Meet the Designer - Sian Brown

Meet one of our amazing designers, Sian Brown. Sian has lived by the South Devon Coast for the last two year, after relocating from East Sussex. She has two grown daughters, one who still resides in East Sussex and the other in the East Midlands. 

Sian has a very successful background in knitwear design. She first learnt the basics of knitting from her mum at around the age of five when first learn to knit. At this stage she only attempted the basics, a few simple home knits and some fun small projects. Pretty impressive at just 5 years old, we think! Sian’s passion for knitwear design really blossomed whilst studying for her fashion and textiles degree. A project set by a visiting lecturer sparked her interest in knitwear and she hasn’t stopped creating since! After finding an old knitting machine at the back of her college cupboard and teaching herself to use it, Sian completed her final university collection which consisted of domestic machine knitted and hand dyed woven garments.  


After working for suppliers to the high street retailers on factory machine knitted garments and then commercially produced handknits, Sian developed her skills as a freelance knitwear designer where she built up a team of experienced knitters and pattern writers to support her design business. Sian now has over 950 published designs, 4 books in her name and a fifth to be published next year. She now mainly works for magazines, yarn companies and other knitting publishers. 

For garments, Sians design process almost always starts with a shape, which is often inspired by the seasons. Then she decides on the yarn. As much of her design work is now in partnership with magazines, they often set the theme and provide mood boards for inspiration. Sian is the mastermind behind her designs and tends to use sample knitters to create the knitted piece and supplies a pattern writer with a design spec and swatch, who does the sizing math and writes the pattern. Sian says that she very often won’t see her finished design until it’s published the commissioning magazine or book. How amazing must it feel to see your design come to life months and months after the initial idea?! 


Sian describes her design style as ‘classic’, probably because of her background in commercial knitwear design which comes with a focus towards ‘appealing to all’. She admits she likes to have a ‘bit more fun’ when designing home knits and other smaller projects, which she often knits herfelf. We absolutely love her knitted breakfast! You can’t get much more fun than that! 

Kaffe Fassett, Patricia Roberts and Ralf Lauren were big sources of inspiration for Sian and then a little later, the first Rowan books. She enjoys designing with a mix of colour work, texture and lace. She has curated a large collection of images, stitches and colour combinations that inspire her designs. We love your style, Sian! 

Sian has some excellent advice for new knitters; “take your time learning new techniques, build up a group of people that share your interest including experienced knitters. Just enjoy what you're doing, and the new skills will come naturally. Start to develop your own design skills as you practice. You could start by adding something like a lace, cable or texture panel to a simple pattern, and at some point you may well want to design your own”. We couldn’t agree more! 


You can find more from Sian here!