Maille Love – knitting a car cosy for Merci Paris
If you follow my Instagram, you may already have seen a sneak peek of a top-secret project I’ve been working on. The cat (or car!) is now out of the bag, and I can now reveal that we’re collaborating with Parisian boutique, Merci as part of their Maille Love exhibition.
Maille Love (or ‘Stitch Love’), is a celebration of knitting and knitwear – the art of finding the perfect yarn, choosing the right stitch, and reviving oft-forgotten skills.
I love to collaborate with galleries, museums and stores, and working with Merci was right at the top of my wishlist. I make a bee-line for their Marais store whenever I visit Paris, so when they approached me to be part of their exhibition I was absolutely delighted!
Merci were keen to bring in a selection of knitted creatures to display and sell within the store, but then we started to explore the possibility of producing something unique. The vintage red Fiat 500 in Merci’s courtyard caught my imagination, and I designed a pair of my trademark shaped lambswool cushions in its image.
As the conversation progressed, we had the idea to supersize our design and I put forward a proposal to knit a bright red cosy to cover their iconic car.
Merci loved the idea, but we then had to figure out how we were going to knit the cover, and secure it to the car without damaging it!
Luckily my design assistant Lottie’s (fairy) godmother is the proud owner of the very same vehicle, so we took a train to Southampton for a dress rehearsal!
After knitting 14 meters of thick red lambswool in a Fair Isle-inspired pattern designed especially for the project, we cut, stitched and coaxed the cover into shape. By the end of the day, we had a loose-fitting template that still needed a lot of work, but that we knew we could refine to be a good fit for Merci’s car.
The following weekend, we booked our Eurostar tickets, filled a couple of suitcases, and off we went to Paris! The car sits outside Merci’s store in a lovely, cobbled courtyard – sooner had we arrived, than the heavens opened, meaning we had to fit the cover in the rain!
Hand-stitching the giant car cosy with cold, wet hands wasn’t the easiest job in the world, but Lottie and I continued sewing and fitting the cover until it fit like a glove.
Visit the Maille Love exhibition at Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, until 24th October 2021. You’ll be greeted on arrival by our sweater-clad car, and can even purchase a special souvenir in the shape of a knitted car cushion.