Hey blog readers, today the first Solar Flare MKAL prize is revealed. Both functional and beautiful, this prize sparkles too! In addition to the prize donation, Maya Bang from Knit With Attitude in London, graciously allowed me to interview her. Enjoy!
1. How long have you been an LYS owner & what drew you to the knitting world?
I’ve been a knitter ‘ my whole life’ ever since my Nan put me on her lap and taught me how to knit at the age of 4. Knitting has always been a life style of mine, it never occurred to me that it would become my livelihood as well, but here I am running a yarn shop in London on the fifth year.
2. I love your tag line “Encouraging Eco-friendly and ethical knitting.” How did your eco and ethical knitting missions arise? Is it something that has always interested you? Or did you have a personal experience that inspired a change towards an eco business? Or perhaps, you saw a gap in the market place & were driven from that direction?
The link between the craft and environmental/ethical aspects are important to me – hence the name of my shop Knit with attitude. When I was in my mid-twenties, a knitting revolution was on it’s merge in the US, but it had not reached Europe yet. Reading about this in the first knitting blogs (which existed long before anyone had even invented the term fashion-blog), I was fascinated with how young people embraced the old technique making it their own through new expressions like political yarn bombing and knitting activism. This was also a time with increased knowledge about the environmental and ethical aspects of modern consumption, and what I found was that knitters were at the front fighting for a more sustainable fashion and fibre production. Knitting went from being an old fashioned activity, to become super-cool, and I wanted to be part of this change! It has taken a long time, but this quiet revolution has happened all over the world, knitting is now claiming its ground on so many levels, creatively, individually and in the society as a whole, you really don’t want to miss this!
3. Your shop is funky and inviting. How does your design aesthetic fit in with your eco-friendly and ethical knitting goals?
Other than our ethical and sustainable ethos, Knit with attitude has got attitude! We try to bridge the gap between generations, to make sure knitting as a skill continues to grow we need to offer edgy and on-trend designs and yarns for the younger generations, at the same time as we appreciate and honour the experience and detailed knowledge of those who have been knitting ‘for ever’.
I share my premises with another shop Of Cabbages & Kings, an art and design shop focusing on independent UK artists, and most of them are based here in London. We used to have each our tiny shop off route, and tried to figure out how to be able to get ourselves to the High Street. In London it is really difficult for any small independent shop to establish themselves on the High Streets as they’re usually drowned and priced out of market by large chain stores. By combining our forces and share the responsibilities and expenses we were able to open on a High Street location, and together we offer a creative platform for yarn and art.
4. What’s your favorite advice for knitters who are just learning about eco/ ethical knitting?
Really it’s not about knitting per se, but our consumption as a whole, it is about attitude and being aware. Then again, nothing beats the lush tactility of working in natural fibres, and the quality of these fibres are unquestionable, if you take proper care of a hand made garment in natural fibres you have an item that will last for generations.
5. Thank you so much for your prize donation! Would you tell us a little more about the prize and its eco/ ethical features?
Injabulo is a small UK based family business that works with established empowerment projects and small businesses through South Africa. Injabulo is a Zulu word for happiness, and Chrissie and Roger Sherwood make sure that all of their beautiful products helps towards lives being changed for the better. The artists earn a wage far above the minimum. Many of them live in rural areas where there is very little work. A decent wage means that they can buy good nourishing food, pay for education for their children but most importantly hold their heads high and live with dignity. The Injabulo Stitchmarkers are Hand beaded at Iziko lo Lwazi in Capetown.
Knit With Attitude may be found at the follow locations:
127 Stoke Newington High Street
LONDON N16 0PH
+44 207 998 3282
Not part of the Solar Flare MKAL? Join today – the pattern is available through Knit Eco Chic, Ravelry, and Patternfish & the fun happens here on the blog & on Ravelry!