Knitting isn’t something synonymous with younger generations in Edinburgh, but a young woman is proving the art is alive and well.
Lyndsey Currie, 28, from Edinburgh, was blown away when her products were picked up by a pop-up store in the St James area last month.
The textile graduate, who honed her craft at Duncan & Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, said it was the first time her handcrafted lambswool snoods and headbands had been collected by a store in a large shopping center in the city.
Lyndsey’s clothes were picked up by the ‘Support the Makers’ pop-up – which was only open for four days last week – and were sold alongside more than 30 creations from others in the shop.
She started her own business on Etsy in late 2019 after working as a textile professor at her old university while covering a sabbatical.
But then Covid hit and she had to try to overcome the difficulties of starting a new business during a pandemic – which she says worked well.
And the Etsy operator says she feels knitting is enjoying a revival with customers looking for more sustainable clothing with a homemade touch.
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About it, she said, “Everyone knows what knitting is, as most people would say ‘oh my grandma showed me how to knit’ or some older people remember it from the past. ‘school.
“But I’m very proud to be able to show that it’s not just about baby blankets and clothes and that they can be fashionable and durable.
“I personally use lambswool because of its durable qualities and if you take care of a garment made from this material it can last forever, which is important for the climate.
“Personally, I don’t know what it was like to run a business before Covid, because I pretty much started it at the start of the pandemic.
“But I’ve heard that a lot of people have become more small business friendly because of what’s going on.
“I think there’s a revival for knitting and people are a bit more conscious and looking for things that would help the environment.
“We are seeing the resurgence of rechargeable shops popping up everywhere and I guess you could say there is a revival.
“There has always been a market for small, independent businesses, but there has definitely been more pressure recently, so it was amazing to participate in the pop-up.
“People are making knitting cool again and just look at its use in fashion shows or even by celebrities like Tom Daley.”
What sets the designer apart is her use of a household knitting machine from the 1970s that was considered finicky equipment.
She uses her living room and apartment as her own studio and creates the clothes which are then taken up by companies such as the V&A museum in Dundee, as well as artisan shops in the same city, the Isle of Skye and the Gairlock. museum.
On the pop-up and whether she would like to open her own store one day, Lyndsey said: “The pop-up shop ended last Sunday but there will be more later this year, with one planned for August and another in December.
“There’s space in St James that’s empty and people can rent it out, so I’ve been asked to contribute to the ‘Support the Makers’ pop-up.
“There were over 30 manufacturers in this space and it was set up like a store for the four days. All with handmade products such as handmade jewelry, knitwear and ceramics.
“I was so excited because it was the first time my products were sold and advertised in a major mall.
“I normally wholesale it to craftsmen’s shops in Dundee and elsewhere in Scotland.
“At the end of the day, I just want to be a supplier. Running a store is too distracting and I want to create. I’ve noticed that a lot of knitting workshops are struggling to get started, so I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.
Her advice to anyone looking to make a career in knitting or take up the art as a hobby is: “From what I’ve seen and learned myself, the industry is more dominated by women, but most textile departments in colleges and universities are, even if in the end it’s for everyone.
“You can go to college or university and take a specialty course in knitting. You can even do a master’s in knitting at Galashiels at the Borders.
“Even on Instagram you see a wave of new knitters that are there and there are also traditional mills operating in Hawik. There are many opportunities for young people.
“The only obstacle is that knitting machines are not cheap and I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t learned it at university.
“That being said, you can get cheap used machines and try to follow tutorial videos on youtube, but to be honest, sometimes it’s an old lady with a poor camera angle, which is not the most useful.
“But I would say just go out there and try to find ways to get involved. I think it needs to be more accessible, but we’re definitely seeing knitting come back to the forefront of fashion.
To see some of Lyndsey’s products, you can visit her Etsy shop here.
You can also visit him Instagram here.