The craft of hand-intarsia is rooted in the local heritage of the Scottish borders, having been produced there for generations.
Against the idyllic rural backdrop of Innerleithen, hand-intarsia has been practised for more than 200 years. This traditional knitting technique, meaning 'inlaid by hand', is used to create intricate patterns with multiple colours; as with the woodworking technique of the same name, different colours of fabric appear to be inlaind within one another, fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Knitwear powered by people.
To produce hand-intarsia, the yarn is laid by hand onto the needle bed of the 'dubied' knitwear machine, colour by colour, to create a clean, refined pattern. A dubied machine uses no electricity and is entirely human-powered.
By contrast, the large mechanical 'shima' machines that have automated the intarsia technique are programmed to knit automatically and will only able to produce simpler designs – machines could not compete with the work of the skilled craftspeople that realise our cursive, hand-scripted motifs.
It is an incredibly time-consuming process in which the detail and precision of our designs can only be achieved by hand.