If you’re at all like me, you see a pretty project bag and think: what fun it would be to tote that around and pull my knitting out in the next coffee shop or during the next meeting 🙂 And, if you all know me, you know I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination! I am, in fact, slightly terrified of my sewing machine–which I, consequently, rarely use and then only under supervision. But my blogspot guest today, Lorna Lancaster of The Cocoon Tree, is an expert sewist and I quite admire her bags. If you follow her on Instagram, you may have noticed the awesomely textured fabric of her bags or their unique shape–she even has a new fabric “yarn bowl” that looks light enough to tag along with you! The bags are named after places that she’s visited–I wonder what her favorite of these places is . . . Well, Lorna agreed to an interview and shared some lovely photos of herself and her work with me. So, jump down below to learn more about Lorna and enjoy the beautiful photos! Plus, psssst, there is a giveaway coming soon to the podcast!! How exciting!
KTS: Where did the inspiration for The Cocoon Tree come from?
Lorna: I have been sewing since about the age of 7, as my mum was a tailoress, now in her 80s, as I was growing up, she worked from home, and after getting back from school I used to sit with her and hence learnt the old way.
I went to the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels and this gave me great insight and knowledge into the textile and clothing industry.
I come from a knitting family and, again, growing-up there were five of us knitting at home, my grandmother, mother, myself and two sisters, (my poor father! )
I have been sewing more than knitting over the past few years, but my niece and oldest sister knit constantly and suggested I look into making project bags. I made a few for them to try and The Cocoon Tree came to fruition.
KTS: Your bags are beautiful inside and out–what are some features that you think are key for a functional (and beautiful) project bag?
Lorna: Throughout my career in the clothing and textile industry I have always been extremely passionate about what I do, quality of workmanship is always high on my priority list and have followed this philosophy with my bags.
The handle on my bags is big enough to carry your project on the go without being cumbersome and they are soft based to allow you to carry inside your handbag, both making it easy to take your project with you.
Six sizes gives my customer the choice, depend]ent on what they are working on, as to which size bag to purchase.
Lastly, choice of fabric is also key to ensure they are visually appealing and finished to a high quality spec.
KTS: You sell your bags locally (in the UK) at Ginger Twist Studio–I love Jess’s shop!!–are there other shops or plans for distribution? Are you looking for stockists in the US?
Lorna: I am always looking for new stockists and am, at present, following up on some lovely wool shops in my local area. I was very happy to supply Ginger Twist to exhibit at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, a great opportunity at such a large event.
There seems to be a huge knitting community in the US and would be very excited to have the opportunity to supply stockists there.
Lorna: I am at present knitting a charcoal and white tweed scarf Isager Tweed, which I bought from La Bien Aimee on a shopping trip to Paris two years ago. I might add knitting very slowly!!!
Lorna: Yes I have just finished sampling on the Cocoon, my version of a yarn bowl. This is made from 3mm thick felt which I’m very excited about, and should be in my shop this week. I love the concept of it, and have plans for something else to carry it in, but need a bit of time to pull this together, to make sure it’s right before I launch it.
Since starting to make project bags, new ideas, new fabrics, new concepts are cropping up all the time, I just can’t stop my mind from working overtime.
I would like to offer all bags in the same fabrics, as I like things to coordinate and hope customers do to.
Lorna: I am not very good with social media but I try !!
Thanks so much, Lorna, for sharing your beautiful creations and a bit about your life! I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)
Happy knitting! 🙂