During the early days of Archival Clothing, I posted photos from my 2007 trip to Centralia Knitting Mills. I was in pursuit of the Skookum “award” sweater which I first saw in the Japanese web shop Explorer (a personal favorite).
Skookum Award sweater in multiweave (Japan)
Last week, Tom and I returned to Centralia to make plans for an Archival Knitwear project. We’re picking up where we left off last Spring when we first proposed to manufacturer an all wool, shawl collar sweater based on historical photographs and patterns. Our meeting was a total success and we’ll update you shortly on what we have in store. One interesting detail: nearly 50% of Centralia’s products are now made for Japanese retailers including Nepenthes, Engineered Garments and a fascinating entity known as Red Gingham.
Most of the knitting machines used by Centralia are nearly eighty years old. Working with Centralia gives Archival Clothing the rare opportunity to produce knitwear as it was made in the past. We plan to take this opportunity to release a number of garments which we could once only order from the pages of our beloved 1947 Montgomery Wards catalog.
Here are some updated photos of the knitting mills with annotations by Tom.
Centralia employee Tom (not the Archival Clothing staffer), mans the lone computer.
Third-generation knit producer.
Vortex of worsted wool.
Trim coming off of the knitting machine.
This employee was using a sixty year old button sewing machine. Ran like a top.
A device that Randy invented in his teens for stripping out selvage threads between knit segments.
Our kind of filing system.
Random weave example – one of our favorites.
Randy’s dad invented the random weave for a Halloween costume.