As the weather turns cooler and the white stuff starts to fall from the sky, I tend to snuggle into my handmade knit wear. Since I was born, my grandmother, “Oma,” has been knitting us beautiful sweaters, hats, mittens, socks, scarves, slippers, and even clothes for our dolls. Her love poured into every piece that she ever knit for us. We still have bins filled with the love-filled pieces, and now that I have children of my own, I have begun pulling them out for them to wear.
This is not to say that my children don’t have any of their own. They have many pieces knit specifically for them by their Great-Oma (“Too Oma”). That’s right, she is over 80 years young, and she pours as much love into her Great-Grandchildren’s knitted wear as she did in ours.
Today, I have asked Sarah Bradt, owner of Ninebark Knits, to share her thoughts on her love of knitting. Her passion for knitting is something that has developed over the past 10 years, and now that she has a son of her own, she has new inspiration! Enjoy the interview below:
Q: As a young mother, you must be very busy. What inspires and motivates you?
A: My biggest motivator right now is my 9 month old son, Arjen. I love staying home to care for him and play with him. The more successful Ninebark Knits is, the more likely it will be that I can just go back to work part-time, therefore giving myself some time to stay home with Arjen. Therefore he is inspiring me to get creative with what I knit and the patterns that i come up with. I’ve also come up with new ways to sell my knitting experience by having knitting parties and knit nights.
Q: What was your path into knitting?
A: I fell in love with knitting in 2009, while spending time with my grandmother on the east coast. It was September, and I had just started a co-op term in Halifax as part of my studies in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. Though I didn’t know anyone in the city, my grandparents lived only a few hours away and during those autumn months, I often drove down to see them. After only two or three visits, my grandmother had already taught me the basics – how to cast on, how to knit and pearl, how to cast off.
Q: Do you have any tips for readers on developing a passion for knitting?
A: Knitting is like any new skill. It takes time to develop and hone. It’s hard at first but gets easier with practice. Beginners tend to knit very tightly which makes it knitting even harder. All I can say is stick with it. Soon enough it will come naturally. Then you’ll be able to knit anything you like while watching tv, on long car rides, or on cold winter nights cozy by the fire. The repetitive motion is also very therapeutic and relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, knitting is addictive!
Q: Do you remember the first thing you knitted? Was it a proud moment?
A: The first thing I ever knit was a very lopsided scarf. The start of the scarf was a good 10-15cm skinnier than the end of my scarf. This is a common problem for beginner knitters as they often ad or remove stitches without realizing. Was I proud of the end product…. no haha! But I was impressed with myself that I was able to create a wearable garment out of nothing but yarn and needles.
Q: What type of materials do you prefer to use?
A: As an avid environmentalist, I make it a priority to use all natural yarns and knitting needles. All yarns are synthetic free and entirely sustainable made from renewable resources such as sheep’s wool, cotton, and bamboo fibres. My needles are also made from sustainable materials, primarily bamboo. A nice spin-off of using environmentally friendly yarns is that they often tend to be made by small, local and independent yarn makers and dyers. I love supporting fellow artisans.
Q: What type of things do you personally enjoy knitting the most?
A: I don’t know that I have a favourite thing to knit. Rather I am more interested in the pattern itself and whether it teaches me a new technique. That being said, I find knitting socks to be therapeutic so I always have a pair on the go. I also have a tradition of knitting blankets as wedding gifts which I quite enjoy (I’ve attached a picture of some of my favourite socks and blankets that I’ve knit).
Q: With Christmas coming up, Christmas crafts are very popular. Are you inspired? Do you have any products to look out for this time of year?
A: My husband and I are huge fans of Christmas. We love the family-time, the cooking and baking, the music and merriment, the snow and of course the crafts! Every year I hand-make cards to send to family and friends. Last year I experimented with knitted cards and the end product is wonderful! My “O Christmas Tree” and “Winter Holly” knit cards can be purchased for $7.50 each (pictures attached). To date, my favourite Christmas knitting project is a nordic style pillow that I knit for our front entry (I’ve also attached this picture).
Thank you for joining us Sarah! If you like what you see, please visit Sarah’s website, https://www.ninebarkknits.com/, and you will be instantly inspired by the beautiful pieces.
Want to learn how to knit? Or looking to have fun with fellow knitters, check out Pin-it Canada – London, http://www.pin-itcanada.com/london–on.html a creative art show offering workshops, an exhibit hall, demonstrations, and so much more. Join Sarah in one of her knitting workshops. She looks forward to seeing you!