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Sue Stratford owns and runs The Knitting Hut, a yarn and needle supplier, and she finds the yarns she stocks there and her customers a constant source of inspiration. She teaches knitting and crochet workshops as well as offering advice to customers, and loves sharing her skills with others. She always has countless knitting projects on the go.
I was born in Bedford and grew up in Lidlington with my parents and younger brother.
I left school with a selection of GCSE's and started work. My Mum wanted me to continue my education and do something creative but I felt that if I was doing my 'hobby' as a job it would take all the pleasure out of it. How wrong can you be!
My Mum taught me to knit and I really became interested as a teenager. I loved the colours and textures and was amazed at what you could create with a pair of knitting needles and a ball of wool.
I suddenly realised, after my eldest daughter was born, that I had stopped knitting, so I picked up my needles again and haven't put them down since.
I find most of my materials through my shop, although I do also shop at other wool shops to get different yarns which I don't stock. I enjoy looking for the right yarns and find them a fantastic source of inspiration.
I had a stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and Roz saw my kits that I had designed, a Christmas Mouse and a Chicken Tea Cosy, I explained that most of the patterns on the stand were mine and she asked if I would be interested in writing a book and that's how it all started.
I was very surprised that anyone thought my 'made up' patterns were good enough to be published in a book. Also very excited.
Yes, it has. As well as giving me more confidence in what I do, it has made me realise how much I love designing and working out new patterns. I now have a manager working in the shop which allows me to spend more time working on projects for the next book and the shop.
Start off with a small project that has a purpose. There is nothing worse than knitting for the sake of it and to have an end goal really spurs you on to complete your knitting. Join a local knitting group or go to a workshop run by a yarn store, other knitters are always willing and happy to pass on their skills.
Wooden knitting needles. They are lovely and light and the yarn glides over them. They don't make a 'clicky' noise as you knit either!
Every year The Knitting Hut exhibits at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, so we stay in London, but don't see much except for the exhibition. Last year I also exhibited at the Harrogate Show and again, didn't see anything of Harrogate!
Often my inspiration comes from seeing a particular yarn and an idea pings into my head of what I could create with it. The chicken in the Christmas book (Mini Christmas Knits) is a good example - when I saw the brown yarn it just said 'chicken' to me and it was great to see the finished product - it looked just how I imagined it would.
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