Sue began her career with a degree in Graphic Design. She worked as a corporate graphic designer in design consultancies in London for many years, and eventually started her own design business. She commuted to and from her job by train and, being a fast reader, got through a lot of books, so eventually she decided to knit on the train instead. No-one in her family knitted, they sewed, so she had to buy a ‘how to knit’ book, some knitting needles and yarn, and went on from there.
Sue loved hand knitting and still does, but during this time she found an old knitting machine for 50p in a jumble sale. Sadly, she never could get that machine to work but it had a wonderful pattern booklet with it, which inspired her to go out and buy a brand-new knitting machine. Sue still remembers opening the box and seeing this highly complex tool inside, and thinking ‘I'll never be able to make this work’. However, she taught herself to knit not just with that machine but several others, and once she discovered the amazing creative possibilities in domestic hand-powered knitting machines, she was totally hooked.
Sue loves to explore colour, texture, fibre, and fabric in different stitch and yarn mixes in her knitting, to achieve the drape, style and ‘feel’ she is looking for. Many of her pieces exploit random textures and stitches, so that often no two of her garments are ever quite alike. She also hand-dyes and hand-paints many of her pieces. She takes a long time over each piece, and takes pride in crafting her knitwear with meticulous attention to design and detail, producing a high-quality finish.
Her aim is to make beautiful wearable knitwear which will fit and flatter women of all ages, shapes and sizes. She enjoys seeing wild and wacky knitted textiles but that’s not what she wants to make. Her challenge is to make beautiful and interesting pieces which are also totally wearable.
Susan was delighted to be selected as a member of Surrey Guild of Craftsmen in 2004. It was a real boost to her confidence that fellow designer-makers and craftspeople - local and national – show that they value and support her work in this way.
Susan frequently works to commission, which involves creating many of her garment styles in a wide range of sizes. She gets great satisfaction in creating a garment such as her swing hem tunic (in a recent example), in a size XXL. Seeing the client looking and feeling so good in her bespoke knitted tunic makes it totally worthwhile for her.
This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, Jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member.