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Knitting / Apparel

Fall/Winter 2012-13 Yarn Collections

Quality, novelty and tradition are focus at Pitti Immagine Filati and SpinExpo.

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

Yarns that are ultrafine or light and bulky, precious fibers, hairy surfaces and softness were of interest at the most recent Pitti Immagine Filati yarn show in Florence, Italy, where innovative mills presented new collections for Fall/Winter 2012-13. Sheen and matte/luster contrast are another look.

Some of the same spinners turned up at SpinExpo in New York City, where fiber producers and machinery companies also exhibited. At both shows, spinners noted buying habits have changed. Stock service, client product development, smaller orders, faster deliveries and sourcing markets closer to home are selling factors.  

Pitti Immagine Filati
Italian spinners at Pitti Filati cited mohair, cashmere, alpaca and novelty yarns. Ilaria Manifattura Lane noted that there is a market for luxury. Fine-count yarns of super kid mohair, baby alpaca and superfine merino are blended with silk, cotton and nylon. There are soft and light fancy yarns, sporty thick yarns, fluffy yarns, printed yarns, bouclés and glitz.

Ecafil Best S.p.A. sells worsted and carded yarns for knitwear, weaving and hosiery. Strong dense colors, fluffy printed wool/nylon yarns, bouclés and kid mohair dyed to give it a denim look were cited, along with bulky yarns that are air-blown to give them extra lightness.

Cashmere was in demand at New Mill S.p.A. and its Top Mill division. One best seller is a chunky cashmere/nylon yarn. There are basic yarns in blends of cashmere, lambswool, merino and viscose; novelty brushed bouclés; thick space-dyed yarns; and color twisted yarns. One new yarn has no twist, so it doesn't torque.

Fancy worsted yarns for knitwear are a specialty of Manifattura Igea S.p.A. There is a lot of mohair and alpaca. Yarns are slubbed, brushed, chunky, fuzzy and/or hairy. There are brushed bouclés, some with large loops. Thick-and-thin yarns, glitzy yarns, felted wools and printed yarns were pointed out. There are baby alpaca ultrasoft fleece and a merino/cotton denim-effect yarn in which only the wool is dyed. 

The most recent Pitti Immagine Filati saw increases in attendance and foreign buyers.

Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia has three collections. Best sellers in the Baruffa line are chunky lightweight wool/cashmere blends. Worsted yarns range from classic to fancy. Cashwool of 100-percent extrafine wool can be machine-washed. The core yarn in the Chiavazza collection is 2/28 cashmere, available in 165 stock colors. The line includes fine cashmere, glitter and blends with superfine merino. At Botto Poala, chunky merino is in demand, along with blends of silk, cashmere and Lurex®; and a silky-touch two-ply worsted cashmere.  

At Both Shows
Luxury spinner Todd & Duncan of Scotland pointed out that the luxury market in China is growing — hence, the rising cost and limited supply of cashmere. The company introduced three new products for fall/winter. There was an especially strong reaction to its 100-percent cashmere Hebridean Collection of tinted and heathered mélange yarns. The Glen Lyon collection of cashmere/wool slub yarns has a 3-D character with a voluminous appearance and light touch. Glitzy, 95-percent cashmere/5-percent Lurex yarns are selling for eveningwear and trim.

Lanificio dell'Olivo S.p.A., Italy, showed brushed alpaca yarns. A mix of alpaca, silk and nylon has the look and feel of cashmere at one-third the price. Light, soft, hairy mélange yarns resembling Shetland; fine-count tweed yarns; tape yarns; wool/mohair/acrylic roving yarns; thick-and-thin slubs; and metallic yarns were pointed out. There are alpaca/polyester/viscose mélange yarns that have a touch of brightness and novelty polyester/viscose burn-outs.


Filpucci, S.p.A., Italy, showed classic worsted yarns; carded yarns of superfine wool, cashmere, alpaca, mohair and silk; and a casual contemporary collection. Of special interest are ultralight bulky yarns created using blow technology. Bouclés, multicolors, twists, rustic and bulky, shiny/matte and thick-and-thin yarns are of note. 

Miroglio Textile, Italy, noted that buyers were looking for fancy and novelty yarns and color. Hairy yarns and yarns that are chunky, bulky and soft are popular. There were more alpaca and mohair, and less cashmere.

There are new worsted yarns for knitwear and weaving at Sato Seni Co. Ltd., Japan. Color was in evidence. Buyers reacted to Gobi — a new mohair yarn spun with graded color — and to yarns spun with washi, a yarn that comes from paper. A wool/washi blend is ultralight and has a dry hand. Other fancy yarns are spun of blends with alpaca or silk.

Südwolle Group, Germany, is the largest global spinner of worsted wool. At SpinExpo, its focus was on extrafine and superfine merino, fine-count cashmere and blends with silk and acrylic. This company is in the foreground with eco-friendliness. Its products are certified to Oeko-Tex® and ISO international standards.

Yarn Mavens Inc., New York City, showed three distinct looks at different price points. Highlights of the mid-price collection are tweeds, twisting with stretch, marled yarns, seed yarns, chunky yarns and bouclés. Alpaca, wool and blends with viscose, cotton, linen, silk or nylon are fibers of choice. Chunky yarns; heathers; tweeds; and viscose, wool and cotton blends are in the less expensive group. Fine-gauge yarns in silk, cashmere and blends are in the top range. The touch is soft and luxurious. There are silk/mohair blends, chunky yarns of wool/cashmere and baby alpaca mixed with silk.

Huntingdon Yarn Mill, Philadelphia, produces skein- and package-dyed yarns. Highly twisted wool yarns for crepe fabrics have been in its line for more than 60 years. Highlights of the current season include novelty twisted yarns, seed yarns and metallics in wool, cotton, rayon, kid mohair and silk. Exclusivity, small quantities — as little as 20 pounds — and fast deliveries are a specialty.   

Knitting machinery producers Santoni S.p.A., Italy, and H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, had extensive product displays to show the capabilities of their equipment. Santoni has a new seamless sweater machine that can produce multi-layered garments with different effects in three minutes and 50 seconds.

At SpinExpo, Santoni's display of seamless garments showed the capabilities of its knitting machinery.

The Stoll Fashion & Technology Center, located in the heart of New York City's fashion district, maintains an extensive pattern library and knitwear archive going back to 1873. Twenty-six hand-operated knitting machines range from 2.5 to 18 gauge and are available to provide knitted swatches or sample garments.

Fiber producers presented innovative new technologies and fashion trend information. Meadowbrook Inventions Inc., Bernardsville, N.J., producer of soft-touch Angelina® metallic fibers, recently introduced a range of eco-friendly fibers made from recycled post-industrial waste. The fibers have the same brilliant metallic and iridescent qualities and soft cashmere-like feel that Angelina is known for. Of special interest were Meadowbrook's 100-percent copper metal fibers and copper-coated polyester fibers that have therapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties. Another Angelina development is anti-counterfeiting security fibers. 

Australian Wool Innovation promoted its Woolmark label through The Wool Lab collection of trendy fall yarns and fabrics presented in seven fashion groups. The Tweed Run has classic and traditional tweeds woven with merino. Library is a preppy story featuring unexpected colors. Pure highlights merino's sustainability. Refined workwear yarns and fabrics are in the Genoa's Harbour group. The Hermitage collection is inspired by Navajo crafts. Wool's natural elasticity is emphasized in the Sculptured category. Limited Edition yarns and fabrics are elegant and refined.

Mohair South Africa Ltd., a non-profit organization representing the South African mohair industry, focused on the qualities and performance of mohair through a display of apparel and home products. Garments and accessories for men, women and children showed mohair's versatility, luster, affinity for color, softness, weightlessness, durability and warmth in a fashion-forward presentation. Today, South Africa is the largest global producer of mohair. At one time, U.S.-grown mohair provided one-half of the world's supply.

Afghanistan Social Cashmere Development Association, a first-time exhibitor at SpinExpo, was established in early 2011 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Today, Afghanistan is the world's third-largest supplier of cashmere. USAID support starts with onsite training for Afghanistan's cashmere goat herders, value awareness and harvesting; and works through the supply chain, including processing and spinning. At the moment, 80 percent of the harvest is exported to China. It is the aim of USAID to expand sales to Europe and the United States.

November/December 2011