Suzie Lee – Fair Isle knits made on vintage machines in Kent

Suzie Lee

Meet the Maker:
 Suzie Lee Knitwear

Knitwear designer Suzie Lee learned to knit on her Scottish grandmother’s old knitting machine. She now uses the same vintage knitting machines to create her Fair Isle scarves, mittens and blankets, which she makes in her little farm cottage in Kent as she watches the seasons change. We caught up with Suzie to find out more about her gorgeous knits…

Suzie Lee

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hi, I’m Suzie, I’m the designer and maker behind Suzie Lee Knitwear. I’ve been running my knitwear business since I finished university in 2008, where I did a fashion and textiles degree. I started designing my own collection as soon as I graduated and actually started my business the same year. I now design and knit each item from home in my little farm cottage studio in Kent, using vintage knitting machines.

I design and knit each item from home in my little farm cottage studio in Kent, using vintage knitting machines.

Have you always been interested in craft and making?

I couldn’t live without craft – the need to do something with my hands has been there since I was a child. I was always encouraged to be interested in all things creative. I think that’s been an important factor in why I do what I do now, running my own creative business. I especially loved knitting because you’re creating something you can then use.

Suzie Lee Knitwear

Where do you look for inspiration?
My main inspiration is nature and watching the colours change through the seasons. I also like to visit exhibitions and take lots of inspiration from the colour, textures and layering of tones in pieces I see there. Another strong influence is Fair Isle patterns, which reflects my Scottish roots and my Nanny who taught me to knit. Each of my pieces starts simply with a cone of fine yarn. I mainly use lamb’s wool because I love its super soft texture and the variety of ways it can be used.

Suzie Lee knitwear, Suzie Lee, interview

My main inspiration is nature and watching the colours change through the seasons.

Why vintage knitting machines?
I grew to love vintage knitting machines while trying out the different machines at uni. I then discovered my favourite machine was the same type my Nanny taught me to knit on. She still has it now.

vintage knitting machine, Suzie Lee

I grew to love vintage knitting machines while trying out the different machines at uni.

Where is your studio, what does it look like and what’s in it?
I work from home in our little farm cottage in Kent, in one of the spare bedrooms. It’s full to the brim with colourful yarns and knitting in the making. It’s very cosy.

Suzie Lee knitwear, interview

My studio is full to the brim with colourful yarns and knitting in the making.

Do you think living in the Kent countryside influences your work?
I love being able to see nature and watch the changing of the seasons, from harvest time to frosty mornings. I try to take in my surroundings and use that as inspiration for my colours and designs.

Fair Isle Cowl, Infinity Scarf, Suzie Lee

I like to visit exhibitions and take lots of inspiration from the colour, textures and layering of tones in pieces I see.

Who would be your perfect customer?

I think my customers appreciate the craft of knitting – they tell me they love to buy from me because they know they’re getting something unique and handmade. My knitwear also has quite a nostalgic feel which appeals to a lot of people.

Suzie Lee Knits, gift sets, hand knitted scarf and mitten set,

I’ve created Christmas gift sets that include scarves and mittens, which all come beautifully wrapped in handmade paper that I’ve stamped with a hand-carved stamp.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas this year? We heard rumours of hand-stamped wrapping paper…
Yes, this year I’ve created a number of gift sets that include scarves and mittens, which all come beautifully wrapped in handmade paper that I’ve stamped with a hand-carved stamp. That was really fun to make! Christmas is always a special time for me and finding handmade items to give away as presents is becoming top of my list.

fair-isle-blanket-suzie-lee

Shop Suzie Lee Knitwear 

Use the discount code LOVEKNITS for 15% off all Suzie Lee knits – only valid until 14 November 2016

 

Credit: photo of Suzie Lee in her studio taken from this film by hibu

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