I’m so excited to share today’s blogpost with you, we caught up with Lauren Aston to hear all about her amazing knitwear business. If you haven’t already you must head on over to her Instagram, it is every cosy interior lovers dream and you be definitely spend a good half an hour drooling over her chunky throws and also her adorable pup!
How did you first become interested in Knitwear? And how did you decide to specialise in chunky soft furnishings?
I always wanted to do something creative, I graduated with my degree in knitwear in 2012 and then moved to Devon with my now-husband in 2014. I didn’t have a job when we moved and didn’t know what to do with myself. I quickly decided I needed something for me and knitting was the natural next step (hand knitting in particular as I don’t entirely get on with knitting machines) but I knew it needed to be big so it would be fast. I also have more of a natural affinity to homeware than clothing so that was an easy decision to make. After a lot of research and development I finally got there and launched by business at the beginning of 2015.
I love your blog post about the reasons why merino wool is the best, how did you first become interested in working with it? And for anyone who hasn’t checked out that blog post what’s your favourite thing about using it?
I came across it as part of my initial R&D, it felts beautifully which is an essential part of my work – I partly felt each item to help with lifespan and quality. The thing I enjoy most about it (which is actually a necessity) is that it’s Hypoallergenic and amazingly soft – I’m allergic to lots of wools so thankfully the one I use on a daily basis doesn’t cause me any problems! It also means it’s not scratchy or irritating to the skin in any way (in fact it’s temperature regulating so even better… but I’m sneaking past my limit of one favourite thing now!)
What is the first stage of coming up with a new product idea? And what’s the most testing part of the design process?
To be honest I don’t often sit down and think about it, for me, product development is more of a natural evolution. It certainly helps that I don’t put a major focus on ‘newness’, if I did I’m sure it would be a different story, but for me – I just plod along and when an idea comes to me, I try it out. Ironically, the most testing part is that this beautiful chunky wool can be too chunky. Of course the best thing about it is it’s amazing size but that’s also quite a restriction when developing new products, it can look gappy or even clumsy. The key is therefore to work with it’s size rather than against it. If something’s not working, I try not to force it.
Obviously being a lover of cosy knitwear you must appreciate comfortable home accessories, what would you say is a must have for any home seeking that cosy feel?
Aside from a mass of blankets on the bed, for me, a huge element of ‘cosy’ is textures, and particularly mixing textures – velvets, chunky knits and furry sheepskins… throw it all in there! Keep the colour scheme tonal and mix the textures like mad.
As a fellow lover of texture we love the chunky cosy vibe your throws give to a room. Would you or have you ever considered knitting with different materials?
I’m in no rush to move onto anything new just yet but I would, at some stage, like to find or develop a material that’s really hard wearing. Something soft and squishy that you can put through it’s paces without a problem. The opportunities for a material like this are endless.
You’re products come in such a great range of colours, do you like to use lots of colour in your home and do you have a favourite colour of wool?
Although it sounds dull, I love to paint every room grey, you just can’t go wrong with it. It’s neutral but warm and a perfect backdrop for basically all other colours. I then like to accent that with plenty of colours in cushions and rugs and feature walls. We moved house early this year and haven’t got round to painting yet but in my old house we had grey in most rooms and then a beautiful blue landing and an amazing pink bathroom. Little Greene paints are my world – all of their colours are just perfection to me so I am more likely to go out of my grey box with them. As for my favourite colour of wool, it honestly depends on the day, the brights and colours are fabulous and my top three would be bright pink, lilac & olive green and for neutrals I love the light grey, mink blush and soft peach…. although I’ve not mentioned Candyfloss – I have no idea how any of my customers choose, clearly I’m not good at narrowing anything down!
Are you able to give any clues as to other homeware products you’d like to make in the future?
Lately I’ve been thinking that I’d like to do more fun cushions, with lots of trims and pompoms and bobbles, something a bit bonkers. I’m basically always working on new blankets so have the ombre blanket and a cable knit number in the making and Christmas products this year are a bit more decorative but sadly I can’t say much more than that at the moment!
And finally if you could have one home interior must have (e.g. candles, flowers etc.) what would it be?
Pictures. The moment you put something up on the walls it changes from a blank and sparse space to a welcoming & homely room.
Find Lauren at: Lauren Aston Designs