Made in Scotland: J.C.Rennie & Co
On the 25 of January, people gather together over food, dance, and drinks to commemorate the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. In honour of the Scottish bard and what would have been his 261st birthday, we wanted to celebrate, in true Lowie fashion, by highlighting those who help to make our Scottish knitwear so lovely.
In Aberdeenshire, in the east of Scotland, ten miles from the sea and on the banks of the River Ugie sits an unassuming stone building with a tiled roof. Inside, large spinning wheels climb nearly to the ceiling with the capacity to make nearly a dozen tonnes of yarn a week. Skeins of wool, sample cards, and spools of vibrantly coloured yarn fill the nooks and crannies of the mill. It’s cosy and packed with history. This is J.C. Rennie & Co.
Founded during the industrial revolution, J.C. Rennie & Co. has been manufacturing woolen-spun yarn for over 200 years. Founded by two brothers, John and George Rennie, the company started spinning local wool for nearby weavers. Set next to a river, the mill’s energy for spinning wool came from a water wheel, which still exists today but would do little to keep up with current demand.
In the early 19th century, recognizing the special qualities of the Shetland wool, the mill connected with a supplier for knitters and weavers based on the Shetland Isles. They began to incorporate Shetland wool into their other wools and soon became a major buyer. Still to this day, the mill uses Shetland wool, and according to Rennie is one of the reasons their wools have such a Scottish feel about them.
“[It’s] as if the very essence of Scotland was somehow bound up in the fibres. The colours; soft reds, hazy blues, rich dark browns. The strength; born of hard times, sometimes threatening survival itself. The lightness, the handle, as soft and weightless as the mists, which as often as not, shroud the Shetland Isles. The warmth-Scottishness at its very best.”
Since 1798, the mill has done a lot of developing and changing into the renowned business it is today. But, what we love about J.C. Rennie & Co. is that they’ve been able to couple the same and thoughtful work and quality of materials they’ve been known for for centuries while still maintaining today’s expected standard of production. We use their irresistible yarns in our Scottish knitwear which is made with expertise and care by Harley of Scotland (You can read about Bronwyn and Natalie's 2017 visit here.)
For us at Lowie, quality manufacturing is paramount. It’s so important to us that when you pick up and put on a Lowie piece that you’re able to see the care and craftsmanship that goes into each design and stitch. When you snuggle into one of our Scottish knits, we hope you can feel the legacy of traditional Scottish knitwear.
For Burns Night, we Lowie girls will be cosying up in our Scottish knitwear and enjoying good company with a drink or dance or two. To celebrate our Scottish manufacturers we're treating you with a mini sale on all of our Scottish knits. We have limited stock, so don't miss out. Sale runs until Monday morning (January 27) at 9 am.
Shop Scottish Knitwear