Textiles, Craftsmanship & Design
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The latest edition to our plant of machinery, costing in excess of £100,000, enables us to produce seamless Guernsey’s as they were once knitted by hand on circular knitting pins I n 2006 after fighting for many years to compete in an industry that had become dominated by Far Eastern production I decided to draw stumps and retire to Guernsey. Some retirement as ten years later I am still running a company that has a turnover approaching half a million pounds with 40% of its production being exported to Japan. Guernsey Woollens was formed in 1976 by three men, one of whom was Phil Walker. Guernsey Woollens grew from strength to strength along with four other companies on the island all making Guernsey sweaters. The business peaked in 1985 when it employed 65 people. The Guernsey had gone from being a hard- wearing sweater used by fishermen to a fashion item. The problem with such a distinctive garment becoming a fashion item was that it was destined to have a finite life. Although the nautical fraternity continued to buy the Guernsey there were not enough sales for the now overproduction. Three of the producers ceased trading. In spite of having tried other ventures, by 2006 Guernsey Woollens had shrunk to employing just two people. That was the year I decided to retire so I moved my wife and young family to Guernsey. I quickly realised that retirement was not for me and as I had brought two machines with me perhaps I sensed that was true. Phil and I decided to join up and resurrect the company. We moved to smaller premises, got rid of the older machinery and, initially stuck to our core product, the Guernsey, which we produced in a limited colour range. We circularised all of the UK chandleries and launched a website. In order to expand we resurrected the sister styles; cardigans, zippers, crew necks and vee necks.
Yours truly wearing a Guernsey with the Guernsey flag knitted integrally using a technique called intarsia
FACTS ABOUT GUERNSEY WOOLLENS
»» Established in 1976 »» Operates from a workshop in the parish of Vale »» All of the styles we sell are manufactured in their entirety from yarn cones to knitted garments and final finishing here at the above workshop »» In addition to the classic Guernsey we also manufacture a number of fashion styles the largest percentage of which are delivered to a number of Japanese Stores »» www.guernseywoollens.com
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