Fashion School receives new knitting machine


James Ahmad, the IT analyst, starts up the Stoll machine in the Fashion School to produce a basic pattern black and white scarf on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. 

Felicia Guadagni

Kent State’s Fashion School recently purchased an industrial knitting machine capable of utilizing 32 individual rolls of yarn.

The machine, a Stoll CMS ADF-3 multi-gauge knitting machine, is the only one in an educational setting in North America. According to a Fashion School press release, the machine weighs more than 3,000 pounds and is 10 feet long.

The installation of the Stoll machine will offer manufacturing knitwear production opportunities to fashion school students. 

Kevin Wolfgang, TechStyleLAB manager, said the manufacturing machine will eventually be used for a knitwear class that will introduce manufacturing software programming. However, the school is still in the initial stages of learning how to use the machine. 

“We’ve had the machine less than six months, so we are still in the very beginning stages of implementing it,” Wolfgang said.

The Stoll machine works by creating patterns on the knit programming software and sending those patterns to the machine to manufacture. 

Wolfgang, lead IT user support analyst James Ahmad and associate fashion professor Linda Ohrn are the only people who have training on the machine. Wolfgang and Ahmad have had two weeks of training, while Ohrn has had five.

“It can take several hours to come up with the basic pattern of a scarf on this machine,” Ahmad said. “The software programming is what is so time-consuming.” 

The machine was provided by private donations totaling about $130,000. Ohrn said there is a need for this type of machine at the Fashion School due to knitwear’s prominent role in the industry.

“If you think of what people wear, everyone has something knit on every day,” Ohrn said. “When we look at what is taught at fashion schools around the country and the world, knitwear is the only part that often gets missed and the one area a lot of students don’t have much knowledge in.”

Wolfgang expanded on Ohrn’s sentiment and said the goal is for students to be aware of the manufacturing element of design, which the Stoll machine will provide.

“We are sending students to work for major companies that use these types of machines after graduation, like Macy’s,” Wolfgang said. “We aren’t preparing them to open an Etsy shop.”

Felicia Guadagni is the fashion reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]