I can't tell you how many times we've heard 'If only I could knit!' But the truth is anyone can, and in May we thought it would be fun to knit a romper along with you. You don't have to be a beginner to join in, but if you are ~ we will be making a series of videos to get you started and we'll also be anyswering any questions you fire at us as we go!
What are we knitting?
The Etive Romper ~ Why? Firstly because we love it; no matter how many things we make, when we have an order for an Etive it is such a pleasure to cast it on. It takes shape quickly, is knitted in-the-round, so requires minimal sewing, and it’s such a sweet and enduring style for boy or girl! The pattern is available from size 0-6m – 2-3 years, and if you sign up for our knit-along emails, you’ll receive a discount code to purchase the pattern at half price!
When do we start? And how long does it last?
We’re casting on May 4th, and we’re wrapping up May 20th. As with all knitting projects, we encourage you to swatch your yarns so can ensure you’re getting the right gauge to achieve proper fit.
If you are an experienced knitter ~ you don’t have to wait for our tutorials, you can just fly through the pattern at your own pace, although we’d still love to hear your thoughts about the pattern and see your progress pictures! You can use the #rainerandbearKAL on social media and we will be sharing our favourites on our blog and Instagram stories.
We will be covering the following subjects with videos and or step by step instructions:
Provisional cast on
Knitting in the round
This is perfect if you are a beginner as we will be here to help at any point along the way!
We hope you will join us!
Our SS18 collection has been a work-in-progress since last October. As always we credit Scotland as our inspiration for our designs, but it's runs deeper than that, and as I wrote a little about it for our new lookbook, I realised why.
The Butterstone Collection is inspired by the raw beauty of one of our favourite areas of the Highlands, Scotland, and the joy and adventure of simple pleasures that should represent childhood;
Waist high grasses to hide in, soft heathers to fall in, the stony shores of lapping lochs, and of course wide-open spaces for imaginations to ignite and burn brightly!
Scotland to us is the best parts of our childhood, the love of which, like an heirloom handmade garment is passed down to our children and our children’s children.
It's often while away together on holiday, free from the usual pressures, distractions (yes I mean wifi!) and routine of everyday life, that we feel most inspired and our ideas can come to life. So really the inspiration is so much more than just Scotland, it's family, being together, sharing adventures, experiences and the outdoors. It's carving our childhood memories into the hearts of our children and instilling a love of simple pleasures deep inside of them. So although to us Scotland defines that, to you it might be Cardigan Bay, the South Downs, Yorkshire's moors, or even that corner of Alaska that we recently shipped an order to! But if you know that feeling of calm, simple, outdoor times, shared with family; if it's etched into your being so that you can see, smell and taste the memories when you close your eyes, then you know what it is that inspires us to make.
This year we have named our collection after some of the places we love around Dunkeld in Perthshire. Below are some pictures of our stay there in October - and if you are really curious about how our new collection has turned out - you can view our lookbook for yourself!
This year has been full of change for all in our family. In May, after many false starts and exactly three months after losing a beloved parent, we welcomed our third son (twelth grandchild)
C o n r a d into the world and into our hearts.
We spent the summer healing, adjusting and growing together.
Further changes are to come over the next few months as we expand our pattern range and other
n e w products, and reduce focus and time spent in other employment to give more time to
R a i n e r & B e a r.
We are excited and hope you will continue to follow along with us on this journey.
Needles at the ready....
Our first pattern is nearly ready for launch!
The Etive Romper pattern will be available in March! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more details.
A frosty start to the new year!
But we are thinking ahead to spring & summer. We will be adding new products to the shop over the next few months, so be sure to look out for them!
These beautiful images were taken by Little Kin Photography owner Polly, of her little girl Elsie in the Archan Romper.
Polly is a London based photographer who seems to have an ability to capture totally immersive memories and moments, making you forget that a camera was even involved. Also a mother, blogger and general super-woman! You can look at more of her work or read her blog by following the links at the bottom of this post.
Although the weather is trying to trick us into believing that the summer will NEVER end (and we're certainly not complaining about that!), we are busy working on some very vintage little hats in colours that complement our winter palette. They will be online soon!
We are excited to finally have our shop live, and what better way to introduce ourselves than a beautifully written interview by Kayla from Under a Tin Roof... here is the link if you would like to know a little more about who we are and what we do!
Making the Maker, an Interview with Abigail ClarkSo excited to share this week's Making the Maker with Abigail Clark of Rainer & Bear, a handmade business offering knitwear for littles. While interviewing the lovely Abigail, I discovered that not only is Rainer & Bear a mother-daughter team as well, but that the majority of their work is based upon their Scottish heritage and the landscape of Scotland itself. Uh YES PLEASE! You all know how obsessed I am with Scotland. This was just such a lovely surprise, and I loved learning more about how their products and brand are inspired by the beautiful Highlands.
Abigail is a mother to two boys, Rainer and Logan, whom she and her husband nicknamed "Logie Bear," the day they brought him home. She and her mother, Eileen, create the wonderful products behind Rainer & Bear.
Kayla: How did your business begin?
Abigail: People have been telling my mum [Eileen] to sell her knitting my whole life, but she never considered it until my little boys came along, and we just couldn't find the patterns or styles I really wanted to dress them in. We started drafting, swatching & making our own things for them, and slowly Rainer & Bear came to life.
Kayla: Why do you make handmade?
Abigail: We really love handmade and try to buy [it] wherever possible. I love the thought of using a product or wearing a garment that has been made by another person. It adds value to belongings in a largely 'throw-away' world. We believe that a handmade garment is an investment that should be handed down to siblings and even on to future generations.
Kayla: What inspires your products/business/designs?
Abigail: Our family's love affair with knitting essentially began with my grandmother in Scotland. My husband's family is also from Scotland, and we have spent many, many happy and inspiring weeks there, traveling, drinking in the scenery and history. It feels like a heritage that is somehow woven into our garments and our family.
Kayla: Can you tell me more about Scotland?
Abigail: We love the Highlands, especially the Cairngorm National Park, and have visited it in all weathers, including this year in January when they had a two huge snowstorms, but I can honestly say it's beautiful in all weathers! The landscape is so dramatic and inspiring. We always take the boys with us, and investing in a good baby/toddler carrier has helped them enjoy all the secluded, harder to reach places we adore. Last year we spent some time on the west coast visiting some of the Isles and finding secluded white sandy beaches for our babies to explore. We have travelled all over now, but the one place we haven't yet been too, and is next on our list is Skye.
One of my favourite trips still fills me with warm memories. Logan was just six months, and Rainer was two. My husband had been climbing in the Cairngorms the week before, so we flew to Inverness, and he picked us up from the airport. It was October and very autumnal. One day we set out for a walk through the pine forest a couple of miles from our cottage; we had been walking only ten minutes or so and suddenly the trees opened up and the forest gave way unexpectedly to golden sand. We had stumbled upon a beautiful Loch beach, which we now know as Laggan. It was empty; we felt like we were the only ones in the world who knew it existed. It felt like our beach! We try and visit it every time we go back now, it's become one of our favourite places, and has become the name of one of our designs. We have given each design a Scottish place name as a tribute to the memories and inspiration they have given us.
Kayla: Your grandmother sounds like such an inspiration to your work! Could you tell me more about her?
Abigail: She was born in Scotland and had a tough life raising five children, largely by herself. Knitting, for her, was a necessity rather than a pleasure. She would, like so many in post-war Britain, unpick old garments to use the yarn to make new ones. She taught my Mother to knit and read patterns before she even started school. Life was easier for my Grandmother in later life, and she was always knitting for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I would truly say she was an expert. Sadly cancer took her life in 2013. Although I knew how to knit, it wasn't until after her death, when my mother and I started looking through all of her vintage 1940/50's patterns, that I discovered a real passion for it. This makes me both happy and sad, happy that I am continuing something my Nan loved, but sad that I didn't take more of an interest in [it] whilst she was alive. I feel our style is reminiscent of the post-war Britain look, and I feel that this is also a little element of my Grandmother.
Kayla: Where do you source your materials from?
Abigail: We are not restricted to one place to source our materials. We are always on the look out for ethically produced yarns, with a beautiful colour range. We also love a superwash yarn as, let's face it, kids are dirty little creatures! As for our needles, we largely use vintage needles that were my Grandmother's before she passed away. We talk about her all the time when we are working; about how she would love what we are doing with Rainer & Bear, and also how we would have her knitting day and night for us if she were still alive. She was amazing!
Kayla: What opportunities has making by hand opened for you?
Abigail: Hands down the best thing has been meeting other talented mothers who are making beautiful things all over the world! I have connected with quite a few through Instagram, and we have swapped our creations. This has been a great arrangement and supplied my little ones with no end of quality, ethically handmade clothes to wear, as well as supporting other small businesses.
Kayla: Do you have any regrets or have you made any mistakes when it comes to running a small business?
Abigail: My only regret at the end of a day is if running a business has taken me away from spending time with my children. I am primarily a stay-at-home mum, by choice, so that is why I tend to work late at night or early mornings before the boys wake, or during those golden afternoon naps. The same goes for mum; she always says if the boys ask her to play she wants to always say yes, as one day when they are teenagers, they might not be interested in playing with their grandma anymore! Childhood is fleeting and I don't want to ever look back and feel as if I missed it.
Kayla: What is the hardest part about running a small, handmade business?
Abigail: Disappointment is always difficult when it is your own business as everything can seem so personal, but being personal is also what makes small businesses so special.
Thank you for that lovely interview, Abigail! I feel that I learned so much. How lovely are all of the elements from their surroundings and heritage that are incorporated into their garments? We love that and strive to do the same with our clothing here at Under A Tin Roof! Handmade is a beautiful business (: You can shop Rainer & Bear here or follow along with them on Instagram (@rainerandbear)!
If you think that your small business would be a good fit for an interview, please visit our sponsorship page or email us at email@example.com