How did you get started?
I have always been super interested in craft and textiles, ever since I was little. I set up my business in January 2017 after graduating from Bath School of Art and Design with a BA in Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors. I specialised in knit and most of the designs I have now came from a project we did in the second year, which I never really pursued. I’d always wanted to revisit the designs, so when starting up CHICKPEA it was the perfect opportunity to use the work I did in that project which I’d always loved but never got to be seen! I started by designing my own website as well as setting up an Etsy page, then towards the end of the first year I picked up my first few stockists and exhibited at my first craft show.
Can you talk us through your process, from start to finish?
All my designs are inspired by stationery such as graph paper and pen lids, the process starts here by gathering imagery and patterns from compositions I have created and photographed. I then make my own punch cards for the knitting machine and knit everything on the one machine myself using pure lambswool yarn. Once the piece is knitted the lambswool needs to be washed to felt the fibres together and eliminate the oils. After this the fabric needs to be stretched out by hand to ensure no edges are stuck and curled under. The knitting is then dried and ironed. Once this has been completed the knitted fabric can be sewn into the final intended product.
Do you work full time on your brand? What does a typical working week look like for you?
I work full time as a Visual Merchandiser at The Hambledon, a mini independent department store in Winchester. Which leaves me the evenings and my days off to work on CHICKPEA, getting knitting done, making stock and fulfilling orders etc.
What sort of space do you work in?
I’m very lucky to have my own ‘studio’ at the bottom of the garden at my home in Winchester, Hampshire. It’s basically a garden shed which I have renovated into my studio and decorated to suit the CHICKPEA brand with a cosy sofa for breaks and pigeon hole shelving for yarn storage.
What's next for Chickpea?
I am currently working on some new colours which I will launch later this year and I hope to discover lots more independent stockists and more shows to exhibit at. I’d love to one day make blankets and maybe even furniture!
What is the most cherished object in your home?
Hmm this is a tricky one! It’s probably a wooden vase that my Grandad handmade years ago on his lathe. My Nan let all the family choose a piece of his work, and as he is no longer with us, this is a really unique and special thing to have beside my bed.
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