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What is hand-framed knitwear?

Siwd Mae! Today I wanted to explain one of the key aspects of my brand and why I love it so much, hand-framed knitwear....

What is it?

Hand-framed knitwear is a term used to describe the process of knitting on a hand-operated machine, as opposed to a power-operated machine or hand knitting with needles. This technique of knitting has been around for centuries, and it is still used today by artisans to create unique and high-quality knitwear pieces.

Since when?

The history of hand-framed knitting dates back to the early 16th century, where hand frames were used to knit stockings. These frames were made of wood and allowed for the creation of intricate designs and patterns. In the 18th century, hand frames were improved and made from metal, which made the process more efficient and allowed for the creation of more intricate designs.Today, hand-framed knitting machines are still in use, and modern machines such as the Brother, Silver Reed, and Dubiet machines have been developed to create intricate and complex designs.

19th Century Knitting Machine Frame by William Lee Technical Drawing
19th Century Knitting Machine Frame by William Lee Technical Drawing- Atlas Obscura

What can you make with a hand-framed knitting machine?

Hand-framed knitting machines allow artisans to create unique designs and patterns in their knitwear. Techniques such as Fair-Isle, a knitting technique that uses multiple colours to create intricate patterns, can be achieved on a hand-framed machine. Other techniques such as intarsia, cables, and lace can also be created on these machines. At Elin Manon I use fair-isle to create our heritage and retro inspired patterns such as the fair-isle scarves which are inspired by lace net curtains and Welsh flannel textiles.

The process of creating hand-framed knitwear is a slow and meticulous one, with each piece being created by hand. This allows for the creation of high-quality and unique pieces of clothing that are unlike anything else on the market. As well as fair-isle, the technique of 'weaving in' has become a staple of the brand, a technique I like to call the 'Knitted Tapestry' it allows me to create intarsia like patterns with textural surfaces, it also allows me to weave in up-cycled fabrics and yarns

Why do we still make hand-framed knitwear?

The use of hand-framed knitting machines has become increasingly popular in recent years as consumers seek out handmade and artisanal products. Artisan shops and fashion brands have embraced the use of hand-framed knitting to create unique and eclectic designs that are not mass-produced. The use of high-quality materials such as Merino wool in the creation of hand-framed knitwear has also increased in popularity, as consumers become more conscious of the ethical and sustainable production of their clothing.

As the fashion industry continues to embrace circular and sustainable fashion brands, hand-framed knitwear is sure to remain a popular choice for those who value craftsmanship and heritage in their clothing.

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Thanks for reading,

Hwyl Fawr



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