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International Man of Knittery

International Man of Knittery

As seen in Forbes Magazine, US based knitter Samuel Barsky became an internet sensation with his amazing landmark jumpers!

While many of us pack holiday essentials such as sun cream and beach attire, Sam Barsky packs his latest handknit sweater; featuring a famous landmark from his new destination. On his travels he takes photos next to recognisable locations wearing a sweater to match it and the internet has fallen in love with him! In June 2018, he chatted to Heidi Wilkins about knitting, travel and his newfound fame. Here is what he had to say:

“The first landmark I ever knitted was the Twin Towers with the Statue of Liberty in front. I designed it myself and freehanded it without a pattern. It was the fourth sweater I made like that. Strangely, I made it in May 2001, not long before the September 11th attacks.

I first started knitting generic scenery, including a waterfall and covered bridge, mallard ducks in the mountains, and a castle. I then saw a picture of London’s Tower Bridge and thought it would make a perfect sweater design. Unfortunately I failed in my first attempt but after knitting the Twin Towers sweater, I tried the Tower Bridge again and succeeded. I realised early on that anything could be a sweater!

I learned to knit from the owners of two yarn shops in 1999. The first one I visited taught me the basic stitch and how to make a scarf. The second
one taught me how to make a sweater. I then taught myself how to change shades and knit multi-coloured sweaters. It now takes me about a month to knit a sweater.

I have been to 33 countries in my life and counting. I like visiting a variety of different places and going to both to the iconic landmarks and lesser known ones that
look interesting. The foreign country I have been to the most is Israel. My wife has family there, so we have travelled there often to see them.

My top tip to anyone who’d like to knit their own landmark sweater is do not try to make an exact copy, but capture the general feeling of its look. Use yarns that when knitted, resemble things in the real world. Keep it somewhat simple and avoid too much detail.

The sweater that’s been the biggest hit on social media was the eclipse. I finished it a few days before the 2017 solar eclipse in the US, and when I posted it on Facebook, it got over 2000 likes and was shared hundreds of times.

When knitting I love the process of creating and trying to solve problems, and watching how a yarn knits up. I like using yarns differently than they were intended to be, and I love looking at a place and trying to think what yarns I would use to replicate it.

The thing I hate most is weaving in the ends! I coined my own word for it, ‘knitpicking’ as it seems like the most logical word. It is quite tedious and feels so never ending. When I’m not knitting I like going for nature walks. I socialise a lot and I spend a lot of time on social media talking about my knitting.”

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