Shuttle Knit is an Irish social enterprise, that crafts high-quality, handmade knitwear. Our knitters are members of the Travelling Community.
Traditionally, Traveller women worked by selling door-to door, at markets and fairs. However, recent legislation has created barriers that prevent Traveller women selling in the ways in which they did in the past, and so they needed to adapt and change.
Shuttle Knit started over 20 years ago, when the adventurous Sr Catriona Geraghty invited Traveller women into her home in Ballyguile council estate in Wicklow for knitting and a chat. Shuttle Knit began as a partnership between the Traveller and settled communities, with the mission to improve quality of life for Traveller Women and their families through social enterprise.
We were then, and remain now, dedicated to “Knitting Communities Together”. We design, hand craft, and sell beautiful, Irish knitwear online, at markets and in our partner retailers throughout Ireland. Our staff at Shuttle Knit are highly skilled knitters, seamstresses and designers. Our staff showcase our handcrafted knitwear at markets which brings them into the community in a positive way following on from Traveller traditions.
“We, Traveller Women, have many skills, like knitting and sewing. We learned to knit from our mothers and grandmothers, and continue to do so today, although now with hand machines.”
A quick glance at our testimonials on Trustpilot shows that our customers love our handcrafted knitwear. Each fashionable garment is designed and created with the love and skill of our staff, and it is ethical and sustainable “slow fashion”.
“Quality of the knitwear is top class. Too many colours and designs to choose from. I want one of everything!“.
One of Shuttle Knit’s goals is to bring inclusion into the labour market through social enterprise. We provide jobs and training to 11 women who are part of the local Travelling Community in Wicklow. The impact is that our staff have a secure income, a sense of purpose and they learn a skill. They are empowered and become role models in their own community and contribute to the local economy.
Our staff say that they “love coming to work”, and that it provides financial independence and greatly improves their mental health. Staff also feel that they are helping to change attitudes towards Travellers because people want to buy our products and we have many returning customers.
We are very fortunate to be located in the CEART building in Wicklow, which is owned by Wicklow Travellers Group. The location is very much part of the community, and thus feels like a “safe space” where everyone is welcome.
We are the only Traveller enterprise of its kind in Ireland and we aim to become a leading Irish knitwear brand. As we are a social enterprise, our customers’ support does more good for communities as our profits are reinvested into the local economy and the Traveller Community, and our customers feel good in our ethical, sustainable knitwear.