Hinchcliffe Geelong is not soft, I need to to get something in Baruffa Super Geelong yarn.
 

florisgreen

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I was chatting to an Australian wool grower, formerly called a sheep farmer. And they hadn't heard of Geelong Merino or Geelong wool, it appears to be a European invention. My Hinchcliffe Geelong is not soft, I need to to get something in Baruffa Super Geelong yarn.
You're right, geelong is not particularly soft, I also have several Alan Paine jumpers (Hinchcliffe yarn) and they are rarher dry and little supple. On the other hand I have William Lockie geelong thick garments, which even though not soft are much more suppler. But in the end I agree that "plain" lambswool is remarkably softer, this not meaning I like it more.
 
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florisgreen

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Other three pieces from my collection, all Harley Of Scotland, the first one in geelong lambswool, the other two in shetland. Harley's geelong appears somehow softer than William Lockie's (in the picture below).
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Lockie's is also thicker and denser, whereas Harley's is less tight knitted. I like both, but the Lockies seem sturdier and more consistent. Particularly nice, as I find, the pattern at the junction with the saddle shoulders in the Harley's garments, which on the other way present no stiching pattern at the collar, as seen instead in the Lockies.
 

The Shooman

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Will get back to Truth's post later.

For now, here is a nice turtleneck l bought.

Howlin' made-in-Scotland wool turtleneck.

Postage was way too high and l almost passed on it, but it looked very nice and was a turtleneck and was my size, so l bought it.
View attachment 36491View attachment 36492

Waiting for me was my long waited Howlin' turtleneck (made in Scotland). It is a beautiful piece, and nice and plush, however it is not densely knitted like l thought it would be. If l am going to do knitwear it needs to be densely knitted, but this will make a nice change.

Panama Panama it's good you have a supply of turtlenecks, they look good with so many things suck as coats, v neck jumpers and cardigans. You don't see many blokes in turtlenecks these days. I have a thick one on today and will soon pair it with a thick cardigan to wear out for the evening.
 

Panama

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Waiting for me was my long waited Howlin' turtleneck (made in Scotland). It is a beautiful piece, and nice and plush, however it is not densely knitted like l thought it would be. If l am going to do knitwear it needs to be densely knitted, but this will make a nice change.

Panama Panama it's good you have a supply of turtlenecks, they look good with so many things suck as coats, v neck jumpers and cardigans. You don't see many blokes in turtlenecks these days. I have a thick one on today and will soon pair it with a thick cardigan to wear out for the evening.

I have a few light cottons and a few light merinos, and one thick blend. I do have a Submariner but it's a different kettle of fish...

I am going James Bond or Steve McQueen this summer in the late evening..
 

Panama

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You're right, geelong is not particularly soft, I also have several Alan Paine jumpers (Hinchcliffe yarn) and they are rarher dry and little supple. On the other hand I have William Lockie geelong thick garments, which even though not soft are much more suppler. But in the end I agree that "plain" lambswool is remarkably softer, this not meaning I like it more.

Zegna Baruffa SuperGeelong is indeed soft..


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Panama

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Nice! Are you going to have a bespoke jumper or cardigan from them? Any informations about material origin? Australia, New Zealand, somewhere else? Do they knit themselves, or just spin and use other factories?
Zegna Baruffa is the spinning arm of Zegna. There is no origin stated, but John Smedley use Baruffa yarn and they identify their growers individually. They are all from South Island New Zealand.

Leading knitwear firms source from Baruffa, John Smedley as mentioned above and Alan Paine.

I am thinking about having a small range created, the cone cost is actually quite reasonable.I am in discussions with a few knitters.
 

florisgreen

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Zegna Baruffa SuperGeelong is indeed soft..


View attachment 36829
Very interesting! How many batches are those? Supergeelong is designed as extrafine baby merino: wondering if it's a new marketing expedient (similarly to Loro Piana "baby cashmere"), or it has fundament. According to you it should be actually softer. What are the options about models, thickness and fitting?
 
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Panama

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Very interesting! How many batches are those? Supergeelong is designed as extrafine baby merino: wondering if it's a new marketing expedient (similarly to Loro Piana "baby cashmere", or it has fundament. According to you it should be actually softer. What are the options about models, thickness and fitting?

SuperGeelong is a lambswool, so being baby Merino is technically correct. Probably more marketing hype. The ply and the appropriate gauge is provided but not the micron number. It is either 1/15 which is single ply or 2/15 which is 2 ply I believe. I am not an expert lol.
 

florisgreen

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SuperGeelong is a lambswool, so being baby Merino is technically correct. Probably more marketing hype. The ply and the appropriate gauge is provided but not the micron number. It is either 1/15 which is single ply or 2/15 which is 2 ply I believe. I am not an expert lol.
Thanks for explaining, but if they aren't able to make a garment, why did you get those swatch cards? Have you anybody, who could knit for you?
 

Panama

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Thanks for explaining, but if they aren't able to make a garment, why did you get those swatch cards? Have you anybody, who could knit for you?
They supply the yarn in kilogram cones.
I will need to find a knitter that has a relationship with Zegna or are willing to source my preferred yarn. Not every knitter would be willing to use a yarn they do not have experience with. Also Zegna yarn is for high gauge knitting and most knitters knit in a lower gauge.

As above, I am in discussions with various knitters such as Umbria Verde.
 

The Shooman

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They supply the yarn in kilogram cones.
I will need to find a knitter that has a relationship with Zegna or are willing to source my preferred yarn. Not every knitter would be willing to use a yarn they do not have experience with. Also Zegna yarn is for high gauge knitting and most knitters knit in a lower gauge.

As above, I am in discussions with various knitters such as Umbria Verde.

What type of knitwear, 2 ply?
What gauge are you wanting for the ply?
Would you be looking for an Italian knitter, Scottish one or something else.
 

Panama

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What type of knitwear, 2 ply?
What gauge are you wanting for the ply?
Would you be looking for an Italian knitter, Scottish one or something else.
Single ply 24 to 27 gauge. As above I am talking to an Italian knitter. I have spoken to a Scottish knitter that does not produce in that gauge. Other Scottish knitters haven't replied. I emailed a Portuguese knitter and they currently do not have any capacity.
 

Panama

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Single ply 24 to 27 gauge. As above I am talking to an Italian knitter. I have spoken to a Scottish knitter that does not produce in that gauge. Other Scottish knitters haven't replied. I emailed a Portuguese knitter and they currently do not have any capacity.
I may go lower to 21 gauge as finding knitters with higher gauge machines is actually difficult.
 

florisgreen

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Bought this one, McGeorge, Made in Scotland. Fine material, 1ply 100% cashmere, and nice colour, natural or sand. It's a very versatile jumper with a nice, snug fit. As you can see, some extra yarn is provided, like with the old Ballantynes: even though I wouldn't use it, I find it a pleasant touch. Any experience with this company?

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ballmouse

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Bought this one, Mc George, Made in Scotland. Fine material, 1ply 100% cashmere, and nice colour, natural or sand. It's a very versatile jumper with a nice, snug fit. As you can see, some extra yarn is provided, like with the old Ballantynes: even though I wouldn't use it, I find it a pleasant touch. Any experience with this company?

View attachment 36840

Similar to Ballantyne, McGeorge was a old Scottish brand that went bankrupt and the name was bought by some Italian company. I have no idea about the current quality but the original McGeorge sweaters would have been like the original Ballantyne (quite good). They also focused more on shetland sweaters I think.
 

Panama

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Similar to Ballantyne, McGeorge was a old Scottish brand that went bankrupt and the name was bought by some Italian company. I have no idea about the current quality but the original McGeorge sweaters would have been like the original Ballantyne (quite good). They also focused more on shetland sweaters I think.
McGeorge is back with a mill in Scotland

 

The Shooman

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McGeorge is back with a mill in Scotland


I wonder about these types of things. Obviously much of the skilled labour was lost when these companies started to have their product manufactured offshore. So now they are having at least some of their knitwear made in Scotland again, who is making it??

The Ballantyne name has started having their knitwear made in Scotland again, but is it really Ballantyne anymore? ...of course not, same goes with McGeorge, so who is making it for them, and to what quality?

It is a really good sign these firms are going back to the old ways of Scotland. Any CEO can make easy decisions and sell out to China, but not many would be skilled enough to turn that trend around. These manufacturers are waking up; the only way to stand out is to make quality. Manufacturing for cheap puts you in a huge mass market where it is too hard to stand out.

I have a 1960's McGeorge shetland shawl cardigan and it is incredible quality. A second one is due to arrive tomorrow.
 

florisgreen

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I wonder about these types of things. Obviously much of the skilled labour was lost when these companies started to have their product manufactured offshore. So now they are having at least some of their knitwear made in Scotland again, who is making it??

The Ballantyne name has started having their knitwear made in Scotland again, but is it really Ballantyne anymore? ...of course not, same goes with McGeorge, so who is making it for them, and to what quality?

It is a really good sign these firms are going back to the old ways of Scotland. Any CEO can make easy decisions and sell out to China, but not many would be skilled enough to turn that trend around. These manufacturers are waking up; the only way to stand out is to make quality. Manufacturing for cheap puts you in a huge mass market where it is too hard to stand out.

I have a 1960's McGeorge shetland shawl cardigan and it is incredible quality. A second one is due to arrive tomorrow.
Thank you! Can you please post some pictures of your Mc Georges, when the second one has reached you?

I understand your scepticism, I myself have many doubts about these news, because, as you stated, a large part of the traditional know-how has gone lost and it's not clear who's actually making the production. However I would salute any effort to revive Scotland's glorious knitting tradition. And you're absolutely right, the only way to be successful for such prestigious brands is to rethink their strategy and focus on supreme quality. I think that there are enough connoisseurs in the world desirous to enjoy again the quality of the golden times, or new rich greedy to show how much buying power they have.
If the Italian ownerships understand that they have to produce in Scotland again, it's surely a step in the right direction.
 
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Panama

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This makes me happy. Have you more detailed informations? Is it a new mill or an old one that they have refurbished? Is the ownership still Italian, or have the Scots bought the brand back?

 

The Shooman

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I wonder where McGeorge are getting their skilled workers and looms from. Looms are said to be the secret to making great knitwear. Ballantyne destroyed their 80 year old looms, so where did the McGeorge looms come from?

I might email them and see what l can find out.
 

Panama

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I wonder where McGeorge are getting their skilled workers and looms from. Looms are said to be the secret to making great knitwear. Ballantyne destroyed their 80 year old looms, so where did the McGeorge looms come from?

I might email them and see what l can find out.
One part of Caerlee Mill was listed so couldn't be pulled down. I wonder if that is what they are using?
 

The Shooman

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Can you please post some pictures of your Mc Georges, when the second one has reached you?

Got the other McGeorge shawl cardigan today. Such a beauty. I have washed it, and when it dries l will post pics of both. One is a bone while the other is a medium brown. Both in shetland.

Also got the Alan Paine in 60% alpaca. Such a beauty! Very traditional style and something not everyone would wear due to the pattern, but l like it. It's been a good day for jumpers. :)
 

florisgreen

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Got the other McGeorge shawl cardigan today. Such a beauty. I have washed it, and when it dries l will post pics of both. One is a bone while the other is a medium brown. Both in shetland.

Also got the Alan Paine in 60% alpaca. Such a beauty! Very traditional style and something not everyone would wear due to the pattern, but l like it. It's been a good day for jumpers. :)
I like very much your first McGeorge cardigan: that shetland looks so nice and rich, so different to the modern one I know. Beautiful subdued but strong colour. It also shows some lustre and basically no brushing at all: I really don't get why the shaggy look is so wished nowadays. Can you also report about your Alan Paine garment, possibly with pictures? Is it vintage or new production? What is the balance to alpaca?

Edit: Sorry, I just found your Alan Paine jumper in a previous post.:)
 
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florisgreen

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One part of Caerlee Mill was listed so couldn't be pulled down. I wonder if that is what they are using?
Even though I understand that the old looms were something special, I think that it shouldn't be impossible to replicate them if the will and the means are there. Possibly some are still there, hidden and forgotten, or at least some construction plans. Or, if everything went lost, it's certainly possible with the modern technology to reproduce them. Also about skilled workers: even though many are gone, it should be possible to still find some with the required technical ability to impart to new employees. It could be expensive of course, but I think that the results would well reward the efforts.
 
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florisgreen

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https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/new-state-scottish-knitwear

Possibly already posted, but I want to report it, as it's exactly about what we're talking of. It reflects precisely my point of view: the Scottish knitting industry has to focus on the high-end product and not to try to compete with the low-end mass-production of foreign (especially Chinese) competitors. I'm quite confident that the Scots would revive their inestimable knitting patrimony and reach new splendor.
 

Panama

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https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/new-state-scottish-knitwear

Possibly already posted, but I want to report it, as it's exactly about what we're talking of. It reflects precisely my point of view: the Scottish knitting industry has to focus on the high-end product and not to try to compete with the low-end mass-production of foreign (especially Chinese) competitors. I'm quite confident that the Scots would revive their inestimable knitting patrimony and reach new splendor.
Since that article was written Hawick Knitwear and Peter Scott/Hodgson of Scotland have closed down.
 

florisgreen

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Brora's Scottish knitter
Nice to see that while some old, prestigious brands went bankrupt, some others trusted in themselves and relied on the great knitting heritage in Scotland and have established. A relatively new brand (1993), this Brora seems to have everything for high quality production. Never seen yet in person though.
Some links about them:


 

florisgreen

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A Swiss-Chinese joint-venture, ftc (fair trade cashmere) has chosen to develop the local resources in the areas of origin in China, also caring about the well-being of people related with the production, shepherds, spinners and knitters. It's a fair philosophy based on sustainability and improvement of life coditions.
Here a contribution:

 

güero

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Even though I understand that the old looms were something special, I think that it shouldn't be impossible to replicate them if the will and the means are there.
As far as I understand, the looms are not nearly as important as the raw material and its treatment. Modern looms can produce excellent results, but if the input isn’t there it doesn’t help.
 

florisgreen

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As far as I understand, the looms are not nearly as important as the raw material and its treatment. Modern looms can produce excellent results, but if the input isn’t there it doesn’t help.
I certainly share your opinion: it's not realistic that the current producers are no more able to knit in the same high level as decades ago. What's missing is rather the will to achieve the highest quality, no matter the costs.
 
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