History Of the Sanquhar Pattern

The town of Sanquhar was granted the status of a Royal Burgh in 1598 by King James VI which allowed the trade in the area flourish. As a result there has been a long history of producing and exporting textiles from this part of Scotland.

The Sanquhar pattern, is not one pattern but a variety of patterns, some of the first designs are said to originate in the 17th to 18th century, although no exact date can be given. A pattern comprises of two often contrasting colours, creating a geometric design. A large number of these "patterns" are based on a grid of 11x11. 

The most popular Sanquhar pattern is called the Duke which was named after the Duke of Buccleuch.

Exports of Sanquhar textiles reached their peak during the Victorian era. Knitted gloves and other garments from the region where especially sought after for their quality and unique geometric designs. However this was a cottage based industry and most if not all of the textiles were produced at home by locals to subsidise their income,  it was an industry that would go into gradual decline due to modernisation.  

So great was the influence that Sanquhar pattern knitting tradition, that it carried on through the generations, with individuals knitting hats, gloves and scarfs throughout the decades.  

Thanks to the information age the Sanquhar pattern has now become global, and tourists visiting our humble town from afar afield as Japan and the USA to see the town where it had all begun.  Globally there are thousands of knitters making garments and textiles with the Sanquhar pattern but sadly the local tradition of producing Sanquhar hand  knitted goods has been in steady decline.  

In 2014, Sanquhar Pattern Designs, an initiative was setup to revive a cottage industry and safeguard a local tradition. For more information on the initiative please click here