Knitwear supremo to the stars opens first store in Mayfield

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A TALENTED Mayfield woman whose celebrity customers include Stella McCartney, Geri Halliwell, Charlotte Church, Davina McCall and Trudi Styler has just opened her first clothing store.

Sue Hill started knitting as a little girl and started her business seven years ago. She has now opened Sue Hill Handknits at The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells which will sell handmade boys’ and girls’ clothes as well as shoes and children’s jewellery.

Sue said: “The store gives us an opportunity to showcase our clothes to local customers who want high quality, unique clothing that they won’t find anywhere else in Sussex or Kent. We also thought customers would like the idea of an ‘atelier’ or workshop where they can see the clothes being made and the different yarns for bespoke pieces.”

Sue, taught by her mother Valerie at the age of ten, had always knitted but mainly for children’s birthday and Christmas presents. Valerie persuaded Sue that she could turn her love of knitting and skills as a seamstress into a business.

So, after her son Jack was born Sue gave up her high-flying career in exhibitions and worked with her mother to make up some patterns. They then started knitting designs using the best yarn they could find.

As their hand knits became known, Sue and Valerie were increasingly asked for softer yarns, cashmere with cotton or wool and then pure cashmere. Sue said the yarns used by Sue Hill Handknits are the finest available – pure cashmere and cashmere/cotton blends by the famous Italian company Loro Piana and blends of cashmere and fine merino all spun, twisted and dyed to Sue’s specification in Italy.

A unique feature of the store is the workshop where customers can see patterns being cut and different types of yarns available.

Clothes sizes include newborn to age ten and there is also a range of designer swimwear.