Our Company

Sirdar – A brand with a rich heritage

In 1880 the original spinning company was established in Ossett by the Harrap brothers, Tom and Henry, originally using only wool fibres. With only a handful of employees, the brothers set out to create a good name for themselves and to produce high quality products. Ten years later the business moved to the site it currently occupies in Alverthorpe, Wakefield.

By 1934 the company was being run by Tom’s son Fred and he decided that the future of the business should be dedicated to spinning hand knitting yarns and selling them directly to independent retailers. Consequently he needed a strong brand name and chose Sirdar, meaning leader, after Lord Kitchener’s appointment as Sirdar of the Egyptian Army. This was the start of a passion to create inspiring yarns in great colours and to design hand knits that were both enjoyable to knit and stylish to wear. The first Sirdar yarns and leaflets were launched at that time and since then the brand has gone from strength to strength.

Mrs. Jean Tyrrell, Fred’s daughter, who had become Chief Executive of the company by 1960, secured the first editorial features in women’s fashion magazines, introducing Sirdar to a vast audience of potential hand knitters. Mrs. Tyrrell was awarded an OBE in recognition of her pioneering work.

Following a management buyout in November 2007, the company was acquired from its previous owners, Sirdar PLC, by three directors each with extensive experience in the industry.

Sirdar – a passion for design

Over the years fashion has played an important part in our development and we have built up the most amazing design archive – from the necessity of the 1940’s wartime knitter (who wanted to knit something quite glamorous as well as helping the war effort), through the fair isles and space dyes of the 1970’s, the batwings and mohairs of the 1980’s, up to the present day – Sirdar has created something from every fashion movement and our design archive is incredibly diverse.

Today, design remains at the very heart of what we do. We visit the world’s leading yarn and textiles exhibitions to find inspirational new trends in colour, yarn and design, which we translate into our own Sirdar style – a style that we hope is perfect for today’s hand knitters. Our award-winning designers produce over 350 patterns a year, and everything is done by hand in our own design studio with each pattern instruction being triple checked to ensure that it is easy to follow and that everyone can create our designs with ease.

As well as keeping an eye on major fashion trends, we also have yarns with a timeless quality and appeal. Our well-loved classics such as Country Style and Wash ‘n’ Wear have been around for decades and remain the go-to yarns for thousands of knitters worldwide.  Our best-selling yarn range, Snuggly, is the UK’s favourite hand knitting yarn for baby and for very good reason - its quality, softness and easy care characteristics have been adored by generations of knitters.

Hayfield became part of the Sirdar family in the 1970’s and to this day is renowned for its good quality range of essential yarns and designs, perfect for those who want extra value but don’t want to compromise on quality.  Re-launched in 2011, the Hayfield style and colour palette is modern and wearable and very enjoyable to knit.

The Sirdar range is sold through an extensive network of independent retailers, specialist knitting and craft shops, online retailers and department stores throughout the UK and beyond.

With pride in our heritage and in-house craftsmanship, we continue to innovate in all areas of hand knit and are committed to providing irresistible, quality yarns and the best in hand knit design.  We hope that our love and enthusiasm for yarn is infectious.