“I carried on knitting throughout my fine arts degree and also when I subsequently did an apprenticeship with Quaker potters, but it was only when I set up my studio that I realised that I could incorporate knitting into my work as an artist and designer. I’m delighted that knitting has become such a key element of my career.”
Dee is based in the Welsh countryside between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, where she lives with her family and has her own studio. There she finds endless inspiration in the natural world for her designs.
“I’m incredibly lucky that my work is more a way of life than a job”, she explains. “One of my favourite things to do at the weekend is to go off on long walks – come rain or shine – in the countryside surrounding my home, and I always return brimming with ideas for new designs. I really enjoy cooking too, and I’ll quite often find myself getting distracted – and inspired – by the beautiful colours of a handful of jewel-coloured berries or the vibrant green of a fragrant herb.”
Dee always has a sketchbook to hand, and their pages quickly become filled with delicate watercolours, pencil drawings, and pressed flowers and leaves. She records everything that catches her eye throughout the seasons, from the colours and patterns of a wildflower meadow on a shimmering summer’s day, to the ethereal iridescence of a butterfly’s wings. It’s often the tiniest of details that plants the seeds of a design.
“I’m really inspired by the changing seasons and the way that Rowan’s new collections intertwine with them, so I love experimenting with different colour combinations,” she says. “It’s amazing how a dash of colour here or there can transform a familiar palette, and that’s one of the great joys of working in colour. Rowan yarns have such beautiful, natural tones and the colours are very much those that you find in the landscape.”
Once back in her studio, Dee begins the process of translating her inspirations into designs for everything from knits and tableware to stationery and bespoke tiles. Her passion for working with wool was the catalyst for her book, A Story in Yarn: How to Design and Knit an Intarsia Heirloom Quilt (2016), which has recently been re-published in an expanded edition, and her latest collection, Colourwork Knits (2018), both using exclusively Rowan yarns and championing the intarsia technique.
“I’m really pleased to see that people are becoming more confident with [intarsia],” Dee says. “It’s such a fantastic way of being able to tell a story in yarn and to create designs that hold a very personal significance, so I’m delighted that more people are trying it.”
“I knew from the outset that I wanted to use my fine arts background to create beautiful yet practical pieces that can be used and enjoyed from day to day. I’m also passionate about working with colour, and knitting brings all of these elements together perfectly.”
Whatever medium Dee is working in, her stunning designs are an evocative celebration of the changing seasons, preserving the ephemeral beauty of a leaf, petal, butterfly or bird for a lifetime to come.
patterns by yarn
Knit and crochet this festive Christmas stocking, designed by Dee Hardwicke.
Knit this stunning scarf with pom poms.
Knit this beautiful jumper from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book.
Knit this elegant skirt from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book.
Knit this stunning jumper from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book
Knit this collared cardigan from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book
Knit this colourful jumper from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book
Knit this elegant coat from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book
Knit this stunning hat from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book.
Knit this stunning wintry scarf from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book
Knit this stylish top from Dee Hardwicke's Colourwork Knits book.
Forgot to log in? Sign in/register to make sure this download gets stored into your personal area