One of the many things we love about our fabulous city is that a lot of incredible talent passes through it. So, when one of our stalwart team members heard that Di Gilpin was coming to New York, we rushed to invite her to visit our store. Being a warm-hearted Scot and a fabulous knitting designer, she responded enthusiastically and said she'd love to come to a friendly NYC knit store.
On November 3, we will welcome Di Gilpin, celebrity designer, knit wear producer and Scottish wool advocate to tell us all about her work and her commitment to local wools and workers. This inspiring woman, has created both beauty, and a cottage industry that benefits all of us "knit types," locally and internationally.
We were enchanted with Di's description of her company's core philosophy: To create original and intensely beautiful pieces of hand-knit, which not only protect us and tell a story, but transport us in the wearing, into a dream time inspired by the ever-changing land and seascapes of Scotland. To have the wearer feel the spirit of the wild free mountains, and islands, wherever they may be.
Di's passion for design is entwined with her love for her magical country and its knit and wool heritage, In addition to providing her finished hand-knit designs to selected stores in the UK, Japan and the US, the company also provides patterns for the hand-knitter through Ravelry and directly through her website: www.digilpin.com.
She describes herself as a designer, maker and wool lover, in that order. Working from her studio in Fife, which is a converted "bothy" near her home, she works with a team of local expert knitters who translate her inspirations into reality. She travels the Scottish countryside daily, interpreting the colors and textures of her home land. A passion for Scottish wool resulted in her developing Di Gilpin Lalland Lambswool, which is produced in the UK. It's a lightweight DK with a double twist which results in great stitch definition for fair isle, cable, lace and gansey projects. Take a look at some of her designs, many of which can be found on Ravelry.
Di is one of those rare design talents who walks the line between the world of high end couture fashion and the everyday world of her knitting public. She collaborates with well known British designers to create breathtaking couture work, such as this lace/intarsia gown (seen on the runway at the Edinburgh Fashion Show) done in collaboration with Graeme Black.
...while providing the rest of us with patterns to study and make:
A brief Skype with Di gave us some insight into her formative years. Early influences came in the form of knitting lessons (in school) and under the tutelage of an adored "aunt" who took her to the London fashion houses every year. As a student, a year spent in Paris visiting "tiny knitting studios" in Le Marais, instilled a desire for a studio of her own. Exposure to various home arts in her primary schooling continued to re-enforce her love of making things by hand.
Paintings by Klee, Chagall, Picasso, Matisse and the work of Sonia Delauney influenced her color and design choices. In addition, she's had the privilege of extensive travel and lived in Spain and Scotland. This stimuli and exposure to the natural world of other countries have resulted in pattern design and color choices which bear witness to her surroundings. Not unlike other respected designers, she has a reverence for the natural world and travels a great deal on foot and bike. I think it's fair to say, she often takes her cue from the land - and what a treasure trove nature has given her. She's honored it with some amazing designs.
We're particularly thrilled that she's chosen to travel to the States this fall and we cannot wait to welcome her and hear, first-hand, more about her design process and her local "cottage" industry which supplies not only the bespoke world but benefits the world of all knitters.
Please mark your calendar for this Thursday, November 3, from 6:00-8:00 PM, and come meet this inspired (and inspirational) woman.