I was born in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England and after a science based education went onto pursue my first love of art and design (a love that was nurtured by my late father – a talented amateur artist) by studying textile and knitwear design at Leicester Polytechnic – now De Montfort University. I was taught to hand knit and sew at an early age by my mother and in my twenties, I taught myself to crochet!
After leaving college with a first class honours degree, I went onto set up my own knitwear design label that sold in the US and Japan and many small retail outlets and galleries in the UK. It was during this time that I first became aware of Rowan and their lovely range of yarns and became a fan. I was able to use Rowan yarns for hand flat machine knitting, as in the late 1980’s Rowan sold yarn on 250g cones as well as on ball. I also used Rowan Handknit Cotton in some of my hand knitted garments. Even though my label was successful I decided in 1990 to return back to commercial design after meeting my then to be husband! Through the 14 years as a designer for a successful knitwear manufacturer in Leicestershire, I saw many of my designs become apart of best selling collections for many of the British high street retailers such as Next, BHS, Burton and Debenhams.
In 2005, I was very happy to join the Rowan creative design team as Head Designer. In my role, I am responsible for the creative aspect of the Rowan Magazine and brochures. I design and oversee the design collections for the publications as well as the art direction and styling of most of the photography shoots. I am also responsible for the editorial content of the Rowan Magazine, briefing journalists and writing myself where I can. I am heavily involved with the development of new yarn ranges and the selection of new colours each season.
I find working with Rowan very fulfilling and I have met a lot of talented people over the years, most of which I now consider as good friends. What can I say “I love Rowan and I am very proud to be apart of an iconic British hand knit brand!”
In 2007, I helped to instigate the introduction of the Rowan Purelife range of yarns; a concept that aims to produce yarns that are made in an ethical and environmentally friendly way. I have been particularly proud of the British Sheep Breeds yarn collection. Beautiful and characterful yarns that are spun in Yorkshire from the wool of six British sheep breeds. I like to think that at Rowan we have played our part in raising the profile of wool, especially British wool, and the plight of our hill farmers.
I am also proud that over the years I have had the opportunity to teach many enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students at some of our most prestigious universities. I still teach at Nottingham Trent University as a visiting lecturer and I work closely with the Royal College of Art on many design projects.
May 2013 saw the launch of my website through which I offer creative hand knitting and crochet workshops in my home village in the beautiful countryside of rural Leicestershire. I will also be very soon starting to offer downloadable patterns for my exclusive garment and home accessory designs using Rowan yarns. My blog reflects my day-to-day routine in my continuing role as Head Designer for Rowan, as well as other aspects of my new business, textile design, art, village life, my dog Norah and really anything else that inspires and interests me and of course, life in general!
I live in a cottage in a small village called Hoby, Leicestershire, England.
I am happily married to my lovely husband Mark and we have an adorable 12 month old German shorthaired pointer puppy, called Norah.
My favourite colour is green, any shade of green.
Favourite Rowan yarns – Felted Tweed, British Sheep Breeds, Rowan Tweed and Cocoon.
I love to walk, cook, garden and paint (when I have the time!)