Welcome to another Meet the Maker interview! I’m so excited to introduce you to Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell of Di Gilpin Ltd and authors of The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook! Di and Sheila are such a kind and creative people with a real depth of knowledge of knitting design and history! I’m working on my first pair of Caledonia Fingerless Gloves from their book and I’m having so much fun knitting them! Be sure to click the links below and check out Di and Shelia’s work, the have many gorgeous patterns and their own line of yarn!
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Di Gilpin is the founder and creative director of Di Gilpin Ltd, the hand-knit design studio which has been based in Scotland for more than 38 years.
Di Gilpin studied history and politics at university and started work as a teacher. In 1983, she took a year-off to travel, and arrived on the Isle of Skye with little more than a rucksack containing a tent, wool and knitting needles.
Based in a semi-ruined croft, she spent 18 years on the island. Inspired by the nature, landscape, sea and people around her, she developed her knitting expertise, experimenting with different processes, styles and stitches.With her business growing, she moved to Fife and established Di Gilpin Ltd.
Now based at Comielaw Farm on the Balcaskie Estate the company creates its own wool ranges, including and organic wool/cashmere in collaboration with Uist Wool, knitting patterns, teaching and workshops. She helped develop the Moray Firth Partnership Gansey Project and is on the steering committee for the ‘Knitting the Herring’ Project with the Scottish Fisheries Museum. She and Sheila Greenwell, her right hand woman have written The Gansey Knitting Source Book, now available worldwide.
Her internationally-renowned brand involves collaborations with designers including Graeme Black, Paul Hardy, Nike, Cabbages & Roses, La Fetiche., Paul Smith and Connolly England. Slow Fashion, ethical production, the Campaign for Wool and the Dumfries House Declaration are all part of her ethos.
Di and Sheila are also working on a project with the Princes Foundation ,Knitwise, to create a Knitting Library at Dumfries House.
With her Production Manager, Sheila Greenwell, Di Gilpin Ltd have recruited home- knitters from all over Scotland. They use an elite core of knitters, who live within a 15 mile radius, to fulfil special orders, designer commissions and statement collections. A single Di Gilpin piece may take as long as two months to create. As Di says, perfection won’t be rushed and every stitch counts!
Balvenie Master of Craft 2005 and 2012
Shortlist for Creative Scotland Award 2003
Fletcher of Saltoun Award from the Saltire Society 2019
“Di Gilpin has made, and continues to make an outstanding contribution to Scotland’s reputation throughout the world for innovation, hard work, intelligence and superb craftsmanship” Sarah Mason for the Society.
Di and Sheila have worked with several fashion designers to create custom pieces to walk the runways in fashion shows. This gorgeous red dress was created for Edinburgh International Fashion Week with the designer Graeme Black! All in cashmere with Shetland Lace and Intarsia. Truly stunning!
Lyra Sleeveless Fair Isle Pattern
Lyra sleeveless Fair Isle handknitted in our Lalland DK – Seaglass colourway.
This wool is our their own line Lalland Lambswool. It is spun in Scotland, where they reside and is finished at Laxtons in Yorkshire. It is available in the US, UK, Canada and Europe from selected stores and from our own website. Shop Di’s beautiful lines of yarn on her website below!
The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook
Interested in learning about other makers? Watch other interview in my Meet the Maker series here!