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Shetland knitwear firm to increase production

Published: 10/12/2020

Steps to increase capacity and productivity at Shetland’s only commercial woollen mill have secured up to £45,850 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The funding is enabling Jamieson’s Spinning (Shetland) Ltd to buy and install a new yarn balling machine and label printer at its Sandness factory.  

This will improve productivity and increase capacity on the hand knitting yarn line. It is also expected to create more jobs in the long-term. 

Automatic labelling will be possible on both the new line and for the existing balling machine, and with employees able to focus on yarn production, the factory will become more efficient. 

Jamieson’s have reported growing demand for their hand knitting yarns in recent years; demand that has accelerated considerably during the pandemic.  

Previously two employees could operate one machine but with Covid restrictions this is no longer possible. The new machine will enable the company to double its output of yarn packs and divert yarn from underutilised commercial production, which would otherwise be wasted.  

The increase in capacity will also allow Jamieson’s to explore a new market opportunity for hand knitting yarn in China.  

Andrew Gear, head of business growth at HIE in Shetland, said: 

“At a time when businesses continue to face challenging operating and trading conditions, this is very welcome news from Jamieson’s. The firm has been working hard to adapt and continue their growth.  

“We are very pleased to be able to support the company in this way.  This project will help safeguard and create jobs in our local community and we very much look forward to continuing to work with Jamiesons.”  

Peter Jamieson, of Jamieson’s, said: 

“Sales of our hand knitting yarns have been growing steadily for a good few years, lockdown accelerated demand to a point where our existing machinery struggled to cope. With HIE’s valuable assistance we have been able to invest in new machinery that will more than double our capacity for these types of yarn.  This will allow turnover to bounce back quicker, safeguarding jobs and creating opportunities for the future”. 

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