Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne started Warm & Wonderful in 1979, selling knitted jumpers from a market stall in Covent Garden, London. The pattern – rows of white sheep and one proverbial “black sheep” was a major hit and seemed to resonate with some more well-known black sheep of the time: David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Shelley Duvall, Penelope Keith, Anthony Andrews — and, of course, Lady Diana Spencer.
In honor of our new collaboration, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sally and Joanna to discuss their work, inspiration, and of course, letter writing and paper.
1. How did you two meet? And what made you decide to work on jumpers together?
We were introduced by Sally’s brother Jamie, as he knew we both had knitting machines. We didn’t know each other at all, but immediately decided to set up a business together. Jo had already started knitting and Sally handed in her notice the next day and we just started. We designed 6 sweaters and the sheep was one of those.
2. You’re obviously most known for knitting your famous sheep, but are there any other creative projects you love to work on, or mediums you work in?
We have been designing sweaters for 40 years, but have also been doing other things. Joanna has been doing ceramics and Sally has been painting and printmaking.
3. We have to ask – how did it feel seeing Lady Diana Spencer in your design for the first time?
Very exciting, very surprising, we had no idea that she even had one of our sweaters, so the first we knew was when she appeared on the front page of the newspapers wearing it.
4. The pattern is as popular as ever. Why do you think it resonates with so many people?
It’s very simple and graphic and makes people smile.
5. Are there any items you’d love to see the iconic black sheep pattern on that don’t exist yet? And/or do you have a favorite color of the pattern?
There are lots of homeware items that it would be perfect for: blankets, throws, bed linen etc. The red is the most famous colour, but the green is lovely and was the first colour we ever did so we have a soft spot for it.
6. We’re a stationery company so we’d love to know if you are fans of the handwritten note. Or paper in general – writing, journaling, drawing, etc…
Very much so. We both write letters, probably not as many as we used to when we were younger, when letters were all we had. We’re big fans of paper we use it a lot for drawing and printmaking and are quite obsessed by different papers, notebooks and journals.
7. Any rituals? Time of day, a favorite spot in your home, a favorite pen?
Jo likes to write her diary overlooking the sea in her window seat in Brighton and Sally has a drawing journal that she takes everywhere with her and has a favourite carbon pencil.
7. And finally, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone with a great idea on how to get started?
We started small and grew organically, so I think that is possibly a good way to go with a good idea, but having said that the world is a very different place now from when we had our good idea.
Thank you so much to Sally and Joanna for taking the time to answer our questions! Learn more about their work on the Warm & Wonderful website and Instagram @warmandwonderful. Shop the collection on our site here.