Home Interviews Love Lottie Knits: candy stripes, folklore style and a rabbit called Bertie
Knitted owls, love lottie knits

Love Lottie Knits: candy stripes, folklore style and a rabbit called Bertie

by Camilla

I love physically knitting fabric – the freedom and being able to create anything with just a few loops.

If you see a bunny bear dressed in colourful stripy knits, it’s probably the work of Charlotte Smith from Love Lottie Knits. Charlotte’s beautiful knits come in candy stripe colours, with a contemporary Scandinavian feel and folk art motifs. We caught up with Charlotte to discover more about her love of colour and meet Bertie the house rabbit who shares her studio…

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
My name is Charlotte Smith, I’m 29 and I’m a Derbyshire-based textile designer maker. I’ve been creating and selling since graduating from university in 2009 and I set up my own business officially last October. I work on my business in any spare time I have, as I also have a full-time job.

Love Lottie Knits,

My workspace is currently co-owned with Bertie the rabbit. I would say it was a 70/30 split, but it is nice to have company at your ankles while knitting.

Have you always been creative?
From a young age art has played a strong part in my life, from collaging squirrels out of sticks on autumnal childhood walks to weaving bookmarks on old chip trays at school. But I first started taking things seriously when I studied textiles and photography at college, which then fed into my university studies. I have always done what I enjoy in life, which is how I’ve ended up down the creative path.

What craft means, love lottie knits

Why did you call your business Love Lottie Knits?
I feel that all of my work is made with love and I like to think that anyone purchasing or receiving my work would think of it as a gift given with thought and care. I’ve always liked the shortened form of my name, Lottie.

What do you do when you’re not knitting?
I have a full-time job that takes up the majority of my week. Other than that, I like to go to the gym and spoil my pet house rabbit, Bertie the mini Rex, and ‘splurge’ on box sets.

Knitted bears, bunny bears, love lottie knits, stripy toys

My mum taught me how to hand knit but it didn’t have the sharpness or density of colour that I love so much. Colour plays such a huge part in my work.

How did you learn to knit?
I started to experiment with knitting during the first year of my degree. My tutor saw that I was keen, so let me have a go on large knitting machines early on, which I immediately fell in love with. I continued to learn how to use these machines throughout my degree – I’m currently learning how to use the Apex system on the Shima Sieki, which is quite, mind-boggling, but brilliant.

Dubied Knitting Machine

My college tutor let me have a go on large knitting machines early on, which I immediately fell in love with.

How does machine knitting differ from hand knitting?
My mum taught me how to hand knit but I wasn’t keen on the quality – it didn’t have the sharpness or density of colour that I love so much. Colour plays such a huge part in my work. I mostly use a double flat bed machine to knit most of my stripes and cam-based patterns, along with my domestic single bed knitting machine for punch card Fair Isle patterns. I like to use a range of different gauges in my work for contrast.

Knitting machine yarn

I love putting mood boards together and arranging cones of yarn in groups to work out possible colour combinations.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe Love Lottie Knits as original, with a contemporary clean Scandinavian feel and a strong use of very considered colour. It’s important to me to use high-quality materials.

Who or what inspires you?
A lot of my inspiration comes from folk art, as well as found items and my drawings. I’m inspired by a lot of different designers and makers, not necessarily textile people.

Love Lottie Knits, knitted blankets

I would describe Love Lottie Knits as original, with a contemporary clean Scandinavian feel and a strong use of very considered colour.

Can you talk us through your making process? 
All of my work begins with a sketch or a collection of yarns, whether I’m designing a new character or new colour ways. I don’t necessarily think about what the fabric will become while I’m on the machine. After knitting, I carefully hand wash and press each piece of fabric. I then work out what I’m going to make out of it – a bunny bear, a tree, an owl, some bunting or heart.

Knitting machine, Love Lottie Knits

Love Lottie Knits

All my work begins with a sketch or a collection of yarns – I don’t necessarily think about what the fabric will become while I’m on the machine.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process and why?
I love putting mood boards together and arranging cones of yarn in groups to work out possible colour combinations. I also love physically knitting the fabric – I love the freedom and being able to create anything with just a few loops. Finding new, alternatives ways to show off my knitted fabrics in new products is really satisfying too.

Dala horse cushions, knitted cushions, dala pattern

I love physically knitting the fabric – I love the freedom and being able to create anything with just a few loops.

Are there any other crafts or techniques you would like to learn?
This is quite hard for me to answer as I already use lots of different disciplines; I think I am quite mixed media. Other than knitting, I don’t have a favourite technique, I like creating lino cuts, screen printing, laser cutting, weaving and the odd bit of basic woodwork.

Can you describe your workspace?
My workspace is currently co-owned with Bertie the rabbit. I would say it was a 70/30 split, but it is nice to have company at your ankles while knitting. I like the fact that my workroom is at home because it gives me the freedom to work as and when I want. It would be good to have a studio where I could work alongside other creative people, but I would have to make a conscious effort and find time to go there.

Love Lottie Knits, artist studio, studio

I like the fact that my workroom is at home because it gives me the freedom to work as and when I want.

What’s the best thing about making for a living?
While it’s not my sole source of income, it would be brilliant if one day it could be. Over the last year I’ve been working very hard on my branding and image and I’m finding that people are slowly starting to recognise my work (saying that they have seen it in various places). That in itself is great – just to know that people are appreciative and noticing my work.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
I would say be original and true to your own ideas – don’t be frightened to give your ideas a go. If it’s something you truly believe in give it a go, but don’t expect things to take off ‘overnight’.

knitting tools

What would I say to anyone thinking of selling their work? Be original and true to your own ideas – don’t be frightened to give your ideas a go.

What does craft mean to you?
I feel that the word ‘craft’ has been misused by certain high street shops. To me it means quality and knowledge acquired by learning a skill.

How will you be spending Christmas this year?
I’ll be spending Christmas with family, close friends and Bertie bunny, hopefully doing not a lot as these past six months have been hectic with various exhibitions, shows and getting stock together for new shops and galleries.

Knitted Christmas tree

Hopefully Bertie the rabbit won’t be at the top of our tree this Christmas – he had a good attempt at chewing his way up last year!

… and what will be at the top of your tree this year?
Hopefully not the rabbit – he had a good attempt at chewing his way up the tree last year! Maybe a pom pom or two – it would be rude not to.

Dala horse cushion

Shop Love Lottie Knits on Folksy 

Enjoy 10% off Love Lottie Knits with the discount code MERRYKNITMAS
only valid until 18th December 2015 

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