next winter – story of a tuft

having spent the weekend photographing the collection thus far, and processing the result, I have put the photos up here


I have a large stock of the most beautiful italian spun merino wool, and am trying to use it more. this cardigan exploits the fact that knitting cables pulls the work tight, and uses it to make a shape that flares out at the waist. the green/brown fleck is a lovely colour.

my theme this year is northern forests, the boreal forest, the inspiration coming from the survivalist, Ray Mears. this may seem an unlikely source, but his recent series of documentaries on the northern wilderness of Canada had some beautiful photography, and it seemed a very special place. colours of trees and lichen in the forests, the huge open spaces and wild rocky rivers, and the bleak tundra, each with its animal life, all formed an impression in my mind.


this intensely textured embroidery shows the most direct influence, I think of it as a map of trails through the forest. it came from a photograph I took of algae on an old unfired pot in the garden, through which snails had eaten random paths. I had already used the bullion knot stitch in the last collection, and searched for another stitch which would complement it. I found the candlewick tuft stitch in a victorian encyclopedia of textile techniques.


I used the same design and stitches on this wool jacket, in a heavier version of the merino. it has a big collar which buttons and folds over, or can open up into a shawl.


I can’t stop using the olive tree and bird embroidery, it is one of those classic designs which goes on working whatever you do with it. we did some children’s cardigans for friends with it this Christmas. this waistcoat is pretty and puts a shot of� stronger colour into the collection.


here we go with the big hats in very thick wool again – and the tuft stitch on its own. I love this hat. Sid looks gorgeous as always. I use my canon EOS D300, handheld, on the most ridiculously slow shutter speeds. as a result, some of the photos are a little soft, like this one. we sat next to the window to take the hats, but the light had got very weak, as the fog had descended on us by then.


the vintage button caps do really well, but� one has to try something slightly different, so a fuller shape, a buckle instead of a button, and a soft band to pull through the buckle – suddenly a completely different hat on the same theme.


I felt an urge to try a bag again this year, keeping it simple – no expensive leather straps, no stiffening, just a silk velvet lining, which gives it a little more substance, and the boreal embroidery for extra texture – a touchy-feely kind of bag. the strap is lined with ribbon, it stops it stretching and is quite strong enough. this year I have used the colour swatches for all the different colourways to make little bags. usually we use them up by making blankets, but there is a limit to how many cashmere and sequin blankets one needs!


  1. the tufting and embroidery is lovely, so alive! i’ve been doing some experiments with tufting during weaving, it’s very fun. i like the textural elements of these pieces.

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