Knitting enthusiast’s sweater business thrives amid lockdown

Pepperdine alum Kendall Ross poses outside Oklahoma City to celebrate her Instagram account, @id.knit.that, which hit 25,000 followers in June. Ross’ sweaters usually grab attention on her Instagram account.

Photos courtesy of Kendall Ross

When Pepperdine (2021) alum Kendall Ross was 11, a local yarn store owner taught her to knit in her hometown of Oklahoma City, sparking a passion for life and now her own knitting business, ‘I Knit that.

While she initially created her Instagram account, @id.knit.that, to share pieces she created for fun, Ross said she started taking her craft more seriously during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ross’ Instagram account started to gain a lot of traction in the spring of 2020, so she created a website to sell his creations.

Ross said “I’d Knit That” was able to take off during the quarantine due to the new free time she had to create clothes and the rise of fast fashion.

“People really don’t want fast fashion anymore,” Ross said. “People buy by hand, thrift and learn to make your own clothes. I like this. I think a lot of this change has really helped my business because I sell stuff that I make myself. It’s not fast fashion, it’s just me.

Ross poses for a photo in a custom knit ensemble in Oklahoma City in June.  A big part of Ross' business growth over the past year has been his custom designs like the one pictured.
Ross poses for a photo in a custom knit ensemble in Oklahoma City in June. A big part of Ross’ business growth over the past year has been his custom designs like the one pictured.

In a typical week, Ross said she makes two to three sweaters and often sets small goals for herself throughout the week so she can finish them on time. Ross hand knits sweaters, cardigans and other garments; she also creates patterns so her followers can recreate her designs themselves.

Ross' mother poses in a cardigan Ross knitted for her sister-in-law in Oklahoma City in January.  Ross then posted the design she used to make this sweater on her website so customers could make it themselves.
Ross’ mother poses in a cardigan Ross knitted for her sister-in-law in Oklahoma City in January. Ross then posted the design she used to make this sweater on her website so customers could make it themselves.

His business gave him more confidence in his abilities and allowed him to take his passion and turn it into a bigger operation. Ross said running “I’d Knit That” showed knitting could be more than just a hobby.

“When you think of knitting, you think of the women who do it and I thought of it as unimportant because I thought it was just knitting for girls, but I think for me owning a business has reaffirmed the validity of the knitting and a lot of really girly stuff,” Ross said. “It really gave me the opportunity to get to know a lot of other people who are doing stuff like that and see the value in that.”

Ross said she conducts “I’d Knit That” primarily through Instagram. “I’d Knit That” originally got a lot of attention from Pepperdine students on the app, and now, across the country, people follow his work, including Auliʻi Cravalhothe dubber of Moana.

Auli'i Cravalho, Moana's voice actress, poses for a photo in the sweater Ross made her.  Cravalho posted the photo on Twitter in January, which generated a lot of buzz around Ross' business.  Photo courtesy of Auli'i Cravalho
Auli’i Cravalho, Moana’s voice actress, poses for a photo in the sweater Ross made her. Cravalho posted the photo on Twitter in January, which generated a lot of buzz around Ross’ business. Photo courtesy of Auli’i Cravalho

Although successful running his business through Instagram, Ross said it’s hard not to base the quality of his work on the number of likes and comments his posts get.

“I’ll find myself thinking, ‘Oh, well, that’s clearly not good because it didn’t get enough likes,'” Ross said. “So you have to navigate, ‘I know it’s good. I like it, I did it and it’s my art’, versus ‘it doesn’t do well on social media’.

A cardigan Ross knitted in June is pictured on her bright pink kitchen table for an Instagram post that shows off her work.  Ross said she recently started incorporating beads into her knits, like the floral designs in this piece.
A cardigan Ross knitted in June is pictured on her bright pink kitchen table for an Instagram post that shows off her work. Ross said she recently started incorporating beads into her knits, like the floral designs in this piece.

Her passion for knitting and sustainable fashion led Ross to write her thesis on the history of women’s knitting during the First World War. After graduating from Story majoring in May, Ross said she was focused on running “I’d Knit That” from her hometown of Oklahoma City.

“I’m really excited to continue ‘I’d Knit That’ and see how it grows,” said Ross.

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Email Kayla Kahrl: kayla.kahrl@pepperdine.edu