May 2020, Shima Seiki placed the computerized warp yarn insertion type flat-bed knitting machine, LAPIS on the 3rd Floor of the Forte Wajima building, where the Knit Fusion Museum is located.

The origin of the LAPIS comes from the SPL machine, a fully automated pattern knitting machine, introduced in 1971. This SPL machine was introduced at our first ITMA exhibition in Paris, and was showcased as “a machine with no competition, with advanced capabilities to combine flat-knit, warp-knit, and weaving techniques, creating the Fourth Kind of Knitting.” In addition, SPL-J was introduced in 1974 which was also created a buzz, as a “machine that breaks down traditional boundaries of flat-bed knitting”. Later in 1983, the SPL-C was created to enter the computerized phase of knitting. Since then, the SPL102CS was introduced in 1994, and finally, the LAPIS was showcased at IKME Milano in 2005 with SlideNeedle embedded.

The name LAPIS derives from “LAPIS LAZULI” (Blue Gem) or “Colored Pencil” (Italian) and has many meanings but just as the name suggests, we are able to create colorful and unique knitwear. This original machine allows for warp yarns and weft yarns to be knitted, creating intarsia like vertical striping with various colors for beautiful plating connection, and also features our patented SlideNeedle for consistent and clean loops allowing for a kind of knitwear never seen before.