Posted on October 11, 2012
From October 15th – 21st we’re pimping out our wool rich pieces to celebrate the sheep-loving, jumper-wearing Wool Week! As part of the long standing Campaign for Wool, we checked into ‘Wool School’ – a savvy project that teams retailers with budding designers – and collaborated with Kingston University to find a star knitwear student to create two very special, one-off pieces exclusively for Topshop. Of course, we managed to snap up the brightest of the bunch and Henrietta Jerram, a womenswear knitwear student won the hearts of our tough panel including Design Director Jacqui Markham. Henrietta showed off a portfolio of amazing graphics, vivid sketchings and bright collages that tickled our funny bones and ticked all our stylish boxes. There’s no way we could turn down a jumper with adorable slogans like – Sheep Thrills and Sheepish!
We spoke with Henrietta about winning the competition and how she found her obsession with knitting.
When did you learn to knit and what encouraged you to start?
I learnt to knit when I was quite young – but only ever got as far as half a scarf. I really got into it in second year at Uni. It’s amazing how satisfying sampling is when you can do it yourself and see an instant result. It was a great time to learn about different yarns and to experiment with techniques. I then started to hand knit again and combine both hand and machine knits in my work.
What’s your favourite wool to use?
On the whole I tend to favour natural fibres, as I prefer the feel against the skin. I love a fine merino, or a super soft lambswool. I also totally love angora – I’m a sucker for anything soft and fluffy.
What was the inspiration behind these two jumpers?
The starting point for the jumpers was a tongue twister about a sheep and that led me to think up lots of sheep puns! As the designs were for Wool Week it was important to represent that in the designs. I did this by using the sheep as a central feature. I adore Fairisle patterns so thought about doing a Fairisle pattern knit using an illustration of a sheep that I drew, and adding a sheep pun. Statement knits are really big right now and so I was also drawing on that.
How would you encourage other people to knit?
Pick up some needles and some yarn and go for it. It’s an inexpensive hobby and you can make yourself so many lovely things. Online there are so many knitting forums and all across the country there are loads of free knitting sessions where fellow knitters will help you. Also have a look on YouTube as there are lots of knitting lessons to learn different stitches!
What’s your favourite piece of knitwear you own and which couldn’t you live without?
Do you have any favourite Topshop knitwear pieces?
The Campaign for Wool is a five year campaign designed to demonstrate wool’s natural sustainable qualities and versatility. Check back in to Topshop.com to get your hands on Henrietta’s adorable knitted jumpers - they’re available online now!