great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 26th in our series with Lindsay of knittylittlesecret.
Tell us about yourself and your background. How did you come to start knitting?
I grew up in PEI and when I was 17 I moved here with my Mom. I had always felt like a big city girl in a VERY small town (25, 000 people vs 2.5 million). After moving to Toronto I sort of felt like I'd come home and now, 16 years later, my heart is torn between Toronto and PEI. Three years ago I opted for the best of both worlds and we bought a house in Pickering, minutes outside the city. I feel now that I get the best of both worlds. I get a quiet suburb but still the vibrancy and electricity that a city like Toronto provides.
I started knitting as a means to end my boredom at work. I work night shift and had wanted to try knitting for years so I thought I could knit at work to cure that. My kids (I have 2) brought home a Scholastic order form and it had a children's book on how to learn to knit so I bought it for myself. I figure if the book could teach children to knit, surely I could learn it, too.
What do you like the best about knitting? What’s the worst part?
What is your favourite item to make?
How long on average does it take to complete a piece? Which piece takes the longest?
It takes about 6 - 8 hours to make a pair of fingerless gloves, start to finish, depending on the style. A hat can be anywhere from 2 hours or 6 hours, depending on the style. The longest piece was a sweater for my hubby and that took 3 weeks. His sleeves were too long (he's short - 5'5" but I was measuring against myself to make sure he had some extra room - I'm 5'8") but for my first sweater attempt it was pretty good. Second to that I'd say the scalloped edged poncho. It's knit in four panels and then you sew it up. That probably takes at least 3 or 4 days.
Do you plan on adjusting the type of pieces in your store with seasonal changes? If so, how?
I used to have several other pieces that were spring, summer and fall related, not just with colours but the actual pieces themselves but I gave half my items away to a fundraiser in October of last year.
I currently am working on items for a craft fair but when that's over I'm going to be knitting some beach cover ups and knit shorts as well as some brightly covered yoga socks (which are great for cool night and ballet flat shoes).
I've always wanted to knit myself a bikini but, quite frankly, there's no amount of yarn support in the world for my 'girls' so I'll settle for knitting them for other people.
Knitting for seasonal changes in Canada pays off pretty well. We have fall, winter and half of spring that tend to be cold so knitting works in cold weather. Knitting in the summer, though, causes some issues, especially in Toronto where it gets very humid!
What did you want to be when you grew up and how do you feel about what you’re doing for work now?
Who is your model in your photos? She is adorable!
Where is your favourite spot to sit down and knit?
At work on night shifts. I'm very rarely disturbed while at work so I can sit there, knit and read a good book at the same time for 12 hours straight. However, I'm not a knitty snob and I'll knit anywhere. Transit, work, home, outside on a beautiful day. I'd knit in a fancy restaurant if they let me!
My second favourite place to knit is at home but I've learned to put the knitting down when there's a good hockey game on because there's a visible difference in the stitches where the game gets stressful
Where do you get your inspiration from in your day to day life?
Nature. My kids. My hubby. Random strangers who do something kind for others, not for recognition but just to be nice.
I sort of feel like Gil in Midnight In Paris. As much as I love the perks that today's world has given me, I sort of feel like humanity has lost so much with technology and would love to live in a simpler time. So I take inspiration from different eras, as well. Just what society struggled through and survived. When they thought that life couldn't get any worse, that they could not possibly carry on, they did and things got better.
I take inspiration in the strength of others, in the honest and truthful words of others and in my own errors.
How do you feel living in Toronto has influenced your work?
What is it about Toronto that you think helps breeds the remarkable variety of creative individuals that sprout there?
The numerous cultures. In PEI there was only one first language for the kids I went to school with (though there were other cultures, they were vanilla-ized). When I signed up for school here in Toronto, the principal told me that there were 51 first languages. 51!!! That was amazing to me. And I think that sums it up. If you and I meet for coffee and talk about changing the world, we bring two sets of ideas and not much progress will happen. But if 51 people meet for coffee, you've got a wealth of ideas to choose from, a wealth of ideas that grows into something beautiful and strong and improvements are made.
The fact that we have so many different cultures, colours, ideas. We're an incredibly open country and an incredibly open city. Heck, we were one of the first countries to legalize marriage across the board.
Toronto GETS it. If you allow people to be who they are, you're going to allow people to be free and confident enough to try new things, or to create new things. Throughout Canada Queen West is known as THE place to shop. Is it coincidental that it's in Toronto, this famed Queen West?
Toronto is accepting of you, regardless of your culture, religion, sexual orientation, size and gender. That mind frame breeds intellectual freedom which means it also breeds creative freedom.
What makes you feel happier – knitting itself or knowing that people are enjoying your products?
How do you think your sense of humor has contributed to your work?
Well lemme tell ya. Sometimes, when you have to turn a skein of really ... Really ... REALLY thin yarn into a ball and that thin yarn gets tangled every 5 seconds? You really do need a sense of humour or else you'll go bonkers and throw your yarn across the room. Which isn't satisfying. Trust me.
I think with anything, though, you need a sense of humour, no matter what it is. Whether it's something you love or something you hate, you need to laugh.
Women have it figured out. There's nothing better than a good cry and a good laugh.
As for how it's helped contribute to my work...well that's a good question. I think with any sort of creativity you need to be able to laugh at yourself. The silly mistakes you make, the frustrations that creativity can bring you. The silly mistakes that you make over and over again. The fear that creativity can also bring you. A good sense of humour can relieve your fears and your worries in creativity. It relaxes you and eases the tension you build in yourself and the confidence that may have been lost with one bad creative project.
What is your creative process? Are you a careful planner?
How do you ensure that your designs are not only beautiful, but practical too?
And...where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Oh man. Either in Maui as a famous writer or owning my own yarn store. Or both!!
I would actually love to work in a yarn store and teach knitting classes. I'd also like to have my book finished (not for publication but just for the sense of accomplishment). And I'd also love to hone my skills as a photographer and travel to Europe and go back to Hawai'i.
You can find more of Lindsay's work in the knittylittlesecret Etsy shop, on her blog, or at the knittylittlesecret facebook page.
Interviewed in April, 2012 by Krystyn of CalliopeKitten.