Lost Horizons sweaters and accessories are hand knit by women’s knitting associations living in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. We have been working with one group for over 25 years and the other for over 15 years. Each year we go to Nepal to develop new sweater designs and to improve quality control. The women’s skills were initially developed in projects funded by British and Swiss relief organizations. It was through them that we were introduced to these women. In the beginning, there were 15-20 women and one workshop. Now there are over 900 women and 10 workshops throughout the Kathmandu Valley. In these small neighborhood workshops the women come to learn new patterns, knitting techniques, pick up their wool and deliver their sweaters. They also use this space to come together with their young children to sit and chat while they knit a sweater or cap. It should be noted that our goal with Lost Horizons is not to exploit this cottage industry or these women, but to provide a new skill and meaningful work. The associations that we work with pay the highest wages for knitting in Nepal. One of the groups has a retirement fund and both assist in emergency medical and educational needs for the knitters and their families. One association, which is an NGO, is a member of the Fair Trade Association of Nepal. The other association, which is a private enterprise, not an NGO, cannot at this time, join the FTA because they are not accepting private associations. However this private association meets all the other requirements for acceptance into the FTA of Nepal. Approximately 35% of the wholesale price of each item goes to the knitting associations.
All of our sweaters and accessories are soft to the touch, very durable and warm. In order to produce our vivid colors, and to ensure colorfastness, we hand dye all of our own wool. Hand dying also adds subtle hues and richness to the color of the wool.