BAKKA produces sustainable contemporary Fair Isle textiles in a unique reversible fabric to the highest quality and standards. It preserves Shetland's rich knitwear heritage by using the oldest patterns and colours in a contemporary manner.
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Mary Macgregor produces luxury contemporary Fair Isle textiles. She launched her business, BAKKA, in December 2016.
Having extensively researched the market prior to launching, she realised that there was a gap at the fine gauge end; noone was producing fine Fair Isle knitwear. Her work fills that gap.
She also noticed that the oldest patterns were in danger of dying out through lack of use, so decided to find her inspiration uniquely in those motifs. Similarly, she has faithfully replicated the old natural colours.
In 2018 Macgregor perfected a way by which she could produce the traditional 4 or 5 colour patterns using a 2-colour knitting technique, thus creating her unique reversible Fair Isle textile. Instead of having the traditional loops of thread on the back of the fabric, Macgregor's fabric has the same pattern as on the front, but with the colours inverted. It was rather complicated to achieve, but the resulting fabric is so much more satisfactory as a 21st Century product that the effort was well worthwhile. She believes that this is the way of the future. To date noone has copied her.
Traditional Fair Isle has 2 colours in a row. However, the modern Shima Seiki knitting machines can accommodate 3 colours in a row. So, in the summer of 2020, she started colouring the Fair Isle motifs in a completely different way for knitting with this technique. It could be compared to exploring the 3D version of an architect's 2D drawing. The results are quite startling and totally modern, and the initial output is receiving many compliments. The third colour adds structure and fluidity to the piece. This is very much work in progress; an area which she is hoping to develop in the near future.
Macgregor's products are sustainable.
Up until recently, Macgregor has been working solely in the world renowned 100% superfine merino from Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia. Zegna Baruffa have operated in a sustainable fashion in every sense of the word, since 1850 It is second nature to them. They publish an annual sustainability report : https://www.baruffa.com/en/sustainability/ .
Macgregor is now also working with two of Iafil's cottons, Pima and sea cotton. Iafil was founded in 1890 and works every day for sustainability and traceability, for achieving a balance between the environment and economic growth.
BAKKA operates a zero-waste policy. The production unit keeps all the machine setup routines and sample or failed pieces which are upcycled.
To summarise, Macgregor preserves and promotes Shetland's rich textile heritage by using the oldest Fair Isle patterns and colours in a sustainable contemporary manner.
Please visit the website for more information. https://www.bakkaknitwear.com
Also, BAKKA offers a small range of hand-knitted fisherman's haaf keps, and a shorter cloche hat, both knitted in pure Shetland wool in the same colours as the principal collections. The cloche hats are fully lined for extra warmth. They are long, designed to come right down to your eyebrows and below the tips of your ears.
Finally for the knitter in you, there is a collection of knitting patterns in 3 sizes for traditional fisherman's hats, called haaf keps. Each pattern is offered on its own, or as a kit with the required amount of pure Shetland wool. BAKKA also sells Mary Macgregor's highly successful book 'Fair Isle Knitting Patterns' which can be autographed and personally dedicated for you.
To facilitate your shopping experience, BAKKA operates a mobile shop from her BAKKA van in the busy centre of Lerwick many days during the summer months. Please email to find out exact days.