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Sincerely Louise Doughnut Kitten

Sincerely Louise Friendly beasts & mythical creatures

Whether you're a first-time knitter or a seasoned pro, Sincerely Louise's taxidermy-inspired creations are sure to get you reaching for your knitting needles.

Louise Walker, also known as Sincerely Louise, is a Sheffield dweller based at Harland Works whose love for all things knitted has taken her on a fascinating journey and culminated in a wonderful collection of knits, kits, patterns and books.

First things first. Tell us a bit about yourself & what led you into the world of knitting.

I'm Louise and I design knitting patterns, kits and books inspired by taxidermy, mythical creatures and occasionally food. I learnt to knit while studying commercial photography at university and it slowly started taking over my life. I'd knit during lectures, tutorials and, against my tutor’s advice, started making props for my photographs.

I created a photo series called Given Best, where I replaced hunting trophies and furs with knitted versions. I didn't know much about knitting or patterns, so I just made it up as I went. After graduating some of my work went viral, which gave me the platform to start my own business. I was approached by various knitting magazines to design patterns and also by Boden, who asked if I'd create a set of six taxidermy heads for their Fall/Winter press day at Somerset House.

Following this I was approached by a publisher and commissioned to write my first book, Faux Taxidermy Knits which launched in 2014. This opened my eyes to the world of knitting and its huge subculture. At the time I didn't realise what I was getting myself into, I just liked knitting, and now I'm part of this amazing community of people all over the world, connected by two sticks and a ball of wool.

SL studio promo
Sincerely Louise Fox Head
Sincerely Louise Fox Kit

We've loved following the development of your new book on Instagram. What can we look forward to in First Time Knits?

First Time Knits is my new learn to knit book and it's been an exciting year making it. The book is written like a course, starting with small, easy projects that use the very basics of knitting. With each project you're taught a new skill and by the end of the book you'll be able to make a lion head or a jumper.

What makes First Time Knits different from other learn to knit books is that I asked four absolute beginners to be part of it. Throughout the book you follow their knitting journey, seeing the mistakes they made, reviews and finished knits. Alongside the photo tutorials in the book there's also videos for each project, as well as a dedicated website with lots of bonus stuff on it.

First time knits all knitters
Louise and Amala First Time Knits
Louise and Simon first time knits

Your Instagram feed is full of adorable taxidermy-inspired knits. If you had to choose a favourite, which would it be?

My absolute favourite faux taxidermy design is my tiger rug. It's about the size of a baby tiger and took around 50 hours to knit. If I'm choosing between the heads I have a soft spot for the bison, I like his beard!

Mermaid cat
Bison head

The pandemic has been a testing time for creatives. Has it changed the way you work? If so, how?

To be honest, no, the lockdown hasn't really changed the way I work. Since last August I've been working non-stop on the new book and videos. The closer I got to deadlines the less I'd leave the house. In March it felt like I'd finally got some time to go out to the pub or have a nice meal and then we went into lockdown!

One thing that helped during lockdown was finding a routine. It mainly involves playing Ring Fit on the Switch and drinking tea at set times but it helps keep me motivated.

Given Best 1
Tiger medium2
Given Best 2

And finally, what's on the horizon for Sincerely Louise?

More knitting? Well hopefully I'll get lots of new people knitting! I had planned on running learn to knit workshops from my studio in Harland Works and a book tour around the country, but I'm putting that on hold and running some virtual events instead. I've got a couple of project ideas in the works, including something out of this world.

Visit Sincerely Louise's website & follow her on Instagram.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)
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