With only one month to go until unravel we have been enjoying catching up with our talented exhibitors, speakers and workshop tutors. This week, we spoke to Louisa Harding to discuss her new venture Yarntelier, her tips to a successful yarn show and to find out more about her unravel workshop; where she shares her beautiful cashmere yarns and teaches you how to knit her gorgeous signature rosette pattern…
Beautiful yarns, design and photography are the centre of your new yarn and design collection Yarntelier. Can you tell us a bit more about the background to its creation?
One of the central ideas behind creating the Yarntelier brand was to have more input over the yarns that I selected to design with and the yarn manufacturers I chose to work with. I saw an opportunity to work with production based closer to home in West Yorkshire, the Cashmere yarn is spun in a mill located 5 miles from where we live, they have been spinning for over 200 years, we use bespoke twisters in Brighouse and the yarn is balled in Bradford. Every hand knitted stitch is individual, which is why we named the brand Yarntelier, to evoke the handmade couture workshops of France. Design and photography have always been key to my work, the photographs are my way of storytelling, of bringing the design inspiration to life.
What draws you to working and designing with cashmere?
Because every knitted stitch is unique and made by hand then the work produced should reflect the time spent. My view is to use the most beautiful yarn available, for me this is cashmere. Cashmere when hand knitted creates fluid, drapy and feminine gossamer-fine fabrics, every delicate, considered, hand-knitted stitch combines to create a beautiful piece of couture, a piece of couture that you create yourself.
We are so excited that you are sharing how to make your signature rosette with our visitors in an unravel 2017 workshop. Can you tell us how the rosette came in to being and its relevance to you as a designer?
My work is unashamedly feminine and I love the fashions of the 1930’s and 40’s. During this period materials were rationed, dressmakers and knitters had to find other ways to update their clothing, adding embroidery and embellishment was a way to add a unique touch, my rosette pattern is a nod to this idea.
What are your favourite ways to introduce the rosette into a pattern or use it to embellish an item?
I love to use the rosette pattern to add a flourish to a simple knitted garment, beanie or beret. I have used it to add neckline interest, as a feature on a shawl by sewing on a brooch back and I have used a version of it to embellish knitted purses. The pattern is very versatile and you can create two colour rosettes by casting on with one colour and working the remainder in a contrasting or coordinating shade.
Together with your husband, Stephen, you created the Miss Bea series of knitting books, inspired by your children, Belle and Oscar. Have you any plans to write more books or are there any other creative projects you have in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
At the moment we are focusing on the Yarntelier yarns and patterns, the cashmere yarn is so beautiful to work with and I have so many ideas whirling around in my head, just not enough time.
We are so excited that you are exhibiting as well as teaching the workshop at unravel. Could you tell us what attracted you to unravel as a show and what you are looking forward to seeing there?
I have heard amazing reviews of unravel and have always wanted to visit. I think Yarntelier has a different signature to the previous brands I have worked on, to me unravel seems to be embracing the crafting community on a more individual level so I looking forward to meeting like-minded crafters. From a personal view, I wanted to visit unravel because my Grandmother (who taught me to knit) lived in Churt and I spent many happy hours looking at ribbons and buttons with her in the haberdashery department at Elphicks, I am sure that is where my love of sewing and craft began.
Are there any hints or tips you can share with visitors to a yarn show, to get the most from the experience?
Do a quick tour of the show, using a little notebook jot down the stands you love, pick up leaflets and postcards, then go back and have a proper look. There is nothing worse than time running out and you are still in the second aisle.
Louisa’s Knit the Yarntelier Rosette workshop is on sale now. Click here to buy a ticket. Workshop tickets include same day entry to the festival and a tea or coffee.
Exhibitor listings, other workshop details and information on this year’s charity project the Knit Aviary can be found on the unravel pages here.