Woman of Wool

You may recall an interview with the lovely Jackie O’Brien from Hazel Green. Well she has recently been invited to be a woman of wool at Bendigo Wool Week. She continues to develop new ideas to encourage her clients at Hazel Green to use and create with wool, the most amazing natural fibre. It was such a treat to see her features in the latest Country Style magazine. Virginia Imhoff in her article “Pins and Needles” provides us with some new insight into Jackie’s experiences.Today she is at Sheepvention in Hamilton in the Western District, working alongside talented artist Valerie Little. Together they have organised the Australian Wool Industries Young Fashion Designer Awards.

Purl So-ho

Do you ever get to meet up with friends to stitch, craft or knit? Hazel Green is a fabulous space here in my home town and once a month there is a subscriber’s night. Girls gather with their current knitting projects mostly and share ideas, life and words of wisdom over a glass of wine or cup of tea. We are all there because we enjoy the company, the adult company and we are willing to learn. There are some very accomplished knitters and artisans, but there are also a few that are beginners and are learning under the encouraging eye of Jackie. I made mistakes last night – what was to be a baby’s jumper front, ended up being a super long skinny sleeve. I had not been concentrating and too much laughter had distracted me from doing the right thing. It will become a WIP or a UFO, I am not sure really. So instead I picked up my pride and found new wool and a great Jo Sharp pattern. What do you think?

Hazel Green

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jackie from hazel green for sometime now and am always inspired by her new projects, great style and designs. Jackie exudes an understated elegance in the way she wears a frock she has just sewn up, the way she displays her beautiful products in her studio or how she marries colour and texture in her woollen hand knitted garments. Jackie is very excited about a new line of sewing patterns from the UK, Merchant and Mills, that she is using to create gorgeous garments. These dresses and tops are forming the focus of some intimate sewing classes where you can interact with Jackie as she ‘talks and sews’ you through one of the designs from beginning to end. Contact Jackie for more information about these classes or any of the beautiful hazel green products.

I wrote about Jackie here a few years ago. Recently she chatted with me about her ideas for hazel green.
Jackie from Hazel Green, wearing a Merchant and Mills Dress

Beautiful Packaging

Beautiful Patterns

Samples of the Merchant and Mills garments

what is hazel green? hazel green is my very own retail/studio space. Born from a desire to create, and pass this skill on to others and hopefully inspire people to make things.

how long have you been designing and creating? my creative skills were developed at a very young age – my mum kept me busy with knitting,
crochet and sewing from the age of 5. I can remember making dresses without patterns for myself and my sisters when I was about 12 and constantly renovating things from the op
shop. In my early teens I had a strong desire to work in fashion, although later I was more interested in architecture.

where do you find inspiration? magazines, magazines and more magazines! I try to abstain, but it’s impossible…..

what is the best thing about having your own studio and retail space?
the freedom to do whatever I want, although that means I’m often not very productive as I’m easily distracted!

what is your next big dream? I’d really like to be involved in the promoting of wool as an everyday product. I think that in our current and future environment the production of a sustainable, quality material like wool is going to become very important.

Why are you excited about your new stock of Merchant and Mills patterns?
I have just begun stocking Merchant and Mills dress patterns from England. They are very simple, well constructed patterns that are well suited to beginners and established sewers. The philosophy behind these patterns is the simplicity of them, and a way of dressing that suits today’s busy lifestyle – if you find a dress that you love, why not have one for each day of the week! They are printed on proper dressmaking card which has a certain appeal…none of the designs will date and they can be easily adapted. At the moment hazel green is the only Australian stockist of Merchant and Mills!   

Hazel Green

I have been meaning to write about my friend Jackie for a long time now. It seems appropriate as we approach the mad Christmas season (yes…it is not too early to write that gift list and shop!) that I should introduce you to some absolute loveliness here at home. Jackie is one smart, creative, intelligent woman. Not only is she a busy mum of three children but she is single handedly starting a crafting revolution in her home town. Hazel Green is a divine store full of handmade treasures and beautiful yarn. Whilst all her products are in her online shop, it is the one to one encounter with Jackie that makes every visit special. She has amazing knowledge of her products and she will encourage even the most reluctant knitting shy person to take up some Lantern Moon Needles and a ball of Alpaca wool.

If you love wool and Liberty and linen and Florence Broadhurst…..look no further.

I will let you explore her blog and online shop at your leisure and perhaps I will see you at Hazel Green soon….