Bit expensive? Well what about £78 for a beanie? Hmm… I don’t think so! But that’s what the knitwear costs on The North Circular – a business started by model Lily Cole and friends whereby all the items on sale are handknit using wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep, housed at a sanctuary in North Yorkshire. Each item is knit to order by a team of grannies.
I guess that when you factor in the cost of the producing the yarn and paying the knitters a reasonable price for their time, plus all the other expenses involved in running a business, the knitwear does end up being quite expensive. And I do like the ethical idea behind the business. But even so… I’d rather buy some ethically sourced yarn and knit myself a scarf. I could do it for a lot less than £148 and I’d have the pleasure of creating it myself.
The other thing that frustrates me about this is that the knitters are referred to as grannies. Yes, they might all very well be grandmothers but it doesn’t do much to shed the image that knitting is a hobby for old women. Another company that it trading on this image is Grannies Inc. who knit beanies (and now tea cosies too) to order. By all accounts the business is doing well. The woman behind the company has certainly got a good business brain. She’s had lots of publicity in the press and I even heard an interview with her on national radio. From the photo on her website she doesn’t look much older than me and is an avid knitter herself. It seems a shame to me though that she’s gone down the “granny” route. As a younger knitter I’m always having to tell people that knitting is no longer for grannies, that it’s actually a really popular hobby with women and men of all ages.