Into the Blue – new style

I wanted to tell you the story behind the new Mellis cardigan knitted in GOTS certified organic cotton, the final piece of knitwear to slot into the Charl cotton collection.

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of the St Ives group of artists which included Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, so when I discovered the work of Margaret Mellis whilst studying for an MA at the Sainsbury Centre, UEA, Norwich, I was intrigued to discover that she had been part of this group too, before relocating to Southwold in later years.

What initially attracted me to her work was her sense of colour; she created collages out of driftwood which she found on the beach, rescuing them from” the obscurity of neglect” and repurposing them through art.

“Mellis encourages us to see the commonplace “found object” in a bright new light,” 

 Mel Goodling. Margaret Mellis A Life in Colour.”

I felt an instant connection to her work because in my own way, this is what I set out to do in my reinterpretations of the Norfolk Gansey knits.

My particular inspiration for this cardigan is her 1952-4 Blue Lighthouse painting above. I love the intensity of layering blue on blue interrupted by clean white stripes. The Mellis cardigan comes in Navy Blue, Cobalt Blue and a classic Navy stripe on a Chalk/White base in response to this painting.

The Mellis cardigan also incorporates elements of the Norfolk Gansey jumpers in the “Herringbone” stitch detail above the cuffs and hem. Herring fishing has been a big influence on the collection so far, and is also featured (using different stitch techniques) on the West Gansey and the Hardingham scarf. Herring fishing was the main source of income for The Norfolk fishermen during the first half of the 20th century before the fish mysteriously migrated to new waters leaving the fishermen to fish mainly for crabs, lobsters and whelks (which they still do to this day).

The fit of the Mellis cardigan is slightly longer and less boxy than on the Codling cardigan, with a deeper arm hole and wider sleeve to incorporate pretty blouses or dresses worn underneath. Designed to be the perfect cover up over a floaty and possibly semi opaque dress as it hides the bottom and adds an element of slouch to what might otherwise be quite a formal outfit. The Mellis is equally at home over a T shirt and shorts for a trip to the coast or better still – on board a boat.

Made from the finest 100% GOTS certified organic Peruvian Pima cotton in a chunky fisherman’s rib, the Mellis will see you through the last days of summer and well into the autumn. In fact, I predict you’ll be wearing the Navy version all through the winter too!

For more information on the organic cotton used in my collection please head over to the sustainability page on my website and scroll down to the “100% Cotton” section.