Let’s get into knit! Established in 2005, Chi Chi Moi stands out for its vibrant colours and bold, contemporary designs. Each piece is dreamed up and handcrafted by a small group of talented ladies from their homes in the picturesque Somerset countryside. We spoke with the brand’s founder, Jan Ollis, who shared some helpful tips for novice knitters, the inspiration behind the brand and exciting plans for 2022!
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into knitting and crocheting?
“I started knitting and crocheting quite young, my Mum was a great knitter and she taught me to knit when I was probably around 10, My Great Aunt taught me to crochet (my Mum never learnt). My Great Aunt used to love making Granny squares, so that’s the first thing I made.”
What was your inspiration behind Chi Chi Moi?
“Chi-Chi Moi began as a hobby, I had graduated from Uni in printed textiles and was working as a freelance textile designer. However, when we bought a house to renovate I had no dust-free place to work. I began crocheting small fashion accessories to give as gifts, people seemed to really like them and suddenly I found myself selling them in shops.”
What does an average day look like for you and your team of lovely knitters?
“My days change constantly; Christmas is our busiest time and I can start planning new ideas in January, I write the pattern and make samples. Then when I am happy to hand over patterns and yarn to my knitters, we start to make Christmas stock as early as August.”
What do you currently have on your knitting needles?
“I have been making lots of hot water bottle covers, with lovely soft mega chunky yarn!”
Which are your favourite books or websites for tutorials and guides on knitting and crochet? And what would be your top tips for anyone considering learning from scratch?
“I love the websites Lovecrafts and Wool & the Gang, they have knitting and crochet tutorials, Youtube is also a great place to find clear easy tutorials. Tom Daly has also just brought out a range of knitting kits too which look great.”
What do you like most about being a member of the knitting community?
“The knitting community is very generous, they are happy to share patterns, wool, tips. Ravelery is fantastic for this.”
In the event you were stranded on a desert island, what yarn and pattern book would you choose to bring?
“I would definitely take every colour of Sirdar’s ‘Happy’ cotton, it comes in gorgeous little 25g balls so would pack in a suitcase easily. I would probably take the knitting and crochet bible and make a blanket using every stitch in it.”
What are your favourite sustainable yarns?
“I love the range that hoooked have, they are all produced sustainably and have ranges that include plant-based and recyclable yarns.”
Are we seeing a knitting revival among the younger generation? If so, what lasting impact could this have on the future of knitting?
“I think that the younger generation is much more aware of how we should treat the planet. Hand knitting and crochet can produce sustainable and low impact garments, so I can see that knitting and crochet will remain popular.”
What exciting plans does Chi Chi Moi have for 2022?
“Hand knitted children’s and baby clothes. My daughter has her own business ‘Millyo’. She handmakes soft, wearable clothes for babies and children. For years we have talked about creating a range together and 2022 will be the year!”