Knitting from Fair Isle is Mati’s first book!
September 2011: the Fair Isle Crafts Co-operative was dissolved after 30 years’ trading, but Mati Ventrillon’s passion for knitting and her determination drove her to launch the Fair Isle Knitwear website. She then applied for the 2012 Crafted UK business mentoring programme in an attempt to fulfil her dreams of a ‘made in Fair Isle label’.
From this came Mati’s appearance on a ‘fashion flag’ above Oxford Street, as part of the Great campaign celebrating The Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics.
Mati’s ‘Woollie Horse’ was also used as prop for the Great campaign photography. Wood and brass Woollie Horse jumper boards, now iconic and coveted by collectors such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, were first made by Tulloch of Shetland in the 1920s to dry Fair Isle knitwear without stretching. Fate meant that Mati’s ‘Woollie’ belonged to her husband decades before they met; he was the globetrotting child of diplomatic service parents and the Woollie Horse saw the world with him.
As he and Mati’s shared journey continued, ‘Woollie’s’ use as a prop for the Great campaign photography symbolised the completion of an inevitable circle and suggested the possibility of transforming genuine made-in-Fair-Isle knitwear into the Mati Ventrillon brand.