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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
"We are now enjoying unprecedented interest in this area from brands and designers and thanks to the continued development of new technologies and machinery there are unlimited opportunities for wool." Santoni, Stoll and Shima Seiki are examples of manufacturers leading the way with this new machinery. AWI has worked closely alongside its partners to take advantage of wool's recent growth in popularity within the performance market, and companies throughout the supply chain are also acknowledging the importance of this new area of growth. New wool-rich yarns are being developed specifically for this type of seamless knitting, with enhanced yarn strength through core or wrap-spun spinning technologies. "This greater engagement by spinners on developing new yarns, and more importantly engaging directly with sports brands, reflects the growth in this area," Julie said. "At the Outdoor Retailer and ISPO trade shows earlier this year, we saw a greater number of wool spinners, knitters and weavers exhibiting than in previous years, suggesting the level of excitement for innovations in wool continues to be on the rise." MORE INFORMATION www.woolmark.com Traditionally, wool base-layer apparel was 'cut and sew' production with limited possibilities for variety. Now however, thanks to advancements in technical know- how and machinery, 'seamless' and 'flat' knitting technologies are being employed to manufacture not only base-layer garments, but an extensive range of mid- and outer- layer garments. Seamless and flat knit apparel are well-suited to high-intensity sports such as running, cycling, climbing, skiing and cross-fit. With the versatility of knit structures and compression panel effects, garments can be engineered with reinforced zones to provide a more technically constructed, functional yet comfortable garment with cutting-edge style. New patterns have been developed that uses body mapping -- a design technique that enables different areas of the garment to be constructed to suit the shape, motion and functional requirements of the corresponding part of the body. "Whilst not a new process, seamless knitting and flat knitting technologies to produce technical, functional garments in Merino wool apparel has been gaining ground during the past few years and we have now reached a point where there are a greater number of options on the market," explains AWI General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension, Julie Davies. WOOL'S STRONG PERFORMANCE NEW KNITTING TECHNOLOGIES HELP Santoni's SM8-TR1 machine that enables the knitting of single seamless garments for sportswear. Seamless knitting can also be used for lifestyle pieces like this Merino wool blend Yamba Cable Zip Jacket from Australian brand MerinoSnug (www.merinosnug.com.au). Seamless Merino wool long sleeve top from Brubeck. In a seamless knitting system, small diameter circular knitting machines are used to make body-sized tubes of fabric, which only need seams to attach the sleeves or to hem. The machines are versatile in terms of stitch structure which can be altered within the garment to create for example areas of high compressions for sportswear. The rise of seamless garment knitting and flat knitting technologies is helping enable wool's growth in the activewear market. 14 OFF FARM
In the Shops - September 2017