Boston duo create high-end line of knitted accessories – Boston Herald

Carina Donoso and Kristen Lambert spend their days in stitches – as their new knitwear business takes off.

The two pals launched The Third Piece, a line of high-end handmade woolen turbans, berets and scarves that come with their own dustbags and a promise: no “hat hair” here.

“It’s breathable, so your hair looks fabulous all day,” said Lambert, who runs the business side of operations.

The third piece, a fashion term used to describe an outfit’s most important accessory, has been Donoso’s dream since his biology teacher, Ms. McGowan, taught him how to knit when he was 13.

“I was that weird girl on the bus who knitted, and I gave it away,” she recalled.

A stylist who worked in retail (Alex and Ani) for years, Donoso loved knitting so much she moved to Brookline Village to live near her favorite yarn store, A Good Yarn. So when the store closed last year, she hired her favorite employee, Paula Roberts, to work on prototypes and produce parts for the line.

“There’s so much to enjoy about her craft,” Donoso said, adding that The Third Piece has hired additional knitters to keep up with demand. “These women do it because they love it, and we’re so lucky to have them.”

A chunky aesthetic has become the brand’s signature, and Lambert said she’s constantly on the phone with yarn stores across the country, shopping for their merino wool inventory.

The desire to find the best wool resulted in a 10-piece collection called Adore, which includes a headband, five varieties of scarves, gloves and boot covers. Prices range from $85 to $275.

“Most women who buy a third piece will buy another. They’re a bit addictive,” Donoso said.

The same could be said for the actual knitting process. The 26-year-old said that once she got her needles back, she could knit non-stop for hours.

“On a good night when I watch two TV shows, I can throw three turbans,” she said.

She’s more productive watching “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” or the “Housewives” series, and thinks the characters should learn the craft.

“They don’t need therapy. They have to learn to knit to relax,” she said.

Lambert and Donoso sold The Third Piece at small trunk shows and online (the3rdpiece.com). Henri Bendel in New York took over the line this fall, ordering 165 pieces for its winter and holiday season.

“It’s spiraling,” Lambert said.

The pair expect the turbans and scarves to be best-sellers, and believe the bold colors – garnet, cobalt and citrine – will particularly appeal to New England customers looking for fashion – and function.

“If you’re in a blizzard, you’re not going to get lost in this color,” Donoso said.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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