The Initiative

November 2014, Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative (UNACCI) launched a major new knitting project with the hope of making a significant impact on the economic climate of Upper Nithsdale, Scotland. The project known as "Sanquhar Pattern Designs" supports the long-term  goal of producing high-quality knitwear using the traditional distinctive Sanquhar pattern.

Initial funding was granted from Santander's Social Enterprise Development Awards scheme. The funding is given to social enterprises and trading charities to grow their businesses and to improve the local community both economically and socially.

From its humble beginnings with only two electronic knitting machines and only one linker the four founding knitters; Kate Sloan, Elma Clark, Jean Ramsay and Sheila Crompton started producing high quality knitwear which would be sold through the local communities arts and crafts centre,  A' The Airts. Popularity for the knitwear has steadily increased amongst locals and tourist alike.


The initiative ultimately aims to resurrect a dying cottage industry.

With the increase in popularity the Sanquhar Knitting Project has expanded thanks to additional funding from the SSE and The Robertson Trust, as of September 2017 we have nine knitters, seven knitting machines and four linking machines.  

The initiative focuses on producing quality machine knitted goods with the Sanquhar Pattern, the patterns being an important part of Sanquhar's heritage. The sales of such goods are reinvested back in to the organisation which in turn  trains up local individuals with the skills and knowledge to produce machine knitted goods of a high standard. Our goal is that the skills developed by our knitters provide the foundation of re-establishing a cottage industry where locals can subsidence their income by producing knitted goods.

Items knitted in our workshops have appeared on the catwalks of 2016 London fashion week, commissioned by fashion designer, Samantha McCoach (creative director of Le Kilt) and in the exhibition "Sanquhar" by Jennifer Kent held at Lighthouse museum in Glasgow.

Interested in being part of the Knitting Project?

Sanquhar Pattern Designs is committed to attracting more people from the local community to participate in the project.

If you would like to be a part of team or simply want to learn then get in touch either by phoning us on (01659) 50514 or by visiting the workshop,  A’the Airts 8-12 High Street, Sanquhar, any time between 10am and 3pm Tuesday to Saturday. Please be aware though that spaces are limited and that we may not be able to accommodate you at this present time.


If you would like to give a donation to the knitting project please click on the donate button below.