If you like looking for quirky knitting ideas on the internet you might have come across the work of Sam Barsky. Sam creates amazing sweaters that feature all manner of images; they might be landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge or Stonehenge, or they might be scenery, such as waterfalls or a row of electricity pylons. Sam’s designs are innovative and interesting but what makes his work different is that he wears the sweater and then has his photograph taken in front of the landmark or scenery. And then he posts the images online. Sam also posts video tutorials on his Facebook page () so you can find out how he does it too! We decided we wanted to know more about his work, so we asked him a few questions:
Your knitwear features all sorts of images – including scenery and tourist landmarks. Do you visit the scenery first and then quickly knit up a sweater – or do you knit your pattern based on a photo and then visit the scenery afterwards?
At first, I was knitting whatever I felt like, often after visiting a place. Then one day I realized that the ‘sweaters in places’ pictures were a form of art and it meant a lot to me to have these pictures. From then on, I made sure I would knit the sweater before going to the place.
A lot of your photos of your creations seem to be taken when you are on holiday; do you travel a lot?
I travel several times a year. Most of my trips are by car to places within several hours of home. I take around 2–3 airplane trips a year on average.
When did you start knitting and how did you learn – are you self-taught or did a relative or friend teach you?
I started knitting in 1999. I learned solid colored knitting from the owners of two local yarn shops. After spending the first year knitting two solid colored sweaters, I figured out how to do multi-colored knitting, then experimented not using a pattern.
Colour is clearly important to you – are you using the intarsia technique to create your sweaters?
Yes, what I do is intarsia.
If so, do you have any tips on colourwork to pass on?
I use yarns, often multi-colored, that resemble things in the real world. For example, variegated blue could look like a body of water and green combined with other colors appears as vegetation. When I am undertaking a project, I look hard for just the right yarn for what I am doing. I don’t try to copy a picture exactly in every detail. I just try to keep it as simple as I can and give an overall impression of what it is.
It looks as if you knit quite quickly – how long does it take to make one of your sweaters, on average?
About a month. They vary, some longer, some shorter.
When you’re not knitting, what else do you like to do?
I enjoy nature and the outdoors and I like to take day trips and do some recreational activities.