Making a hat - in cashmere yarn
This fall, I received an email from Cassandra Harada wondering if we could collaborate. Through a Zoom conversation, Cassie and I quickly realized that we have much in common, sharing beliefs about making and the clothing we wear. Ways in which we could collaborate quickly emerged.
Meet the designer
First off, let me tell you about Cassie. Cassie grew up in Illinois and right after university, went to Japan to teach English. The way of life in Japan resonated with Cassie and she never left. She lives in the Tokyo area with her husband and family. In her working life, textiles have led the way.
Cassies owned a yarn shop from 2012-2018, has worked for Japanese knitting magazines, and is the founder of the Tokyo Yarn Crawl. When her parents bought a hobby farm back in Illinois in 2015, Cassie helped them choose a Cormo sheep breed and became trained as a shearer. She created Harada Wool from the flock, producing yarn for knitting, as well as woven shawls and fabric in Scotland. Sadly, Harada Wool is likely ending because last year, the US processing mill that made her yarn shut its doors, an all too familiar story of the textile industry in the US. (In the knitting community alone this past year, we've seen many companies and magazines shut down, a topic that warrants its own blog post.)
Cassie's textile loves also include sewing. She is currently an apprentice in tailoring men's clothing, having completed her apprenticeship in trouser construction and now training in jacket construction.
On the knitting front, Cassie established Made To Atelier through which she designs and hand knits hats for Bryceland's in England, as well as makes custom items for individuals. This is where our interests mesh.
Cassie's hand knit cashmere hat available at Bryceland's & Co.
Cassie's beliefs about making mirror my own and that of June Cashmere. Cassie wants to take fibers or yarns with a purpose-filled story and make garments that you can wear and wear, cherish, mend, pass down. She (and we) subscribe to a slower fashion movement - opposite of our non-compostable synthetic, wear-one-season-and-throw-away fast fashion culture that makes up clothing manufacturing today. Cassie believes in owning a bit of luxury that is also practical and hard wearing, that you can play in the snow or walk the dog in, yet still wear when you go out on the town.
Which is why she chose June Cashmere's cashmere yarn
Cassie reached out to us because in 2016 when our founder, Sy Belohlavek, first launched June Cashmere yarn, he was able to stock a couple of Japanese yarn shops. Cassie saw our cashmere yarn and made herself a hat using our scarlet and natural DK weight yarn. Here's a clip about that hat from a recent interview with Cassie:
The short of it is that Cassie found in June Cashmere's cashmere yarn not just cashmere luxury. She found that important story of doing good along with the long-lasting quality she seeks in the fibers and yarns she uses in her making. She found that with her 7-year old hat that is still her hard wearing, luxurious friend, our yarn is one that works with her company's soul: it's "Made To" be lived in.
Get Cassie's free hat pattern and support our cashmere yarn company
Cassie wanted all of us to know what it is to have a long lasting hat made from June Cashmere's cashmere yarn and generously designed a free hat pattern. You can access the pattern and learn more about it plus get our DK weight cashmere yarn here:
Enjoy making your hat! And until next time, find joy in making with our yarn. -Amy