12/22/2010

Vintage Tsuri Circular Knitting Machines of Wakayama, Japan


Tsuri circular knitting machines, also known as a vintage loopwheel machines, were originally used in the early 1800's by Italian and French garment manufactures. Similar to the vintage denim shuttle looms abandoned by USA garment manufactures in the early 1900's, tsuri circular knitting machines were also abandoned and sold to make way to more modern mass production machinery. By 1910, Italian and French manufactures began selling their equipment, many of which purchased by Japanese factories. Only a few vintage tsuri circular knitting machines are still being used today as Japanese artisans continue the traditions of quality make with the use of these machines once thought of as being obsolete.

In Wakayama, one factory owns 100 of these precious machines and 50 still operate. Over the years, the factory's artisans made adjustments to the machines allowing them to knit heavier fabrics suitable for modern sportswear such as sweatshirts, parkas, and other knits. The machines take up to 1 hour to make only a meter of fabric, in fact, they move so slow that they can be stopped by hand and thus very labor consuming. This slow operating technique, "slow vintage" as referred by the Wakayama artisans, produces a fabric with far less tension in the yarn resulting in an incredible soft feel that cannot be replicated on modern day equipment.

Naked & Famous recently teamed with these factories of Wakayama to produce a "slow vintage" slim hooded parka using their vintage tsuri circular machines. Later this week we expect our first shipment to arrive and we will stock 2 colors, gray and charcoal. More information will be available upon arrival.