Nothing but a wool thing

Sue and Gemma Boyd, the mother and daughter duo behind ex-Rundle Street store Clothes Line Saga, are out of the basement and back with a new project – Woolio Knits.

Knitting has had a huge resurgence in the last year. Sites like Wool and the Gang offer complete DIY learnhow-to-knit packages. Australian model and well-known knitter Rachel Rutt has recently collaborated with up-and-coming label TOME, creating custom hand-knitted accessories for their New York Fashion Week collection. Gemma explains her fascination with knitting and the creation of Woolio Knits. “Both of us were knitting a lot… and the conversation of Woolio evolved when we became more aware of how hard it is to come across cool, affordable and ethically-made clothing. Then there was the question of, ‘Do you know where your clothes come from?’ The general answer was disappointingly, ‘No’. At this time I was knitting a beanie and we realised we could ethically keep everyone’s head warm while trying to keep it a lil’ bit G [gangster].” The debut collection from Woolio Knits – fittingly-titled Wool.I.Am – is inspired by 90s hip hop, something that Gemma listens to as she knits. “Every beanie is one-of-a-kind and has been given the subtitle of Individual and Distinctive. There are two different styles, East Side and West Side. Eas Side is influenced by Notorious B.I.G. while West Side is a little more Tupac Shakur. I wanted to make each piece big, bold and noticeable.” Music is an important influence to the Woolio team, but it’s the conversations had while knitting that are the most important. As Gemma explains, “We listen to each other mostly – we like to chat. When alone knitting, I crank the records up, listening to anything from Daniel Johnston to NWA. We also like a good podcast; Stop Podcasting Yourself is a favourite.” Gemma looks to a few talented folk for knitting inspiration, including John Macarthur from Purl Harbour who has worked with labels Ksubi, sass&bide and Kirrily Johnson. “He makes stunning knitwear and has done so for years,” Gemma says. “Yokkoo Gibraan is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is pretty much a dream. She knits for 15 hours a day running a one-woman knitting show, with hand-crafted simple knits that you want to take home and name. And Mumma Bear, she has taught me everything I know. “We scoured the internet looking for a bulky knit wool produced here in Australia and happily found a small traditional wool mill in country NSW that produces a 20 ply. We had the pleasure of visiting the mill recently and loved the old-style machinery and seeing the process of a bale of wool becoming the yarn that we knit with.” Gemma says knitting has had a bad rap for a long time but that is beginning to change. “It’s now being recognised as the skill it is and be young creative people are producing amazing pieces and showing them off on Instagram and Pinterest. We think it’s being embraced for the same reasons we have embraced it – it’s good to know where your clothes are coming from.” Sue and Gemma are hoping to create a network of like-minded folk who want to keep the knitting dream alive. Gemma explains, “Once the beanies are out there and happening we will start to create other one-off pieces. Our next range, Ice Ice Baby, will follow soon – inspired by Sue’s recent trip to Alaska. We would also like to create a community of Woolio crew members creating and knitting individual pieces, so we’ll be organising a knitting session at a venue soon for those who want to give it a shot.” @Woolio_knits on Instagram

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