Sweet like candy
Meet Fiona Ross of Candy Coated Accessories, who is best known for her geometric knits & vibrant colours…
I’m a country girl at heart. As children, my sisters and I spent most of our time at the Aberdeenshire farm where my dad worked or at the beach looking for crabs in the rock pools. After leaving school I took the portfolio course at Gallowgate College before heading to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. By the end of my first year I knew textiles was for me. After completing my degree in Constructed Textiles in 2003, I started to develop my business while working as an accessories designer at Johnstone’s of Elgin. I then became a merchandise buyer and designer at BrewDog. This combination has really given me the experience to take Candy Coated Accessories to the next level.
I produce most of my work in my small design studio at home, bringing together my skills in knitting and sewing to produce a varied collection of products that includes luxury knitted scarves and hot water bottle covers to cotton baby accessories.
When creating a new design, I begin by looking for a bold pattern. It might be a wallpaper print, wrapping paper, fabric or something on Pinterest that attracts me. It can take me quite a few attempts to plot out a pattern on grid paper before transferring it to a blank punch card that’s suitable for my trusty old knitting machine. Sometimes I realise that it doesn’t work and start over again. Once I have a design that I like that’s when the fun starts. I order new yarn for that season, knit lots of colour swatches, wash, dry and press them and then decide which colour ways will be used. I usually pick three per collection as I like odd numbers!
Bright colours and geometric patterns have always inspired me and I feel this is definitely reflected in my work. I think the mixture of modern geometric designs made by traditional techniques complement each other perfectly giving me an exciting collection.
Sustainability matters to me. People seem much keener to seek out handmade products or items that will last the test of time. More people are becoming aware of the environmental impact we have on the planet and do want to change their buying habits. I do what I can by using recyclable packaging or using eco detergents to wash and process my knitting.
My goal is to design in house but use a manufacturer so I can grow the business, spending more time on design, marketing and growing my distribution channels. I’ll keep all manufacturing in Scotland as I never
want to not be able to say ‘Made in Scotland’.
My work is available via my Etsy shop and I’m hoping to have an online store on my own website soon. I’m stocked in Fold at the Barn in Banchory and at Jane Keenan Designs at Henderson’s up in Maud. I’m also taking part in several virtual online markets this winter, keep an eye on my social media channels by searching candycoatedscot, where all details will be posted.