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Business / Woollen mill invests in second knitting machine after good results

Garry Jamieson and Peter Jamieson of Jamieson's Knitwear. Photo: Ben Mullay/HIE

A KNITTING machine recently purchased by a Shetland woollen mill is said to have been so successful in meeting demand for products that the firm has invested in another one with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The news was announced today (Wednesday) – in the middle of the popular Shetland Wool Week, which has attracted people from across the globe to the isles.

Family-owned business Jamieson’s operates Shetland’s only commercial woollen mill from Sandness on the westside.

The firm has specialised in wool for five generations and employs more than 30 staff.

The business buys Shetland wool and completes all stages of production at the mill before turning it into Shetland yarn in five different weights and more than 400 colours.

HIE recently provided support to Jamieson’s to help purchase a Shima Seiki knitting machine that uses Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology and enables whole garment products to be knitted – significantly speeding up the production process.

HIE said the quality of the product produced on the new machine resulted in customer demand for these garments outstripping supply, meaning the company was unable to meet international market demand unless they could invest in additional production capacity.

The firm was awarded £44,800 by HIE, which along with investment from the company, enabled the purchase of a second Shima machine increasing capacity and their ability to service the customer demand.

The project will create two new well-paid jobs at Sandness and will also support an increase in international sales of £47,581.

Jamieson’s manager Garry Jamieson said: “The success of the whole garment production line has been exceptional and we are delighted that with HIE support we will be able to meet the rising demand for these products, expand our international markets and support new well paid jobs in our community.”

Catherine Hawick from HIE said: “We are very pleased to support this investment in a valuable employer in a rural location.

“We recognise the importance of increasing productivity to allow business growth. This will also support the creation of jobs, and the retention of families in Shetland’s west side.”

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