Homegirl London pays homage to Catherine Tough. She’s a talented knitter making a host of cosy, adorable accessories for people and their homes. Catherine established her company in 2000 after gaining a number of commissions from her Royal College of Art final show and she hasn’t stopped knitting since. Working from her Hackney studio she creates lambswool hot water bottle covers, doorstops, cushions, lavender filled hearts and animals, throws and bed socks. Her talented team knits, felts, hand cuts, sews and finishes most of the products in-house. I caught up with Catherine to ask a few questions ….
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: All our products are made from our own knitted lambswool fabrics or found cotton prints, I tend to favour dirty brights and retro patterns working with simple shapes and capturing the character of a creature or using a trim or knitted rib to finish a cushion or throw. If a design makes you smile then it has worked, I often try them out on my daughter who is very truthful.
Q: Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
A: I love living in Hackney but also going back to my parents in the Malvern Hills and draw inspiration from both environments contrasting bright crazy pattern with minimal soothing shapes.
Q: Where did your love of knitting come from?
A: My mum worked full time when we were growing up but she had a spinning wheel, knitting machine and piles of fabrics and fleece all waiting to be turned into something.
Q: What inspired you to make cosy products for people and homes?
A: We lived in a freezing cold Victorian house growing up (I could get from pyjamas to fully dressed in 5 seconds) so I think this may have had something to do with my love of lounging.
Q: What’s your fascination with cute animals?
A: Both me and my studio manager Chloe love cute creatures, particularly guinea pigs and were laughing the other day at all our new products laid out at the studio, we were living our childhood dreams to have loads of pets but were never allowed.
Q: Do you prefer an electric blanket or hot water bottle?
A: Hottie no question.
Q: Which are your 3 best-selling products?
A: Lambswool socks, lavender owl doorstops and mini lambswool hottie covers.
Q: What’s the most enjoyable part of running a business?
Q: What one piece of advice would you give a designer who wanted to set up their own business?
A: Don’t give up and be prepared to solve a lot of problems.
Below is a selection of Catherine’s products. You can buy from www.catherinetough.co.uk. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Catherine Tough, special thanks to Catherine Tough and Sophie Stevens.
Lavender Birds and Animals
Lavender Doorstop Dogs