Feelgood from the first stitch!
That the enterprise was A Knit Story may be a coincidence, maybe not.
But that our joint enterprise had to involve a lot of design and creativity was certainly no accident. And the venture had to be built on quality, lasting value, fair trade and sustainable production. We dreamed of days filled with the joy of creation and exciting challenges that could be shared with others.
But let’s go back to the beginning and those coincidences. Tove had just visited the child she was sponsoring at one of the SOS Children’s Villages in Peru and found a fantastically soft baby alpaca yarn that caused whoops of joy back at the office. We had all knitted a lot in our school and student days, when the last knitting craze washed in over the country. So we not only enjoyed knitting, we knew our purls from our garter stitches too!
And that, as they say, is how A Knit Story was born. Though at the time we didn’t realise that we would have to be able to write precise knitting patterns and trial knit all the different sizes. Which was, perhaps, just as well.
We wanted to encourage people to knit, to share the joy of creating something from scratch, and give knitters all around the world the confidence that this was something they could do! And all with the world’s softest and best baby alpaca wool. We wanted it to be simple, with everything you need in a complete knitting kit. We wanted to ensure quality from start to finish, and we wanted everyone to be happy.
To safeguard the quality aspect, we chose a large and well-reputed yarn producer in Peru, and asked for the very best alpaca yarn they had. That’s what we got. But in addition, the producer developed a completely new brushed baby alpaca yarn especially for us, so we got exactly the super-soft, light wool we had dreamed of.
And so, happy and content, we set about designing jumpers, cardigans and accessories. And with Pippi Longstocking’s maxim: “I’ve never done it before, so I’m sure I’ll manage it fine” written in large letters on the wall, we learned how to write knitting patterns people could understand.
Then we thought about all our female friends who, for one incomprehensible reason or another don’t knit, but who think your newly knitted jumper is fantastically stylish. Maybe A Knit Story should also offer something for those who don’t knit themselves?
Then maybe even more people would be very happy?
We set off for Peru and found a fantastic little firm of women who would knit for us.
Mostly they handknit, but sometimes use simple, manual machines and assemble the garments by hand. We are so excited every time we open one of the boxes filled with soft, newly knitted garments. Every one is slightly different – but almost every one turns out really well. Luckily!
We have visited all our knitters and know that they are happy in their work and that they have good working conditions (link to knitters?)
The child Tove was sponsoring, Wildor, is a grown man now – with a family of his own. He is proud to be responsible for our alpaca-skin accessories, which include alpaca pompoms, alpaca teddy bears and slippers. Wildor is very happy with the additional income this brings in to his family.
All the alpaca skins we use come from animals which have died a natural death. They live freely high up in the Andes, and provide a livelihood for many poor smallholders.
It has to be said, though, that we’ve sometimes thought Pippi was a wee bit overoptimistic. Because turning a new start-up into a nice and secure place to work involves an extremely steep learning curve. And there is always something we could and should do better. But, luckily, the vast majority of our working days are as fun and exciting as we dreamed they would be.
When satisfied customers tell us that they simply adore the A Knit Story jumper that they’ve just finished – it gives us even more energy to carry on spreading our happy message:
Feelgood from the first stitch!