Kate Box Knit studio sneak peek

I’m often asked about my knitwear making process, so I thought it would be interesting to share some behind-the-scenes insights with you.

It’s also really important to me that I show you just how much love, care and attention to detail goes into every item I make. There’s no fast fashion here! Knowing how much my customers appreciate the quality and traditionally crafted nature of my knitwear, makes me very happy!

Where I work

I work from my home-studio nestled in the beautiful South Downs, hand-making each garment on my 1970’s Brother domestic knitting machine. It was a present from my husband when I first left the Royal College of Art.

It’s been incredibly robust and the only thing I’ve ever had to do is give it a quick clean and change a few broken needles. My husband and I joke that when I really start knitting in earnest for Christmas, sparks sometimes seem to fly from it!

ADD93CFE-32B9-4F30-BF83-5E0249C421EE.JPG
3E8BABF6-3F02-467B-9710-2CC78FFBD060.JPG
A3230028-CD78-4842-8AA2-60801F4915EC.JPG

 Every stripe requires a yarn change

My signature look is very soft lambswool, with carefully chosen coloured stripes, blocks and geometrics but having so many different coloured stripes and patterns does create a complex process. Each stripe requires a yarn change which although not complicated, can be time very consuming.

I’m often asked if I would be prepared to have a small factory make some of my pieces but most factories would be put off by the number of colours I use. Some pieces require as many as 40 yarn changes!

I should perhaps think about a simpler design but quality, colour and my signature stripes are very important to me – and I don’t want to compromise on those.

751A8100-4DAE-4E54-83D5-C03BBDED3A8C.JPG

Tying on new colour for a stripe colour change

Panels are sewn together

I knit up my designs in sections and then sew them together using my Brother sewing machine. Each stripe must be carefully matched up otherwise it can look mix-matched and mass produced.

Wristwarmers and neckwarmers are fairly quick to sew, but large wraps are incredibly time consuming and become such big pieces they are sometimes difficult to handle.

I love seeing each garment coming together at this stage in the process, they are still very raw. The knitted stitch stays very open and gauzy until they’ve been washed.

CE06C243-8E89-4E1C-AD33-F2E4B0EE22EC.JPG

Knitted panels are carefully sewn together

The felting process

Once my designs are complete, they have to be carefully washed in the washing machine for the felting process. It’s always a bit of a nerve-racking time as things can go very wrong! I suppose a bit like putting pots into a kiln.

I have had whole wash loads of wrist warmers felt together into a one big mass which then become unusable. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Having built up experience, I generally know how many things I can put into a load of washing to get a good result.

My biggest fear is my washing machine breaking down in the few months before Christmas and having to reacquaint myself with a whole new machine.

1E55306D-A5F4-473D-8545-904A031B83F6.JPG

I love working with wool

I love working with natural fibres. Lambswool is a highly-versatile, renewable fibre with the most wonderful texture and soft-hand feel. It’s also available in an array of beautiful colours. And because it’s a natural fibre, the colours have a real quality to them.

887DC8D9-2D70-42FF-9232-CE33E1A97DCE.JPG

Lambswool is such a beautiful, natural fibre.

Delighted customers make me happy!

As the cold weather kicks in, I am delighted to have received some truly lovely customer reviews – thank you so very much! Keep an eye on my Instagram Stories where I will share them.

Please do keep them coming and tag me @kateboxknit on Instagram along with the hashtag #staytoasty.

117A57DB-7A42-43D6-83D2-D48B855F4D3E.full.JPG

Every tag, share, like or comment really does help us small businesses be more visible (and also supports me on my mission to keep people toasty warm in style this winter!).

SHOP THE RANGE

Caring for your knitwear......

Knitwear can last a long time if it’s cared for properly. With the advent of a new year and people making pledges to buy less and live more sustainably by looking after what they have, I thought a blog post on how to look after your knitwear might be welcome.  

Some of you may have been given a neck or wristwarmers for Christmas so I’m targeting this post on wristwarmers but most of these points will be applicable to any sort of knitwear.  

Wristwarmers in particular get a lot of hard wear, they stretch as your hands move and become dirty from picking up things and generally being worn! One of the ways in which you can bring them back to tip top condition is to give them a wash. 

Soak the wristwarmers in lukewarm and mild soap - I use Ecover Delicate but I’m sure there are other detergents which would be just as good. 

4E5E6A6C-D83A-47CD-BAAC-0C5002976306.JPG
78CD3BA4-E360-4092-827D-7CC73D359B43.JPG
B33308AD-AD02-4812-BA19-CFDC6528E330.JPG

Squeeze the soapy bubbles through the gloves but be careful not to agitate or rub too much as it will result in felting the wrist warmers further. Do not stretch or wring! 

Rinse in clean water until you cannot see anymore suds coming from the gloves.  

AAAF384D-3FC5-4097-8CCD-180F64568A8B.JPG

I lie the wristwarmers out on a clean tea towel and gently use the towel to absorb any excess water and shorten the time it will take them to dry.

Again, it’s very important that you don’t wring them out as that will result in stretching and misshaping the gloves. Once all the excess water has been removed, reshape the gloves and pop them somewhere warm to dry flat. I pop all of mine in the airing cupboard on top of a pile of towels. Do not tumble dry! 

C29B260C-FEE4-4430-8646-DD9DB85A4F80.JPG

Pressing can be done lightly with the iron set to a wool setting. You can carefully use a bit of steam to help with this process.  

1E4D1A6C-FA4F-494B-9565-C4C1759E3F8E.JPG

As the weather gets warmer and you no longer need to be wearing your knitwear, it’s advisable to give it one last wash and then store it away carefully. 

If anyone else has any tips on how to look after their knitwear I’d love to hear them?! 

Happy customers!

When you hand-craft something with love, there is simply nothing better than receiving positive feedback from happy customers.

Earlier this month, I was heartened by one happy customer in particular. Cris Black, founder of Leaping Cow creative design took a fabulous short video of her working away at her computer– keeping toasty warm in her newly purchased Kate Box Knit wristwarmers. Take a sneak peek here:

We originally met via Instagram, then Cris came to find me at the recent Watoto Fair. Cris is a print and digital media designer who works with businesses to help them communicate with their customers in a persuasive style. You can see more of her work here: www.leapingcow.com I absolutely love Cris’s video – she models my wrist warmers in action so beautifully. Thank you Cris!

 

Over to you

I would be so thrilled to see more happy customers wearing Kate Box Knitwear this winter. Keeping cosy in style as the weather turns colder.

I’d love to create a montage of your images in a December blog post and share via our social media platforms in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to share a picture or short video, please do get in touch at kate@kate-box.co.uk . It would be such a fabulous way to capture our Autumn/Winter season!