Norwich knitwear designer launches colourful new autumn collection

Kay Lilian's new autumn collection includes bright and cheerful scarves

Kay Lilian's new autumn collection includes bright and cheerful scarves - Credit: Kay Lilian Designs

Textile artist Kay Worton has always loved working with fabrics and being creative. 

But it was her introduction to the knitting machine during her degree course at Norwich University of the Arts that got her hooked on working with wool.

“I can remember my first workshop lesson, I was the only one that stayed late because I was like ‘I need to finish this piece off’," she enthuses. 

“I just thought it was amazing really that you could grow some fabric on your machine and watch each stitch form.

"I don’t really know what it was about it, but I just became a bit addicted to it, to be honest,” she laughs. 

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Kay graduated in 2014 and works on her designs alongside her full-time job.

It's important to her that her products feel as good as they look.

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“I knew that I loved knitting on my machine, and I wanted to create products that were made with natural fibres, so that’s where I started to like look into different quality yarns and I found these yarns which are really expensive, but they make such nice products,” says Kay.  

She started out designing fabrics and looking at colour combinations.

The first products she made were footstools and then she started making cushions too.

When Kay was furloughed for three months during the first coronavirus lockdown, she focused her energies on designing and making.

And her long-term dream is to be a full-time designer and maker.

“In some ways it was really good for me because it gave me that time to be able to focus on my other source of income, my knitting, so I saw the positives and how I could use the time really well in order to progress the business,” she says. 

“I was just literally knitting every day and I really enjoyed it.

“I do love interiors, but then lately I have got into more of the fashion side as well, and sell scarves, jewellery and headbands and brooches. 

"I do a bit of everything, I just love thinking of new ideas, that I can make," she says. 

Kay Lilian Designs creates a range of knitted accessories and homewares

Kay Lilian Designs creates a range of knitted accessories and homewares - Credit: Kay Lilian Designs

When it comes to working with wool, the only limit is your imagination – and Kay says that she loves the experimental side of what she does.

“Coming up with all different ideas and thinking how can I do this and just giving it a go, really.  

“In my house I’ve got a loft room where I’ve got my knitting machine, my sewing machine, shelving for products that I’ve been making, inspiration boards, everything’s up there. 

“It’s really nice because I can just pop up there on an evening, so if I’ve got an idea I just quickly try a few things out.” 

And she has been working on some new products for autumn, both accessories and homewares, which are launching over the next few weeks. 

“A new product which I have done in the past, but I didn’t really focus so much on it, was knitted plant pots," says Kay. 

“They’ve got waterproof fabric inside and then a knitted outer side.  

Kay crates her colourful designs on her knitting machine

Kay crates her colourful designs on her knitting machine - Credit: Kay Lilian Designs

"I’m knitting some more scarves as well, in different autumn colours like burgundy, navy and rusty orange which I’ll be launching soon.”  

Follow Kay Lilian Designs on Instagram @kayliliandesigns. Kay also has a shop on Etsy.  

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