I want some...Isabel and Cleo....


Isabel and Cleo is an amazing line and I though I'd shout it out to all my (cyber) friends!!!
So take a peek...
Also, a fellw SAIC alum.

Yarn Closet.

Isabel and Cleo's portfolio.

Where do you like to work?

I don’t have a favorite place right now, I used to love my space in the school’s textile studio but now that I’ve finished my degree I’ve been kicked out of the building. I work from home and I haven’t really quite got everything set up yet. Sometimes I still go into the Glasgow School of Art to knit in a hallway called the Hen Run. It’s got a beautiful view over the city and because it’s made entirely of windows it’s probably one of the warmest spots to be in Glasgow on those rare days when the sun is out all day.


The plaited basketweave angora racer back tank.

What time of day is most productive for you to work and why do you think that is?

Hmm. Honestly? The time varies but it always directly corresponds to me avoiding some task that needs to be done in my everyday life. This is when I’m most productive, when I’m pro”craft”inating.

What materials do you use and most like to work with and where do you get them, locally? online?? if online where? etc.

I used to buy remnants and recycled yarn in bulk lots off of Ebay, which was perfect when I was just doing knitted accessories and it also helped keep my costs down. But now that I am actually making clothing, I can’t get away with remnants. There just isn’t usually ever enough to make an entire garment, let alone a size range. I have wholesale accounts with two big British companies, Rowan and Todd and Duncan and I buy yarn through them because it’s obviously cheaper than buying retail. I really like working with chunky handknit yarns. My favorites are Rowan’s Big Wool and Cocoon (a merino and mohair blend), and for machine knitting I prefer Todd and Duncan’s Lamaine (really soft lambswool). I also prowl Etsy to get special haberdashery items like massive wooden buttons and go to flea markets and vintage shops to find little trinkets to put on my knitted pendant necklaces.


Where does your source material come from ( do you do reseach at the library to get ideas etc.)

It can really be anything really. I do go to the library but only after I already have an idea in my head about what I’m looking for. I also am inspired by textures that I see outside or things I see people wearing on the street. A lot of times I see non-knit items, and am curious to how they would work as knits. That actually happened earlier today when a girl I saw wearing a very textured shearling and suede combo cropped jacket. For my current collection my inspiration came from textured paper sculptures that I’d made and then tried to recreate in knit. See photo Pant progression.

What kind of images inspire you, do you keep a sketchbook(if so can you scan/ photograph some of your favorite pages)?

I basically rip out anything I find remotely interesting and keep it either in a sketchbook or a binder. It depends on how relevant the images are to my current work, whether they go in a sketchbook or binder. I save the most appropriate images for my sketchbooks.


Isabel and Cleo history(past work).

How long have you been working in your chosen medium? Are you trained?

On and off and then on on on since I was probably around 8. I studied knitting while doing my fashion degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and I just finished my masters in Textile Design with an emphasis in Knitwear at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. I’ve also worked and done a couple internships in the industry at Blake Standard in Chicago and Nom*D and Karen Walker , both in New Zealand.





What techniques and processes are your favorite?

I love hand knitting, I love texture, and I really love hand knitting chunky yarn to create massive texture. I try to interact and manipulate the knit fabric as much as possible while I am making it, so the texture is a part of the process, although sometimes texture does come later. I go so far as to say the whole idea of a process is my favorite part of what I do. I always seem to blindly walk into an idea that ends up taking way more time and materials than I ever imagined (The Layered Rectangle Jacket or the fringe trousers in my Etsy shop are two examples).



Isabel and Cleo workspace.


What is special and inspiring about living where you do?

Oh my god, I live in Scotland! Scotland has a huge knitting heritage, it’s everywhere! It’s not always the kind of knitwear I like to wear or design, but knits are inescapable here nonetheless. Just try to walk three blocks in the city center without passing a cashmere shop. Towards the end of my degree I thought I would leave Scotland but everything I need is here. Some of the biggest and best yarn mills and factories are all here. There are also may national and private organizations, shops, and community initiatives that support local independent designers.


The Hen Run.

What is a normal day like for you, how many hours a day/week do you get to actually focus and produce new works?

I have no ‘normal’ days, I was actually just moaning to a friend about how I wish I had a routine, with a set day or time where I was solely focused on producing my collection. Unfortunately I still have to work part time to pay the bills and my materials. I’m trying to get more organized, but it’s only me; I have to be the business and the creative side. If an opportunity presents itself or if paperwork needs to be done, I have to put the creative side on hold for the day. That can be very frustrating, so I try to have one day full a week where I don’t answer any calls, emails, go over any accounts, and just create. An entire day of knitting is a luxury. Don’t even ask about free time. It doesn’t exist


Who are your fav designers??

Sandra Backlund, Swedish Designer

Whoever does Stella McCartney’s knits

Nick Cave

Alber Elbaz of Lanvin

Lutz and Patmos


Sandra Backland

Lutz and Patmos

Do you go to museums? what is your favorite art related place to go (a place you feel inspired after you leave)??? is it a gallery, store, section in a museum???

I must admit since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I rarely go to museums. I do wish I had appreciated the museum more when it was available to me. My favorite place to go in Glasgow is Che Camille, a local store dedicated to independent designers and artists. It’s completely amazing and the owner just totally reeves you up with her contagious enthusiasm, I always leave feeling inspired and motivated. I also frequently go to the Glasgow School of Art, it’s a very famous, very beautiful building. Being in it makes me feel special and I can never articulate why. It just does. Instead of museums, I think I subconsciously surround myself around other makers, designers, and artists. Their motivation motivates me. It’s almost like being in a race, though not in a competitive way. Feeling the presence of the other runners around you all moving toward a similar goal pushes you forward and encourages you not to slack off or give up.