UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 31 January 2017 20:45
Britain’s lost knitwear industry
When visiting the Scottish Borders to buy an old knitting machine for her studio British knitwear designer, Genevieve Sweeney met David a Hand Intarsia knitter who had worked for a renowned Knitwear Manufacturer until the 1990s when factories in the Borders started closing down and manufacturing moved to China. She was so saddened and frustrated that so many highly skilled knitters were no longer working in the Textile Industry due to the demand of fast fashion. What started off as a project working together to fuse heritage skills and contemporary design, became the focal point of why she started the label Genevieve Sweeney.
Genevieve fell in love with the hand intarsia technique with its precision lines and the definition it gives to the softest of cashmere when colour blocking. Time-consuming yes (the Munro takes 14 hours to knit), but an art form in itself.A timeless statement piece that will stand the test of time. She has made this the focus for her brand and is developing a loyal following of knitwear enthusiasts who love to buy into the quality and design.
What is Hand Intarsia?
Hand Intarsia is a traditional knitting technique; the term meaning ‘inlaid by hand’. The yarn is laid onto the needle bed of the machine, colour by colour to create a clean, refined pattern without carrying floats on the back of the design.This technique has a rich heritage found in the Scottish Borders, incredibly time-consuming processes in which the detail and precision can only be achieved by hand.
The Munro and Davin Jumpers
Sometimes asked how she chose the names of her designs (normally they are named from the nearby villages or rivers to where they are knitted) For the intarsias, she named them in a more special way; The Munro is named after David’s Dad, a fantastic character full of life who was also a knitter in the Borders. The Davin is named after David’s Mum Davina who also worked in the factories as a linker. These jumpers have been the most popular editions – selling faster than we can produce them!