Q&A: Bryony Phipps-Wardle for #ScarfUp

We recently launched our new project, #ScarfUp, a collaboration with several renowned artists to design unique scarf patterns reflecting their personal artistic styles. Scarves will knitted by local volunteers and donated to patients with respiratory illnesses, helping to protect them from cold air this winter.

This week we spoke to contributing artist and knit designer, Bryony Phipps-Wardle, who transformed all of our artists’ ideas into knitting patterns!

Hi Bryony! Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice.

I am a designer/maker working mostly in knit. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2019, I currently have a studio space at Cockpit Arts where I am developing my practice. My work centres around using locally-sourced materials; I use a lot of British wool and I aim to be fully traceable and transparent in my process. I am interested in telling lesser-told stories, drawing inspiration from sheep markings, British landscapes, and subculture uniforms, among other things. Through my work, I hope to reconnect people with the origins of what we wear, and to use craft as a way to connect with each other.

How did you first get into knitting?

My grandma is an amazing knitter and taught me to hand-knit when I was young; I then specialised in knit in the second year of my BA in Textiles, and learnt machine knitting. I love the tactility of knit and that you are creating a piece from scratch – it is quite simple really, but the possibilities are endless!

So how did you end up working on #ScarfUp with CW+?

I became involved with the project after being put in touch with CW+ by my tutor at the RCA. I have been responsible for ‘translating’ the designs into knit patterns, and have also contributed a design myself. It’s been great to be involved with the project and to use creativity in such a positive and helpful way. I feel it’s a lovely way to provide extra care to patients with respiratory illnesses.

How long did it take to translate the patterns?

Some took longer than others, depending on how detailed the designs were, but they probably took about three hours each to translate and write up the patterns.

What inspired your design for the project?

My design is influenced by classic football scarves, as well as the many handmade messages of support and artworks created during lockdown to show thanks to the NHS. I have also been inspired by other artists and designers who are using their creativity to support key workers, such as Jeremy Deller and Sportsbangers’ iconic NHS t-shirts.

I wanted to do something that celebrated and showed support for the NHS and the incredible work it does. My scarf imagines the NHS as the ultimate team we can all support.

What advice would you give someone when selecting and working on a new knit?

I would say pick something that excites you and don’t be afraid to try new designs/patterns. Often, techniques that seem complicated are not once you get the hang of them. Also (even though I don’t always do this myself) it is definitely sensible to knit your tension square!

What’s your next project?

I’m currently working on a new collection to release in time for Christmas, which will include some fluffy socks. I would also like to work more closely with suppliers and farms in the UK to develop my own yarns next year.

Thanks for speaking to us Bryony! And one final question, where can we follow/see more of what you do?

On my website, and on Instagram!

Volunteer knitters are encouraged to make and donate the #ScarfUp designs, so that patients at our hospitals can receive them when returning for follow-up appointments. The scarves will be used by those suffering from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and patients recovering from COVID-19, particularly as we enter the colder autumn and winter months and prepare for a second wave of Coronavirus. More information is available here.

All patterns, including Bryony’s, are available to download here. To send in a scarf you have knitted for patients, please post it to the following address: