Christchurch yarn-crafter extraordinaire Pip Currie rediscovered the joy of knitting while at university, and is now completely obsessed with all things knitting, crochet and fibre related. She loves the joy of making and creating with her own two hands, the wonder of natural fibres, and the amazing feeling of wearing something handmade. Wanting to be able to share this passion with others led to Littlest Pip Knits.
What do you make?
Mostly knit and crochet items, with a bit of spinning and weaving thrown in.
How did you get into your craft?
I was taught by my Nanas when I was younger but I didn’t really pick up knitting and crochet until I was going through a tough time at university and turned to crafting for stress-relief. It’s become a passion and honestly, has become really important to my wellbeing. I’m pretty open about my struggles with anxiety and depression, and knitting, crochet and crafting are a very important part of that. Even on my worst days, I can achieve something through my craft – I feel productive! I also just love learning new things, there’s always a new technique or skill I can learn – which is why I began experimenting with spinning and weaving.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, just a lot of practice! A healthy obsession with yarn and fibre helps too!
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
You can do a lot with just a pair of needles or a hook and some yarn! I have a very ‘make do with what you have’ attitude towards my tools and equipment – a lot of my tools were hand-me-downs, second hand or handmade when I first started. Slowly, over time, I’ve invested in good quality needles and hooks – I really love my Chiagoo metal needles, they’re perfect for the way I knit.
As for materials, I love natural fibres – especially wool! There are so many great properties to wool that make it fantastic to work with and wear. There’s a great wool industry in New Zealand and I really love to support local businesses, especially the small, independent dyers – the colour combinations and depths of colour are amazing!
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
Aside from the actual knitting and making there can be a lot of prep and finishing work that goes into an item. Usually my yarn comes in skeins, which means the first step is to wind the yarn into balls I can use. If I’m not working from a pattern there’s some math involved in working out dimensions and shapes for the best fit. After the item is made then there’s weaving in ends (my least favourite part!) and blocking – which involves handwashing and pinning the item out into the right shape.
What inspires you?
So many things! A lot of the time I’m drawn to colour – it’s obvious that I love the cooler shades like green, purple and blues. I love to be out in nature when creating – there’s nothing like knitting with a view to inspire you!
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I want to create high quality items that are made to last – items that people wear and use over and over again and value the work that goes into something handmade. Reducing waste, and sustainability are important to me so I try my best to take a zero-waste approach to my making. Every small scrap of yarn gets used for something!
Describe your creative process:
My creative process can be a bit all over the place. I always have a few projects on the go and work on different things for different situations. Knitting socks and drop spinning are great for markets or when I’m interacting with people, more intricate work that needs concentration is saved for when I’m alone. Sometimes I see a yarn I just have to work with, other times it’s a technique or pattern that I have to try – it’s all intuitive to how I’m feeling. At the moment I’m working on some really simple, classic designs that let the yarn shine.
“I want to create high quality items that are made to last – items that people wear and use over and over again and value the work that goes into something handmade. Reducing waste, and sustainability are important to me.”
Describe your workspace:
While I do have a craft room where I do a lot of my admin and prep work, the best part about knitting is that it’s so portable – which means that my workspace is wherever I want it to be! In summer that tends to be outside a lot more, often I’ll sit and knit somewhere with a beautiful view while my partner goes exploring on his bike. In winter you’re more likely to find me curled up anywhere warm. But really, I do take my work everywhere with me – it’s gotten to the point where people are more surprised if I don’t have my knitting with me than when I do!
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I’ve had lots of wonderful comments from people but the biggest compliment is when I see people wearing or using the items I’ve made – I want my things to be loved and enjoyed!
What are you currently listening to?
Podcasts! I go through a lot of podcasts since knitting tends to occupy my hands but not always my mind. I’d be here all day if I tried to list my favourites but my current obsession is ‘Running from Cops’, which digs into the people, stories and ethics behind the show Cops. ‘Reply All’ is another great one I always listen to as soon as a new episode is released, they always have really interesting stories from the Internet.
What are you reading now?
I just devoured Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and now I need to search out her other book. I love reading – unfortunately it can be a little hard to read and craft but I’m working on it! I’m also a regular at the craft section at the library – so many amazing resources and a great source of inspiration!
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
To just start! You never know what will happen until you try, I’m still figuring it all out but I’ve had some amazing experiences too.
“I have a very ‘make do with what you have’ attitude towards my tools and equipment – a lot of my tools were hand-me-downs, second hand or handmade when I first started. Slowly, over time, I’ve invested in good quality needles and hooks.”
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
There are so many great reasons to buy handmade and local – it’s something that is really important to me! Not only are you supporting crafters in pursuing their dreams but often you get something amazingly unique and high quality. It can help to build community and places value on makers’ skills and the items we buy.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Some beautiful indie dyed yarn – a lot of my handmade purchases tend to involve yarn – I just love the depth of colour and techniques that come from yarn that has been dyed by hand, I’m a sucker for deep rich saturated colours!
What’s in store for 2019?
2019 has already brought some amazing achievements for me – I now have my work in some amazing local stores! Currently I’m working towards a few big markets, such as Encraftment in July. After that I’m hoping to have some time to work on new ideas and refining my range a bit more!
Pip has a great offer for Felt readers, with a 20% discount on everything in her Felt shop until the end of this month. Just choose your favourite goodies from the gorgeous range of Littlest Pip Knits crochet and knitted accessories and homewares, add them to your basket, and enter the code MEETTHEMAKER in the voucher code field during checkout to receive your discount. Thanks so much Pip!