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I grew up in London living in a high-rise apartment and spent many hours wandering the halls of museums and galleries for distraction. Visiting these magical places I developed a love of costume, textiles and fashion. Realizing I wanted to study fashion design I embarked on a degree in ‘Textiles for Fashion’ at Brighton University, a seaside town with brilliant vintage stores which offered me an alternative way of dressing.

Yarn, garments, and design materials in Louisa Harding\'s studio

Wearing vintage clothes gave me an appreciation of the skill and love that goes into handmade clothes, the processes used and the attention to details. Whilst at university I discovered a love of designing using the medium of hand knitting, although I was taught to knit by my maternal grandmother aged six, my course showed me how to take knit and purl stitches, combine and experiment with them and transform yarn into beautiful knitted garments.

Yarn, garments, and design materials in Louisa Harding\'s studio

During university I was fortunate to spend a three-month internship at Rowan Yarns situated in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside. Rowan published 2 of my very early designs in Rowan Magazine No. 6 and after completing my degree I worked as an ‘in-house’ designer for Rowan Yarns for 11 years, ultimately becoming the designer and brand manager for Jaeger Handknits and Patons UK.

Yarn, garments, and design materials in Louisa Harding\'s studio

I decided to become a freelance knitwear designer in 2001 after my second child was born. Since then I have worked alongside my husband, Stephen, a photographer and together we created the Miss Bea series of knitting books inspired by our children.

In 2005 I was incredibly fortunate to be offered the opportunity of introducing my eponymous line of yarns and pattern publications, Louisa Harding Yarns. During this extremely productive period I was responsible for sourcing and introducing new yarns, designing garments and accessories published in 46 pattern books.

Yarn, garments, and design materials in Louisa Harding\'s studio

I had always hoped to introduce a British sourced yarn and in 2016 Stephen and I returned to the textile heritage of Yorkshire and launched Yarntelier, a bespoke collection of Cashmere yarns.

A recent move to Scotland has resulted in an exciting opportunity to work again with Louisa Harding Yarns, introducing a new yarn collection alongside designing brand new pattern support. This collection is distributed by Knitting Fever/Euro Yarns in the USA, Canada and Europe.

Knitters have always been my inspiration and I am so flattered and thrilled to showcase my new collection this Fall Winter.

Pop Quiz

Age you started knitting: Garter stitch at six taught by my grandma, reprised at 19 studying knitwear for my degree in Textiles for Fashion
Favorite needles: New discovery – Lykke Blush Interchangeable – because they work for every yarn and they are the most lovely shades of pink.
Favorite yarn at the moment: Caraz – love the stitch definition, for both lace and textured stitches. Amitola Grande – love how this yarn interacts when knitted with the solid shades of Caraz, fabulous for stranded/Fairisle projects as you achieve colour striping using just one shade. Amitola Brushed – totally under used yarn, masses of design potential and I can’t wait to design more projects using this yarn.
Favorite place to knit: On a beautiful yellow velvet sofa in my bedroom looking out to the mountains of the Trossachs National Park, where we live.
Favorite color: To Knit – Grey, perfect for every type of stitch definition and great to photograph To Design - What the inspiration dictates To Wear - Blue (everything I knit to wear is blue)
Favorite techniques: Lace, love the meditative repetition of lace patterns Fully Fashioned garment shaping Beading with a crochet hook
Least favorite technique: None – love a challenge
Current knitting-related obsession: Using Amitola Brushed and beads.
Current non-knitting obsessions: Looking at Florist accounts on Instagram, arranging flowers, even if they are wild (weeds) and then taking photos of my arrangements.
Continental or English: English
Other crafts you love: Dressmaking, my first love...
Favorite non-crafting activity: Tennis, can’t think about anything else when you are running to hit that ball.
Most productive time of day: I’m a lark, so early morning.
Fashion and knitwear designers who inspire you: Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton & Team - Design process, fit, shaping and couture detail Debbie Bliss - Knitting Icon Vivienne Westwood - Her early knits were inspirational and she is a revolutionary
Do you knit because you like the process or the end product?: Both, love the technical challenge of engineering a pattern and then the satisfaction of the garment fit and storytelling through photography.
Alternative career choices: Florist or professional tennis player (should have started before 40!)