Galashiels based luxury knitwear designer and hand-knitter Sandra Bean shares her day with us. Sandra has knitted for hit TV series Outlander, Oxford Street stores and exports across the globe. You can order her beautiful knitting through Etsy or contact her on Twitter if you’d like something knitted to your own pattern. She posts daily updates on Facebook and is an avid user of Pinterest. You can contact and follow Sandra by clicking on any of the links above.
What got you into knitting?
I started Scottish Knitwear in 2012 when I moved to Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders. I’ve knitted since childhood, starting off with wee scarves and jackets for my dollies, then graduating on to my own version of a beanie hat for my mum (let’s pass on quickly from that attempted garment!) I was the youngest of five daughters so knitting was always on the agenda for my mother and sisters, so I just seemed to pick it up from them. I believe my father, as a single young man, living in the farm bothy knitted his own socks. According to my mother they were really just tubes open at one end.
Where can we find your knitting?
I started my knitting business by selling to a shop in Edinburgh, then tried my luck on Etsy, so you’ll find me still there and very happy. On Etsy you can buy my Ready Made and Made To Order, high quality, luxury knitwear. People also send me knitting patterns to have the pattern knitted up. I have three other pages, my Twitter page which includes not just my own work, but my appreciation of other’s work and any exciting news. You can contact me there via Message or simply follow me and see what I get up to. I’ve got two beautiful granddaughters and so my Twitter name is GraBean, short for Grannie Bean. My Pinterest page has several different sections ranging from “Random Knitting Pictures” to “A Mixture of Wonders!”.
I update my Facebook page daily with anything I want to show from my Etsy shop, announcing any orders that have come in. Every morning I write a little story of what my day holds as well as a sincere Good Morning to all the lovely people I’ve met through their craft work or just as friends on Facebook.
What does your work involve?
After my morning coffee (and sometimes during it) I check both e-mail and Etsy for orders and update Facebook and Twitter. The type of orders depend on the time of year. Spring is baby time….baby blankets, baby jackets and tiny hats. I then start to plan the working day. Brodie, my Border Terrier, keeps me company and insists I take him out before I start work. We walk the banks of the Tweed in Melrose, for about an hour. How long we walk, depends on how much sniffing and loitering Brodie can fit in!
Once back at home I have anther cup of coffee and then sort out the orders being shipped that day. Most of my knitwear has been designed by me and, I do my designing in the morning when I’m most alert. I usually have my lunch at my computer. A ham sandwich in one hand and a coffee at my elbow.
Then I knit. As knitting is strenuous on the hands I usually work from 10.20 ’til 12.00 then 1pm ’til 4pm. Then it’s out for another walk with Brodie about 4pm.
Knitting starts again after our evening meal. I usually watch a wildlife program or a good murder mystery on the TV. Snug in my nice comfy chair, with Brodie at my feet and perhaps a nice glass of white wine. I knit really until bedtime.
knitting For Outlander
Autumn and Winter and early spring is Aran Wool Knitwear time – usually made to order from Etsy. I sold out of Men’s knitwear late last year and I’m working hard trying to replenish the stock. I sell mostly to the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan, but the UK is beginning to notice my Etsy shop. The highlight of my knitting career has to be working for the major TV series Outlander. I’m now of course a huge fan of Outlander.
How do you like to switch off?
I usually take a break in the Summer – time to reflect on what sold, what was most popular and what really wasn’t. Summer is also the time to relax with family and friends. A perfect evening is eating at the Monte Casino Italian Restaurant in Melrose with friends and family. A good Italian wine, Ravioli cooked to perfection and smothered in tomato and cream sauce……oh my! I also love the occasional Sunday lunch at The Clovenfords Hotel, when I don’t feel like cooking Sunday lunch.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 2017 will favour Scottish Knitwear as much as 2016 did.