Subscribe via email


Click here to subscribe to the MILLAMIA blog by Email

To view previous blog posts scroll down to the bottom of the page

Friday, 25 April 2014

STOCKIST PROFILE - The Little Knitting Shop

Edna Russell and her daughter Lisa opened the doors of The Little Knitting Shop in Troon back in July of 2013 and in less than a year they have opened the doors of a second shop in Ayr! To celebrate this fantastic achievement we are featuring The Little Knitting Shop - both shops - here on the blog, so read on to find out more about this amazing team.

1) Introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about how the Troon shop sprang to life.
The Troon shop came about due to me having my baby. Mum lived just outside London at the time and after deciding she wanted no more daily commutes she moved back to Scotland in 2012 to be near her first grandchild. In visits back up to Scotland she wanted to visit local yarn shops but couldn’t quite find what she was looking for and so we decided to open one!

2) Congratulations on opening your second shop just under a year after opening the first - you must be so excited! Tell us all about your lovely new shop.
We are very excited but also must be mad! Our new shop is a bigger version of our original Troon shop. We aimed to tackle the old stereotype of yarn shops and bring ours into the 21st Century. Bright, airy and stocking mostly designer brands.

3) The burning question that is on every knitters lips – what have you currently got on the needles?
Mum is currently knitting the open/closed sign for the new shop door. Our one in Troon is a major talking point because it’s original. (I’m not making this up but) I am on row 19 of my Millamia Teddy Blanket for my son! Long way to go but I’ll get there!

Teddy Blanket

4) How do you go about selecting the stock for your shops from the overwhelming array of yarn available right now?
We go by pure instinct! We look at various websites and get samples in to knit with them to see what they’re like. Except speciality wool, when selecting new yarns to try in store we are mostly driven by the patterns. If the patterns are good, it’s usually a good sign that the yarn will be successful.

5) Describe your ultimate fantasy craft project.
My mum and I are knitters at heart and so for us it would be the ultimate huge cosy blanket knitted in squares of different yarns and sewn together.

6) What is your favourite MillaMia product?
I love the Teddy Blanket in a gift box. I think it’s an amazing present for someone and the colours chosen are fantastic.

7) Tell us something unusual about yourself.
I am terrified of clowns!

Many thanks to Edna and Lisa for this lovely insight into the two Little Knitting Shops! You can find the original shop at 45a Portland Street, Troon, Ayrshire KA10 6AA, call them (they are very helpful!) on 01292 737424 or contact them via email The brand new Ayr shop is located at 61, Newmarket Street, Ayr, Ayrshire KA7 1LL.
(posted by Max)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

ERIK the Charmer Bunny

We all know that our Erik is quite the charmer, but this week has seen him out and about with more than one lady friend! He's been seen at the art shop with Tanya, enjoying some delicious ice cream with Maja and had a romantic liaison with a very pretty bunny in the park . . .

Erik is sure that taking Tanya to the local art shop to buy her some fancy art supplies will impress her . . . hmmm . . .


Erik certainly knows the way to Maja's heart - delicious gelati from Oddono's - yum!!

Finally, Erik has fallen head over bunny tail for sweet Erika and on their trip to the park wooed her with carroty chocolate. Well, what else would a rabbit give his sweetheart for Easter?

Erik Easter Bunny is a FREE pattern available to download from the website - there's still time!!
(posted by Max)

Friday, 11 April 2014

A WEEK in the life of Erik

Our favourite bunny has been very busy this week. He took an eggs-iting trip on the tube, found some eggstraordinarily good food at the farmers market and had an eggsellent time meeting his namesake - Erik!

No-one wants to sit next to Erik on the tube

Erik kept bugging me to lift him up so he could see out of the window

Erik's got his head buried deep in his diary, figuring out when he's going to have the time to eat some chocolate Easter eggs

Erik is checking out the MillaMia yarn at John Lewis - which colour is your favourite? Erik said he likes Limited Edition cobalt best

Erik working hard at his desk today

Erik meets Erik! I think baby Erik approves

Knitted Erik is looking more like a snack now in the eyes of baby Erik!

Erik diving in to find the best carrot!

Back from his dive! Erik has managed to choose 3 favourite carrots to munch on!

I need more eggs!
(posted by Max)

Friday, 4 April 2014

INTERVIEW - Nikki Gabriel

Nikki Gabriel is a knitwear and textile designer with a passion for unusual construction and a deep love and appreciation of beautiful artisan objects. Her abiding love of the handcrafted sees her more as a curator of unique pieces - collecting these exquisitely beautiful items from makers and designers across the globe, and selling them in her shop, Gather. This emporium of making is situated in the New Zealand seaside town of Napier, in a 'shabby, art deco building', a backdrop against which her collection sits perfectly.

Nikki describes herself as having a 'gatherer's instinct' - something she attributes to a childhood spent in South Africa, gathering material from all around her to create and make.

1) Tell us a bit about yourself and the inspiration behind Gather.
Gather sprouted on the side of my studio as I had a couple of extra rooms in a new space that I had moved into. I have filled the shop with beautiful yarns including (MillaMia), natural dyes, books, handmade knitting needles including giant 35mm ones that you knit rugs with; and a range of objects from other designers such as the fluorescent macramé from Spoonful Design, the Helvetica cross stitch kits from Tamara Maynes, the doily bowls by Lightly, Textiles from Sophie Digard (Paris). I wanted to create this shop to be an inspiring and creative space, for knitters and non-knitters alike.
Inside Gather
2) You are well known for your "construction" patterns – how did you come to this style of design and do you have any new construction patterns planned?
The Construction Patterns began as a design project to engage a wider audience into knitting by making patterns that are simple to read with diagrams and basic knitting techniques to make shapes such as squares, rectangles and triangles. The patterns show how to make several garment combinations in stages by joining these shapes together, so the maker not only learns how to knit but also participates in garment construction through a logical and step-by-step design process. Projects are quick and creative, and accessible.

Construction pattern No.4

3) You have collated an amazing array of incredible designers, yarn and handmade pieces. How do you go about selecting who to stock?
I choose items that reflect a modernism to craft, rather than nostalgia. I don’t really do vintage in the shop. Knitting is not an old-fashioned hobby, it's actually very current. The knitting patterns and yarns I choose is a reflection of this. The made objects such as the ‘Lightly by CL Davies’ product in store; Davies is an industrial designer who has dubbed the term ‘nanna-technology’ where there is a cross-over of craft and industrial technique in her practice. Craft plays a very pivotal role in the design industry, and good design is crucial to the survival of the wool and knitting industry. For those who have missed the relevance of craft in everyday life, my shop is way of showing how it fits and can actually enhance everyday life.

Construction pattern No.4

4) What are you currently designing and or knitting?
I am working on a book-publishing contract with an international publisher (can’t say who), to extend the construction knitting pattern project and concept for a wider readership. This is a 2 year project, so a lot of knitting, experimenting and pattern design development for this book.
I am also completing a Masters of Design Degree at Auckland University investigating the role of craft in the knitting industry and how to translate the Construction Knitting Patterns into procedure for industrial knitting machines. There is a lot of design development for this research project.

5) Who are the up and coming knitwear designers on your radar?
The Issey Miyake studio, Walter Van Beirendonck, Sandra Backlund, as even though they are established designers, they're always pushing the boundaries of our perception of knitting. I exhibited alongside all these designers in 2010, and what was important about this exhibition is how the hand-craft of knitting plays a very important role in fashion, and the development of knitting technology. It’s valuable for the wider public to understand the craft of technology too, the materiality, how yarn is made, where it comes from, etc, and designers like this highlight this process.
Beautiful knitted homeware available at Gather

6) Tell us your most interesting/awkward/embarrassing knitting story?
Kirsten, my whole career is awkward; I’ve given up trying to explain what I do at dinner parties. For most people, knitting is still associated with their grandmothers and outside of economy, as their grandmothers were never paid to knit.

7) What is the one thing you think should NEVER be knitted?
Anything can be knitted.

 (posted by Kirsten)