As recently as a third of a century ago the Knoydart Peninsula in the west Highlands of Scotland had no telephone system (the closest phone box was 50 miles away). No public water infrastructure or electricity grid existed and it was only accessible by sea. Even today, according to the Guinness World Book of Records, it is the most remote part of Great Britain.
Living there as a newly wed Hillary noted her neighbours couldn't afford wool for new things so they were constantly unpicking garments and endlessly knitting anew. With a huge pool of talent to draw upon for commercial development she had a vision of working with the best material available, cashmere. No one actually made yarn suitable to her requirements when she began, a stronger ply capable of being hand knit. Self determination guided her to approach one of the biggest cashmere mills in Scotland, Todd & Duncan - she got what she wanted.
Hillary Rohde spent over thirty years guiding hand-knit cashmere to a level of extraordinary beauty. In the process she created an international standard for excellence and many of the top labels have Hillary Rohde Cashmere develop collections for them. The sweaters and jackets have almost a cult status for owning (and wearing regularly). Today over three hundred hand knitters continue to produce these unique cashmere collections for Hillary's protégé, Stephanie Laird, whose inspirational designs ensure that the tradition of craft and quality integral to Hillary s original concept are preserved. There can be no doubt that together they are helping to preserve cottage industry in Scotland much the way The Harris Tweed Authority has been able to do.
Hillary Rohde Cashmere has graciously agreed to develop five sumptuous items exclusively for Thistle & Broom customers. (All made to order with a wait time of 8 to 10 weeks.) As with all of Thistle & Broom's offerings, the benefit of your purchase goes beyond your enjoyment, or that of supporting a business based in Scotland. 8% of the pre-tax profits will benefit the acquisition fund of the National Museum of Scotland for enhancing their collections of important Bronze Age and Early Historic and Viking relics indigenous to Scotland and her ancient people.