Having a penchant for fabrics, Hollie Stone always has had a fascination with wool from a very young age especially after playing with her mum’s stash on the side of the couch. However, she didn’t think much about it until a few years ago she used ‘knitting’ to bridge a gap with her client’s communication skills and grow a successful working relationship. Hollie talks to us about her obsession with knitting, her love for wool and why it is one of the best materials for a baby.
Hollie’s career as a care worker meant it was imperative for her to always think on her toes and help her clients not only physically but more so emotionally and mentally. “I’ m often faced with situations where I have to think on my toes. One of my clients was very creative and liked to knit. I asked him if he would teach me to refresh my memory. We would use this time to build on his communication skills and grow a successful working relationship. I have him to blame for my obsession with knitting as I haven’t been able to put the needles down since,” shares Hollie.
When we asked Hollie what is it that draws her so much to wool, she exclaims that there was something just so inspirational about wool. “That feeling of walking into a wool shop in search for inspiration is one of my favourite things! From a young age, I would play with the wool in my mum’s stash hidden down the side of the sofa. Finger knitting, plating and knitting long strips (such as for scarves) is where it all began.”
Besides being so inspirational, Hollie believes that on a more tangible level, wool is just a great fabric to use to make blankets for babies. “It is soft, comforting and warm. I’ve also found that using different patterns and stitches such as a ‘moss stitch’ can allow the blanket to breathe and prevents the babies from over-heating,” says Hollie.
But Hollie’s love for wool and knitting only transpired into a profitable business after a surprise random request. “So I started knitting frequently after the session with my client. I made a few mittens and posted them on Facebook. Within days I had messages from people asking if I would knit some for them. This then progressed to a few commissioned pieces. It was after I received such lovely feedback i decided to create a Facebook business page, through which I receive the majority of my orders. I also have an etsy shop for my most popular makes.”
As many of her woollen blankets are made for babies, Hollie is very particular about what type of wool is used for the knitting and where she gets them from. “For the majority of my baby blankets, I use Hayfield chunky yarn with wool made by Sidar. I try to buy most of my wool from independents and local. We have a wonderful wool shop in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK called Budget Wools. A local family run yarn and accessories retailer since 1963. They have always been so supportive of my knitting and willing to help and give advice. The wool comes in a large variety of colours and is machine washable which I personally believe is a key factor when creating anything for a baby or child. It doesn’t shed or transfer colour and stays soft even after regular use.”
Hollie’s passion for knitting is fuelled everyday by sheer determination and motivation and she believes that those two factors are key if you set your mind to something and want to achieve it. “What keeps me going everyday is my determination to keep learning. Whenever people say to me ‘wow I love your creations, I wish I could knit’, I always encourage them to learn from social media groups, youtube videos, books, etc as there is so much step by step support out there.”
“I’m self-taught and still unable to follow most patterns, so I often find myself researching stitches and techniques. I now find that the most rewarding part of creating a knitted item is when I’ve had to learn something new.” And that something new is also discovering how much her creations have become part of the recipient’s life. “It’s wonderful and always makes me smile especially when I see that my creations have become such an important part of a child’s life. Even years later I will get a photo of them still snuggled up with their blankets. Knitting is a true labour of love for me and blankets are a definite favourite. All of my creations are made to order and I have a huge selection of colours which means customers can ‘design their own’ blanket with customised stitches and colours.”
Hollie’s creations can be viewed and purchased from the following links