About the designer

Leanne Prouse

Handknitting has always been a part of her life, as has design, a skill handed down from generation to generation.

"I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a house where things were always being created, as my mother is a talented dressmaker and knitter, my love of design meant I could have an idea then get her to sew or knit it up for me. Although I learnt basic stitches at an early age, I never had the patience for knitting at that stage... I'd much rather have spent my time sourcing and designing the next project then get mum to knit it! The first garment I knitted was when I was about 18, I found a design I liked in a magazine and knitted it up with no pattern to follow but using mum for guidance."

After leaving school and studying Fashion Design and Textiles, then spending many years travelling the world, she returned to live in the beautiful South-west coastal region of Australia where she had grown up to raise her own family.

As luck would have it the same town was home to International designer Jo Sharp. Looking for another challenge to embark on whilst raising a young family she approached Jo with some design ideas.

"That was a very happy and exciting time, the moment I walked into that design studio I felt like I belonged there. Being surrounded by all the yarn and amazing colours really ignited the passion for knitwear design as a career option not just a hobby. "

In the following years she went on to become a head designer at Jo Sharp. After going out on her own in 2004, she has gone on to develop the "Ella Rae" label in association with KFI. Ella Rae continues to grow and showcases the love of design that keeps on evolving and changing with the seasons.