Friday, 13 November 2009

Introducing... Edwina Bolger

Edwina Bolger is one of COUNTER's niftiest knitters and today, CLOG is proud to feature her label LOOPE.

Since picking up knitting and sewing at the very, very tender age of five when most of us were still flinging dirt in the sandpit, what started out as a hobby turned into a career in 2006 when Edwina launched LOOPE. Naturally, Edwina uses only the best wool and wool blend yarns which she sources from Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom. Consisting of a range of baby accessories, toys and garments, as well as homewares and now womens scarves, LOOPE is a labour of love (and very nimble fingers too).

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Ooohh superstitious... or should we say 'super-stitch-ous' (wow puns on CLOG just sank to a new low right there).

Quartet of LOOPE egg cosies

About life before and after LOOPE…
Life back then was somewhat different as it was pre-children. I slept a lot more! Since 1990 I have worked in private and public arts organisations and still do. As all artists know, never give up your day job! Knitting is something I have done since I was a young child and starting LOOPE followed on from my women’s label that I established in 2000. Launching LOOPE was something that had been brewing before I had my own kids, as many of my friends and family were always asking me to knit jumpers, blankets and toys for their little ones and so the seed was sown to launch my own range.

And about the name…
I wanted a name that was associated with the knitting process and knitting is making loops. I added the ‘e’ for my name and that was that!

Cotton pinafore

About the first thing I ever knitted…
I clearly remember the first real garment that I knitted. I was in grade three and it was a pale pink hug-me-tight (the precursor to the now trendy shrug!) in rib and garter stitch for little orphan babies. From then on I never really stopped. Certainly the whole process of knitting and the flexibility that the knit process allows, with the thousands of stitch designs and shaping techniques you can master keeps me constantly amazed and I am always learning.

About the tools of the trade…
I have always loved working with wool. It is such a fabulous and versatile material and advancements in yarn production over the years have produced stunning woollen yarns. Wool dyes extremely well and then there are the natural colours from black sheep as well to explore. No doubt many people grew up wearing scratchy uncomfortable woollen jumpers and so it had a bit of an image problem, especially for babies and children, but that has all changed now and woollen yarns are now incredibly soft and luxurious. Over the last couple of years I have moved towards using organic woollen and cotton yarns which are dyed using non-metal low impact dyes. I am committed to eco-friendly sustainable practices.

I don’t really have any nifty devices as such, but collecting vintage and retro knitting patterns and craft books is a passion! And indeed provides unlimited inspiration and laughs! Check out some of the photos – men looking very hip for the day, with hunting guns, cigarettes and brandy glass in hand! The hair-dos on some of the women – just amazing! Oh how times have changed! Apart from the laughs they are a great indication of the fashion of the time, not only clothes, but interiors, architecture and social mores of the day, due to the setting of the photo shoots. Oh and I would say a comfy chair is essential!

I did work from my Fitzroy studio for many years, but with young children to attend to I now have a tiny and overcrowded studio space at home. I hope to soon move out again, either that or my family do.

Teddy bear and hobby horse

What gets you in the mood to make?
I am always in the mood to make. As I said collecting old patterns certainly inspires me. Finding new yarns in a gorgeous colour palette is always very exciting and I am always trawling through online knitting shops and yarn producers all over the world looking for something new. Finding new yarn immediately makes me go for the knitting needles.

Neck warmer and cotton long-sleeve top
Ten years ago I was…
Working full time in a commercial contemporary art gallery in Melbourne and knitting on the side.

…and in ten years’ time I hope to be…
Definitely in a creative space, both mentally and physically. I hope that both my women’s and LOOPE label are going strong and that I have developed a loyal and appreciative following. Moreover I hope to see that the wider audience for all things bespoke has grown dramatically so that artists and crafts people like myself can earn an income from creating something truly special with skill, love and passion.

Chicken egg cosy

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