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about erica

Version 2American lived in london for 18years now homed in Dunsden, Berkshire. Love everything about England except the weather (duh-although its a good excuse to stay in pjs all day) and the exchange rate . I really used to love Suffolk, but now am a west England convert and a proper country girl as I live here all the time.

On the back nine  and with an empty nest in view started  Debonnaire in 2008- a needlecraft business with a mission to provide the best knitting and needlepoint products along with the highest degree possible of client attention.  Best is defined by me  as highest quality artistic materials at a fair price.Best is also defined  by me as stuff I personally want in case I end up with it all! somewhere along the way I started designing.

About 3 years ago I started dyeing my own yarn after a few years of working with other dyers. I am completely passionate about this  and hope it reflects in my work. While I still carry other stuff I’ve not personally dyed, the majority of my time is devoted to the hand dyeing business.

I’m currently running this business solo from home- the one good use I’ve put my mba to is determining that current  rents make a proper shop difficult .

when I’m not working on the thousands of ideas I Ihave for Debonnaire, I like golf,skiing, cooking and the beach. Have figured out how to knit and stitch at the beach and while cooking, but not while golfing or skiing…..

My 3 girls ( Alex 30, Annabel 28, and Savannah 24)have moved on to jobs but come home all the time as we now have a country party house and a dog and they like to be fed for free and a dog ( he’s really the pull). My husband Scott is quite nice and supportive and  very good at lugging 25 kilo boxes of yarn into the workshop.

Life Motto- just do it!

ravel raiser 08

25 Responses

  1. Love your pics! The site is wonderful. I love it and humorous too.. always good since life always isn’t!
    Who would have guessed you would have come this far after that lovely pink sweater (with 3 arms -just kidding) you knitted for me in high school. I admit I was stupid and missed the appreciation due you and all your hard work! But I must say what you have done is impressive (your designs, products etc) even if I am your sister! Best of Luck and see you next month – in sunny Florida! maybe you can teach me to knit someday……

  2. forgot, love my family all the time! ps.its the big “pond”- refer to john cleese’s letter to america…..

  3. i’ve pm’ed you but to summarise. I have silkwood angora(70%/30%) wool lace weight in3 colours-pink,greengage, maple.it’s lovely-am knitting a lace hat in it now!

  4. You’ve always been a terrific writer, Erica, and that hasn’t changed. You are so you! The designs you are creating strike my fancy, but I can only knit scarves. You should submit something to CRAFT magazine. I know the editor in chief, if that would help.

  5. if you can knit a scarf you can knit a sweater! much more gratifying…
    all backdoors and influence will be used! xxo

  6. Hi Erica I love your site and I love the fact that lots of people knit. I am 73 and cant even knit a scarf! Hope you are well lots of love Kitty Cunningham

  7. Kitty, thank you so much
    HOWEVER, there is a serious gap in your education if you have never knit- one of my favorite stores in nyc is right near you- Knitty City- GO IMMEDIATELY! you will love all the wonderful yarns!!! xxo erica

  8. Love your site. Too bad I don’t knit.

  9. Hi Erica

    I have just developed a new yarn in Wales that is a cross between a Saxon Merino and Shetland. The cross provide you with a extremley soft fibre (18-20 microns), or as soft as pure merino. The sheep live in the uplands of Wales and are clipped in the month of June, the wool is then sent to a local processor where it is scoured and spun into both 4ply and DK weights. Some of the yarn is then dyed into a range of colours by local dyers.

    At present, most of the yarn is sold at events and shows, I am looking for a small number of whole sale buyers to sell the yarn through, some patterns are already availble. To date the yarn has been very well recieved and knits as standard.

    If you would be interested in recieving a sample or know someone who is, please do contact me.


  10. The link in your Ravelry ad has a typo in it–it goes to ehdknts.com. I figured it out because I’d been on your site before and stuck in the missing “i” myself.

    • mishka, thanks for the bad link info- i’m trying to track it down as on my advertisers page it looks ok!! erica

  11. Hi Erica, I can see from this website http://schoolofeverything.com/teacher/ericadowns – that you teach knitting in Fulham. This is a general enquiry to see when you may run classes – when and where?
    With best wishes

  12. Hi Erica, I am trying to knit the pattern of Erica’s beret which I purchased with yarn at Harrogate K&S show. I am struggling. It took quite a bit of starting and seeing the pattern but after a few false starts it has worked fine until the crown shaping.
    I have had to pick several rows back stitch by stitch, so much so that the yarn is getting quite fragile.
    Up to row 13 it works fine. There seems to be an error with this row. It produces only 105 stitches not 120 as shown. Help please.
    I am using the colour on the pattern sheet and I do love it but am disappointed that the yarn is being spoiled as I had hoped to knit one for my grand-daughter also from the same hank.

  13. Hi Erica, met you recently at Aintree where I bought a hank of gorgeous blue silk yarn from you with which you gave me a free pattern for the One Skein Triangle Scarf/wrap. I’m having a bit of a problem – although I am doing the k2,YO at R & L edges. When I start the lace pattern there doesn’t seem to be enough stitches to do the repeats at the asterisk * Could you help please. Thanks.

  14. Wow– gorgeous model showing off above( “Love Hats”).
    Are you selling stock- the other kind– yet?
    Hope all is well!
    Was just showing Alex your site. Very nice work!

  15. Cardiff City Stadium Craft & Hobby Show 2012

    “The Cardiff City Stadium Craft & Hobby Show 2012 – offering a range of Craft Products, Favourite Suppliers, ‘Make & Take’s’ and an extensive exhibition all under one roof”

    We’d like to present you with the opportunity to exhibit your goods at a brand new Craft & Hobby Show being held on Friday 25th May & Saturday 26th May 2012.

    We’re aiming to offer the craft & hobby community of South Wales a new and exclusive show by incorporating a range of traders and exhibitors, workshops and generally fun day out.

    With shell scheme packages starting at just £150 for the 2 days for a 2m x 2m stand (with lots of extras included) and trestle stands for local crafters and producers starting at £25 per day, we hope that these amazing introductory prices will entice you to join us at this show.

    We are also looking for people who would like to take part in a demonstration, workshop or make n take. These would be free of charge if a stall has been booked and a discount can be arranged if both stall and workshop is booked together

    We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and send you out full details and booking forms if you’d like to get in touch.

    Many thanks & we hope to hear from you soon.

  16. Hi! It was lovely to meet you today at Westpoint, Exeter. I was very pleased with my purchases of wool (pampa dk merino hand dyed in violet for an American hat pattern etc…..). I have only recently moved to Devon from Sussex and am suffering from handicraft shop deprivation so it was lovely to come to the show today. Thank you for your help. I look forward to investigating your website further

  17. Hi Erica

    My sister and I visited your studio on Saturday morning and I just wanted to say what a fab place, as we said, like a sweetie shop, can see more visits in the future. Well done and good luck. Clare Gutteridge

  18. Hi Erica, Do you have any Luster Sheen wool in black? can’t find it anywhere. I know it’s an American brand.
    If not do know of a good substitute that will achieve the same outcome.
    Thank you
    Kind Regards
    Chris Lee

  19. Hi Erica just found your lovely website . I wonder if you could advise me please.? I am trying to find someone to knit a lamb for my baby granddaughter. When my 3 sons were babies they all had woolen lambs which they took to bed with them each night – they did this until they were about 10! I have managed to track down and buy a pattern of the same lamb they had but have a big problem. I can’t knit!, do you know anyone who would do this do you think! I am in Caversham frequently and work in Henley . Thanks Nikki

  20. Love your ‘about me’ – I smiled while reading – you are inspiring. Good to talk today. Keep doing what you do you do it beautifully. xxx B

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