Textile Facilitation Unit


Our textile facilitation unit within the Creative Industries Section can also be accessed by businesses to enable new initiatives to progress and for research and development purposes. We will knit as little as three metres.

It is run by Jessica, our qualified industrial textile technician who takes students and clients through all stages of design, development and the production of knitted textiles, including garments.

The unit has three Shima Seki knitting systems (12 gauge Shima (model SIG 123 SV), 5 gauge Shima (model SES 122) and 7 gauge Shima (model SES 124)) and a range of finishing equipment.

A state-of-the-art computer system can visualise knitted structures and make instructions for knitting fabrics and jacquard fabrics, which can be developed from design ideas in discussion with our technician, from photos of your artwork or from traditional patterns where you own the copyright.

Recent examples include the development of new lace fabrics in 1 ply Shetland wool, the reinterpretation of an early Fair Isle pattern, contemporary textiles using mixtures of Italian and Shetland yarns, the development of knitted garments and very contemporary fine art textiles for university graduates.

Your first consultation with our technicians is free of charge (phone call, email correspondence or quick visit) and then there is an hourly rate for design development and programme patterns for use on the electronic knitting machines. With Shima Seiki dedicated software, patterns can be quickly adapted from design and knit programmes (Design-a-Knit). For complex, new or radically different work in smart textiles (yarns that conduct light and heat), or for garments in numerous sizes, several sessions will be required. Customers supply their own yarn but we can advise, if required.

The Creative Industries Section visits international trade fairs such as Premier Vision in Paris and Pitti Filati in Florence to get up-to-date market intelligence on trends.