At Mix Max HQ, we believe in full transparency within our brand, we have expanded on our ‘Craftsmanship behind our Mixter Maxter Collection’ blog & film from last year to show your more details behind our collections.
Starting on the Northern Archipelagoes of Orkney where we are based & where the majority of our knitwear is still produced with our local knitter Ann. Ann has knitted our twists, headbands and mitts since our first knitwear collection and works closely with us in development of new designs and shapes. We caught up with Ann in her local studio to see her knitting our latest kids collection and latest commissioned designs.
Ann’s knitting process combines a mixture of knitting machinery and hand finishing processes. All our accessories are made on knitting machines, using punch cards, or computer design programmes depending on the patterns and the repeat before passing onto a linking machine to sew up the majority of the seams. A small area of seams are left to be finished by hand and all yarn ends are darned in whilst the products are checked for any faults. Once all sewn up including care labels, the products get a wash to remove all Lanolin – the oil added to lambswool to allow it to be knitted without felting together – and link the fibres closer together to produce the soft finish known and loved with lambswool.
From day one, Ann has helped us translate our first designs into knitting patterns and adjusts to fit perfectly into twists, headbands and mitts among others pieces. Whether it’s just a simple image, drawing or a knitting pattern drawn on grid paper, Ann transfers these to her computer programme or punch cards. Initially knitting samples in a variety of colours to review patterns and possible colour ways before making any adjustments and getting the initial products knitted into samples. Checking twists, headbands & mitts for pattern repeat, colour ways and how the pattern fits even meets at the seams before we put into production and photograph.
With the growth and development of our knitwear ranges, we started to see the potential for working additionally with another knitwear maker. Opportunities to develop garment shaping and knitting in more colours has lead us to another incredible maker on our neighbouring Northern Archipelagoes of Shetland. The development of three or more colour patterns in our accessories collections, garment and homeware has enabled us to really push our designs in new directions whilst working with lovely, highly skilled people. The knitting process is similar to how our local knitter Ann produces, just on different knitting machines and on a larger scale. We are able to produce a greater variety of finishes which we have used to our advantage for our new Home collection in particular.
Here at Mix Max HQ we love working with a variety of makers and their skills. There is always a new technique to learn and a different direction to explore within designs. Therefore when we won the opportunity to have our knitwear samples in Cashmere in a collaboration with Hawick Knitwear through Scotland Re:Designed. We featured more about our journey into Cashmere and Hawick Knitwears manufacturing process on a previous blog.