Charl Knitwear Hardingham Gansey pattern knitted scarf

Born and Bred in England

Although I’ve been working in the industry for longer than I care to remember!! I still get an adrenalin rush when I see the whole design process come together; from the beginning, when I start sourcing the yarns and stitches, right through to the end when I check the production pieces ready to be sent out to my customers.

Blue Faced Leicester sheep courtesy of British Wool

When I started my journey with Charl, I wanted to make that process as transparent as possible; to my customers, so that they could see where the wool really comes from, where it’s spun and where it is knitted, but also to ensure that my product is made from sustainable, natural fibres and harms no animals, people or the environment in the process.

In my experience, the more processes a garment a garment goes through, the harder it is to trace, and therein lies the problem; if you don’t know where it has been then it’s not traceable.

I chose British wool because it is certified British (which means the farmers have to comply with very strict UK animal welfare conditions), the journey from fleece to finished wool is completely traceable and, in the case of my yarn, it comes from sheep that are raised no further than 50 miles from the mill where the wool is spun. Not to mention the immense heritage this fibre is imbued with!

British Wool certification mark.
Our British wool spun at Laxtons Mill, Yorkshire

I work with two factories, one in London and one in Perugia Italy. I’ve worked with them both for years and love going to visit them, the humming and clicking of the knitting machines, the spinning washing machines and the background chatter of the linkers on the linking machines, not to mention the woosh of the steam presses! Both factories understand the attention to detail that is required in my designs; from the intricate jacquard patterns of the Norfolk fishermen’s patterns, to the fully fashioned gusset details and reverse knitting around each seam and beautiful fully fashioning which is a sign of a well resolved design.Things happen fast in these places, they are a hive of activity, full of possibilities!

Earlier this month, when the factory in London was working on a re-order of the Hardingham and Charlie scarves and the Codling cardigan in a new colour, as I couldn’t actually be there, I asked them if they could take some photos of the process so I could show you what it’s like behind the scenes at the factory; I wanted to share with you the excitement of watching the knitting emerge from under the machine bed and the expertise of the linkers and hand finishers who are so skilled in piecing together the garments, weaving in the loose ends and attaching the buttons and labels.

Of-course not all factories are like this, but that’s why I’m so proud to be working with these two.

A peek into December!

We’re busy behind the scenes getting ready for the next round of on-line events and (hopefully) “real life” Christmas Fairs and Markets. We will be offering discounts and exclusives especially for each one so please keep an eye on our Social Media pages charlknits (Instagram) CharlKnitwear (Face Book). Here are the dates we’ve got planned so that you can add them to your diaries but I will be back soon with more details in my next newsletter:

  • Red Shops at Christmas 4-6th December (on-line)
  • The Glorious Edit 4-10th December (on-line)
  • The Kenilworth Christmas Fair. Sunday 6th December – live event (hopefully!)
  • Compton Verney Textile Fair 11-13th December – live event (hopefully)
100% recycled and recyclable packaging for all our parcels