Search

Anna Söderström spins her own ripping yarn

12:06 28 February 2013

Anna soderstrom wearing RAUMAR scarf, 100% alpaca wool, price: £190

Anna soderstrom wearing RAUMAR scarf, 100% alpaca wool, price: £190

Archant

How knitting while pregnant inspired wife of Python star to establish her own business

When Anna Söderström fell pregnant she got two gifts – a baby and a business.

It didn’t feel like it, but the morning sickness she endured while pregnant with her daughter led to a good thing.

“I was very ill during my pregnancy and had terrible morning sickness,” she recalls.

“I was debilitated really. I couldn’t even read it was that bad.

“One day my mother gave me some knitting needles to help pass the time. I discovered I could do it and spent the whole pregnancy knitting.”

Söderström’s daughter with Monty Python star Terry Jones is now three-and-a-half. Her business is just as young and booming.

“Now my mum has to do knitting for the baby as I’m so busy doing knitting for the business.”

Söderström makes everything in her collection, which includes scarves, hats, gloves and throws, by hand knitting or a hand-operated knitting machine.

“It’s more like a loom really. When you tell people you have a knitting machine, they tend to think that you just turn the machine on and put in some wool. It isn’t like that at all.”

She works from home in Highgate after converting the basement into a studio and the designs are inspired by her Swedish roots.

“I am influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic, the whole Fair Isle design. I’m not so much into the patterns and the reindeer though. In every design I make, there is a story.”

Söderström focuses on the sourcing of quality and rare materials to create her work, including alpaca wool from Peru and rare wools from small producers in north Yorkshire.

“I’ve just started working with English cashmere. This is a very rare thing, even Scottish cashmere comes from Asia and is spun in Scotland. I have found a producer down in Devon who is making this incredible yarn.”

It was a stroke of luck that Söderström, who has just turned 30, started knitting. An Oxford languages graduate, she started her working life as a script supervisor for her husband.

“We were living and working together at that time, which was actually not bad at all – it was a great collaboration. But I always thought I wanted to do something for myself, rather than just play a supporting role for my husband.”

She hopes to make her own name in the knitwear world, even though she has no formal training.

“I feel free to explore practices and create my own designs rather than subscribing to what is in fashion. I focus on quality really rather than being in fashion.”

It seems like that attitude has already brought her success. If her Twitter stream is anything to go by, soon she will need more people to keep up with the demand of her customers.

She writes: “I’ve got two hours to make 3 hats and 7 pairs of wrist warmers... Wish me luck!.”

“At the moment I am doing everything. Not just making the items but taking the photographs, managing the website and dealing with all the press and distribution.

“I’d love to have people work with me in the studio, but anyone who joins me will have to have the same approach and passion for the business.”

n www.annasoderstrom.com. Or visit pop up shop The Chocolate Sheep, 57a Redchurch Street, Shoreditch March 12-17th, a collaboration with Caitlin Paxton of Paxton Chocolate. Details at www.thechocolatesheep.co.uk

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Cellist Jacqueline du Pre. Picture: PA

The 70th birthday celebration of cellist Moray Welsh coincides with the 30th anniversary of du Pre and raises money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society

Dutch Uncles - Big Balloon

Salford band’s fifth continues to straddle post-punk and complex pop. Is it enough to make anyone care?

15:00
Lord Dubs      Picture: Katie Collins/PA

Dozens of politicians, religious leaders, charity heads and cultural groups in Camden have signed a letter pleading with Home Secretary Amber Rudd to change her mind on settling child refugees in Britain.

Kwan Browne in action for Hampstead & Westminster. Picture: MARK CLEWS

Hampstead & Westminster picked up a crucial victory in the race for the end of season play-offs after coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller with nearest rivals Beeston.

08:04
Sutton United's manager Paul Doswell (left) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shake hands before the game

The manager of Sutton United has confirmed kind-hearted Arsenal are set to donate a cool £50,000 to the non-league minnows after last night’s game.

08:00
New committee members Varun Agnish, James Williams and Seb Rae face the camera at South Hampstead CC

New chairman welcomes fresh blood at cricket club

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies' Josie Green. Picture: WUSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Josie Green declared “why not us?” as Tottenham Hotspur Ladies defeated Women’s Super League side Brighton & Hove Albion to make it to the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup.

Ely Court is the only British project in the final five shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture 2017

A north London regeneration project has been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now