Johnstons of Elgin // Scottish Cashmere // Made in Scotland

Here are a few images from our trip to the Scottish Borders...

On our last day we were given a fascinating tour of Johnstons of Elgin to see how their factory runs and how they produce such beautiful pieces of knitwear with such highly skilled workers.

Johnstons of Elgin Showroom, Beautiful cashmere scarfs

Johnstons of Elgin Showroom, Beautiful cashmere scarfs

Sock Knitting Machines creating the whole sock with fashioning and striping on one machine.

We were lucky to see some luxury and premium brands production bulk runs such as Chanel and Christopher Kane...sorry I didn't get the chance to take photos! 

We ended the day by buying a knitting machine from a local knitter and flat packing it into our car. This is how you drive a knitting machine from Scotland to London..

Flatpack dubied

Flatpack dubied

The Border Mill Alpaca Project: Sneak Peek

Last September, we drove around The Scottish Borders to meet suppliers and family run mills were we met John and Juliet at their Micro Mill, The Border Mill in Duns.  
John and Juliet are specialists at bespoke spinning of alpaca fibre as well as other rare sheep breeds. Incredibly soft hand feel and natural colours have the option to be spun to different weights and plant-dyed to earthy jewel colours. 
 

During our visit we were quickly introduced to their herd of 30 alpacas, each one with wonderfully different characters and charms. The alpaca and mohair goats live in the most beautiful setting in the Scottish Borders surrounded by rolling valleys and roaming peacocks, truly idyllic.

 

I bought some beautiful natural coloured alpaca yarns and have been designing and experimenting with it since for AW15. We are now planning our next trip to The Border Mill to work on a special project...more to come soon! 

ZEGNA BARUFFA MILL VISIT

  I hope that my blog posts will give a feel to why I source particular fibres and why I love knitting with yarn from Italy, Yorkshire and Scotland. I would like to start my first blog with this particular yarn mill as their products are of the highest quality with an array of beautiful colours that is often used in my collections; I am currently knitting, experimenting and developing with this yarn for my upcoming collection. 

  Whilst living and working in Italy I was lucky to be invited for the day to the Zegna Baruffa Mill in Biella, Northern Italy.  I have a huge appreciation of yarn and I am also quite a hoarder/collector of beautiful blends. I love learning the different processes that are used for worsted and woollen yarns and this often has an influence on designing a collection.
Zegna Baruffa are well-known for their noble and fancy yarns but I would like to highlight their specialism in worsted, high quality merino wool that embodies tradition and innovation with their Supermélange technology.

Dyed tops of Cashwool

Dyed tops of Cashwool

Sourcing highly prized fibres from Australia, it is then processed through its vertical integrated system, emphasises the characteristics of merino: the elasticity of the yarn, great softness and a exceptionally bright and solid colours. From working with Zegna Baruffa whilst living in Italy, I had the great opportunity to work with their colour consistency  programs and technology, which gave richness of colour and accurate pantone matches. This reduced the long winded and painful lab dipping process by half! 

On a tour around the mill you see the process from raw tops to a cone of yarn; scouring. carding, combing, spinning, coning, twisting and dyeing.

The most fascinating part of the tour was watching the Supermélange being dyed/printed, this has given me a new love and understanding of melange with its depth of colour and tone, giving unique shades to the yarn that could not be achieved with traditional techniques.

The tour was followed by a beautiful Italian lunch with lots of Prosecco! Benissimo!