‘Masks for the Masses’ added to our permanent collection

Nottingham-based smart textiles developer, Footfalls & Heartbeats, is celebrating after its anti COVID-19 protective knitted ‘Masks for the Masses’ have been given a place in the permanent collection of the Framework Knitters Museum.

Footfalls pivoted at the beginning of April 2020 to make facemasks on its Santoni knitting machines for the UK’s logistical, distribution and support staff who are one level away from the frontline in the COVID-19 crisis.

“Today is an incredibly special day for Footfalls. Footfalls has been asked to provide a couple of masks for the permanent collection of a museum. MoMa, The Louvre, British Museum or the Guggenheim? None of these is the recipient. The Framework Knitters Museum, near Nottingham, is the amazing place where our masks will be part of the permanent collection,” said Footfalls & Heartbeats founder, Simon McMaster.

“For our team and our company this is a huge honour as the museum is “font” of all knowledge and history with respect to weft knitting. Weft knitting as we know it today was invented in Nottingham and Footfalls is very proud to be part of that history.”

“Our knitted textile sensors would not have been possible without all the advances made in weft knitting. And weft knitting was born with the invention of the stocking frame. Thanks Nottingham, without your creative history we couldn’t do what we do.”

The Framework Knitters Museum is delighted to welcome ‘Masks for the Masses’ to our collection!

How the masks were designed and made

Development started on the Santoni X Machine (2019) in April 2020. The secret to the knitting is utilising the reciprocation characteristics of the specialised intarsia knitting machine to create a flat fabric, rather than circular.

6th April 2020

  • Started with a basic rectangular shape with no elastic knitted to determine width and height dimensions
  • Introduction of elastic border gave the rectangle a curved effect to begin shaping of the masks.
  • Next was to ensure better fit to the face. Stitch structures and reduced courses on the elastic edges allowed better curvature to provide a more ergonomic fit.
  • Fashioned edges with deliberately knitted fixture points allowed anchoring of the elastic straps in many fitting styles for different face shapes of the end users.
  • Anti-microbial yarn was sourced from our Canadian partners FilSpec and was plated on the inside throughout the mask.
  • Finally, the iconic Footfalls and Heartbeats “&” logo was included in the top right-hand corner of the
    masks design.

13th April 2020

  • Anti-microbial yarn was changed to just the centre of the mask where the user’s breath from nose and mouth would be expired. A dense stitch 1×1 alternate knit structure with an anti-microbial zinc oxide / Tencel blend yarn allowed ensured protection against vapour transfer, as well as a unique style to the mask design.
  • A selection of Black and Burgundy colours was decided to kick off production.
  • More colours followed due to demand for lighter versions.

Programming was done on Santoni SisPlus software by Mr. Andrew Thompson and Mr. Byron Salisbury..

How to buy Footfalls & Heartbeats Masks

To buy Footfalls & Heartbeats ‘Masks for the Masses’, please follow this link: https://www.footfallsandheartbeats.com/masksforthemasses.