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Artisanal Machines versus Industrial Machines

Today’s post will give you an insight into the knitwear world. We have previously talked about the design process in our posts, but now it’s time to delve into the knitting process itself.

There are different types of knitting techniques in the market. We have the artisanal knitting techniques where no machines are involved, it’s a 100% handmade elaboration, like crocheting or knitting with needles. A single piece can include the work and effort of many people in the community.

 

Photography Graciela Huam’s leader developer

 

But there are also machines, and these can be divided into two groups. The manual or artisanal machines and the industrial machines.

Industrial machines require the expertise of technicians who elaborate a program to develop the pattern for the final garment. This program shows a preview of what the knit will be when it’s done: the aspect, the design, colors and figures included, etc.

Photography via knitting industry

 

Among these machines, we can find gauges that go from 3 to 21. Being 21gg, the finest and subtle gauge, which gives the knit a paper look. An interesting detail about industrial machines is that they can mix more than 10 different yarns at the same time, giving you several possibilities when designing a garment.

But, everything has to be figured out before running the program, once it’s done, you can’t make changes in the program.  In the industrial knitwear world, two brands are running the market, the Chinese Shima Seiki and the german Stöll.

Photography Graciela Huam’s leader developer

 

The second type of machines are the ones Graciela Huam works with, the artisanal or manual machines, called this way because they still need manual intervention to function.

The artisans work row by row using the machine as support. This allows preserving their techniques while making the process a little bit faster with a machine. In that sense, artisanal machines perpetuate the culture and identity of our country.

Besides, every piece turns out to be unique as it happens when a garment is hand-made.

 

 

Another great thing to consider is that if you want to make a change in the construction or design in the middle of the production you can modify the piece while knitting it.

Artisanal machines, give you that “freedom” to create along the way. You can produce different types of knits with these machines such as Intarsia and Jacquard. Besides, you can work with a different type of yarns such as “fantasy” or textured yarns, which you can’t do with industrial machines.

 

 

Photography: Graciela Huam’s collections 

 

 

But which one is better? There is no right answer to that. It depends on the goal a brand is trying to achieve, their identity, how big they are, how massive their production is, etc. Sometimes industrial machines are chosen when a brand produces massively because their technology helps to produce by bulk.

Also, the 3D options in different gauges modern industrial machines are capable to produce, are a great plus for some avant-garde brands and haute couture houses.

But other brands, like ours, seek to preserve and share a population’s culture, practice conscious fashion and give a personalized item to the client while taking care of the work their artisans make. Also, when choosing to work with an artisanal machine, or fully handmade technique, you are reducing the energy waste and environmental damage.

Of course, some brands don’t settle for one or another and simply pick both, and they choose which one they are going to use for each piece in their collection, according to the specifications of the item to produce.

Photography Graciela Huam SS 2019 | Westerhoven crochet sweater available on animazul.com

 

 

In Graciela Huam, we are proud to say we value the work of our artisans, we believe in a conscious fashion. That’s why 50% of our elaboration is handmade and the other 50% is made by artisanal machines.

We work in 3, 5 and 7 gg, and the artisans make every piece unique, because they play with the settings of every stitch, so we have a variety of results for different pieces. For example, a garment can have the same type of stitch, but with different looseness, which makes it a different piece.

Photography Graciela Huam team in Puno

 

In our Summer Spring 2020 edition, we have included Intarsia and Jacquard techniques as well as handmade techniques as crochet.

This collection includes knits that almost emulate lace fabric, which has been accomplished between the artisanal machines and crochet, which according to our designer, Lis Bazán was her favorite technique to work with but the most challenging at the same time.

Photography Graciela Huam SS 2020

 

 

She describes the process as magic, and her favorite part is to see how her design in drawing becomes true before her eyes. She narrates every crochet piece was placed on a mannequin before attaching them, preventing the final piece from looking square.

This process demanded a lot of effort and creativity of our artisans and it was so satisfying for the whole Graciela Huam’s team to watch the result.

Graciela Huam’s team is constantly researching and experimenting with new knitting techniques, creative patterns inspired by new trends and landscapes. Our main challenge is to keep innovating while keeping our artisanal roots.

I hope this post was informative for you,

Until next post,

Coral Castro