When high-flying financier Ruth Herring lost her job at Christmas, she discovered an unusual way to weave her way out of unemployment.

Some people in her predicament might mope around the house in despair, but this 51-year-old saw it as an opportunity to rediscover an old passion - knitting.

Miss Herring, who studied fashion as a youngster, launched a new career teaching knitwear and crochet at South Thames College, and demand for her expertise is growing by the day.

She said: “My job was very stressful. I did it for seven years, and then I was made redundant out of the blue.

“I was left reeling for a bit, but then someone said, ‘why don’t you go back to what you’re trained in?’

“South Thames jumped at the idea. They said the climate was so right for knitting. The classes are absolutely packed, and it’s brilliant fun.”

The Colliers Wood resident studied knitwear at Kingston University and then started a business making garments for celebrities to wear on television and films.

She even published books on the subject, including “Knitting Wildlife”, a bestseller showcasing animal-themed outfits modelled by celebrities like Elizabeth Hurley.

But the entrepreneur gave up to have her two children, now aged 16 and 12, and later joined RS Consultancy Limited in Old Street to make money.

Working in financial research was profitable and her colleagues were nice, but Miss Herring always longed to go back to what she loved.

Now she teaches day classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Tooting campus and plans more classes for Monday and Tuesday evenings at Chestnut Grove School in Balham.

Her students are encouraged to be creative in their designs, and one woman has even made a pearl-clad woollen cape for her daughter’s wedding.

She said: “Out of the doom and gloom of redundancy I have picked it up and I’m loving it. It’s so refreshing to look at the class and everyone is buzzing.

“Knitting is really trendy these days.”

To book yourself on Miss Herring’s classes, call 020 8918 7777.

• For an essential online guide to saving money during the credit crunch visit yourlocalguardian.co.uk/money